By: Dr. Destructo
Rating: Teen/PG-13 (language and amorous situations)
Summary: In which everyone finds out more about the Sexy no Jutsu than they EVER wanted to know and Naruto and Ino realize that violence the spice of life.
Disclaimer: Don't own it, ain't makin' money from it.
"Hey, boss!" Sarutobi Konohamaru shouted as he dodged pedestrians in his mad dash. Goggles held back the boy's bushy brown hair and a tattered blue scarf trailed behind him as he rushed through the busy market street. "Boss, wait up!"
Uzumaki Naruto turned around, hands in his pockets. Curious, he raised an eyebrow as his self-proclaimed subordinate and arch-rival came to a wheezing halt in front of him. "What's up, Konohamaru?"
"Is *wheeze* is that *pant* that pink-haired chick around?" the boy asked, trying to steal glances between breaths.
"Sakura-chan?" Naruto asked. "Nah, she's training with the ol' hag or something. Why?"
"Well," Konohamaru replied, finally starting to regain his air. "I was hoping you'd show me that new technique you said you'd developed."
Naruto started to grin but it immediately fell into a frown. He cast dark, suspicious looks all around the street. Who knew where Sakura-chan's minions could be lurking? Unsatisfied with the exposed nature of their location, Naruto started thinking of places a little less conspicuous, but would allow some traffic.
"Okay, but not here," he said to Konohamaru. "I have just the place, though."
"The thing you have realize," Naruto said, as he paced in front of his younger subordinate and pseudo-rival. "Is that the earlier Sexy no Jutsu and newer version, Perfect Sexy no Jutsu, are completely different."
"Whatcha mean, boss?" Konohamaru asked, adjusting the goggles perched atop his brow.
"Well, the first is just a transformation, right? I mean, it ain't a simple transformation, but it's really just a really, really convincing henge, ya know?"
Konohamaru nodded, remembering the trials and tribulations that learning said technique had required.
"The Perfect Sexy no Jutsu is sorta like a combination between the transformation and genjutsu."
"Whoa," Konohamaru said, not really awed, but feeling that Naruto had left the pause in his explanation for some sort of acknowledgement. "I have no idea what you're talking about, boss."
Naruto sighed, and raked a hand through his unkempt hair. He really didn't want to get into the philosophical differences between the two techniques, but perhaps a little elaboration was required.
"It's like this," Naruto said, quickly performing the seals and transforming into his familiar perky, pig-tailed girl form. "The Sexy no Jutsu is a power technique, okay? It's essentially taking what the user thinks is sexy and using brute force on the victim. Got it?"
"I think so," Konohamaru mumbled as Naruto released the technique. "So, what you're saying is, the old Sexy no Jutsu is like a hammer, smackin' people on top of the head. Right?"
"Exactly!" Naruto beamed.
"So, the new Sexy no Jutsu is something," he boy paused for moment, before blushing a bit. "Softer?"
Naruto smirked. "Follow me."
"Uh, boss," Konohamaru ventured nervously. "You do know we're out in public again, right? And there are lots of people around, right?"
"Trust me, this technique is better demonstrated," Naruto said, popping his knuckles. "See, while the old jutsu reflected what the user found attractive, this technique actually works on what the victim finds attractive."
"But, I thought the old technique was pretty," Konohamaru said, rubbing the back of his head. He wasn't really comfortable talking about girls just yet. At least not as casually as Naruto seemed to.
"Well, the Sexy no Jutsu works almost flawlessly on guys," Naruto said, getting back into his lecture. Konohamaru reflected that Naruto sounded almost like Iruka-sensei... only slightly perverted. "But girls are ninja, too. And naked girls don't really do it for them. Well, for most of them, anyways."
Both master and apprentice blushed a bit as their minds wandered onto other topics for a moment.
"Ahem," Naruto cleared his throat. "This is where the genjutsu comes into play. I don't know what girls really find sexy. I mean, if Sasuke and Gaara are any indication, apparently sexiness is all about playing hard to get and looking like you haven't had a shit in about a week. But the genjutsu part of the technique kinda hits the girl victim and, I'm not sure how to explain it. It kinda feeds the transformation a little."
Konohamaru squinted at his idol and arch-nemesis in thought. After rubbing his chin for a minute, he slowly formed his words. "Are you telling me that you've found a way to make yourself look sexy to girls?"
"Not exactly," Naruto said, deciding to take off his jacket in the warm weather. Besides, his demonstration would go better without it. "It's not that I'm turning into what they find sexy, okay? That'd take a much more powerful genjutsu component and hell, if you're going that far into the genjutsu, you might as well just cast one. What the Perfect Sexy no Jutsu does, is hits the girl, finds out what appeals to her most, and then uses that information to kinda focus and enhance the parts of the user that fit that ideal."
Pondering this insane, ingenious, insane line of thought, Konohamaru said the only thing he could think of, "You're full of shit, Naruto-niichan."
"There's no way that you've got a technique that makes you look attractive to anyone as you, boss. It's impossible," the kid said, grinning.
"Ha! I'll show you, you little shit!" Naruto shouted, rolling his shoulders and beginning to form his seals. "There's a girl about to come out of that flower shop over there. I'll use the Perfect Sexy no Jutsu on her and then you'll see who is the master!"
Yamanaka Ino loved being a ninja, even with the hardships that came with the vocation. She also loved toiling in her parents' flower shop, even if made her messy and disheveled. Ino especially loved that she loved both and that it allowed her to have a strange and interesting dichotomy. Ino was both flower girl and ninja warrior, and it always gave her a laugh when she could tell someone that.
So, flush with the joy of attending her floral duties, Ino stepped out of the Yamanaka Flower Shop to - not unlike a flower - bask in the warmth of the sun. Eyes closed in simple delight at the warming rays, Ino almost missed the brief touch of chakra.
Ino looked toward the direction from which she'd felt the light pulse originate. At first she only saw some ninja in dark orange pants and ninja fishnet shirt holding a jacket and talking to some kid in a scarf and goggles. Then everything seemed to go into soft focus.
Ino saw back muscles bunch together beneath the mesh undershirt. Shifting and slithering as shoulders rolled, Ino could even see a hint of glistening sweat from across the street.
Ino saw arms move from a resting position to lace fingers behind choppy blonde hair. She absently licked her lips as she took in the languid coiling and uncoiling of biceps and forearms made strong from training -- but not freakishly corded or littered with bulging veins. Ino glanced at hands toughened by abuse but no doubt dexterous from constant seal work.
Ino felt chilling cold run from the tops of her shoulders to the base of her bowels, soon followed by slow, spreading warmth. Her legs shakily drove her closer.
After her first step, muscles glided and turned. If the back was a scene of animated hills and furrows, the front was soft sculpture: a promise of both the firm and pliable. The broad chest - pulled tight by the raised position of those lovely arms - held the same light sheen, displaying everything through that wonderful shirt.
At each step, Ino fought to keep her knees from buckling as her eyes slowly trailed up the torso. The strong definition of collarbone meeting neck looked perfectly designed for resting a chin on. The jaw line was strong, with still just enough softness to prevent it from becoming harsh. Ino saw rough lips, tugged into a playful smile and shuddered at the promise white, slightly pointed teeth held.
But it was the eyes that finally made Ino stop her advance. Beautiful blue eyes staring at her. Eyes like sky at the end of summer. Eyes like the sea in winter. Eyes that were just so goddamned blue you couldn't see them and still think of the color the same way. And they were both on her.
In Ino, there was both melting and snapping.
'Ino want,' she thought.
The melting caused her to force her legs together in frustration, while the snapping prodded her into a line of action. Close enough, Ino grabbed onto this collection of beautiful parts. Knowing from, er, observational experience that fishnet wasn't exactly resilient, Ino chose the waistband of those dark orange pants. Her grip firmly established, she yanked until chest met chest. She only took her eyes off of those other blue irises for a moment to confirm where the lips were and then kissed them for all she was worth.
Mind you, this wasn't Ino's first foray into the land of kissing. However, she'd never been this AWARE of everything before. The changing pressure of those lips - full of texture from years of chapping - on hers, at first surprised and tentative, then forceful and exploring. She could feel when her nose brushed his in their urgency, smelling dirt and must and sweat mixed with her own floral coat. She could feel the fine, downy hair along the smooth surface of his stomach as she held his pants. All the while her other hand reaching and grabbing a handful of soft, slightly moist hair. For the first time in her life, Ino was aware of everything and ground her hips into his to prove it.
Konohamaru just wasn't prepared for what happened. That's all it was. His ninja academy instruction had only covered being prepared for the unexpected. Iruka-sensei hadn't mentioned a damned thing about reality warping itself into insane contortions. In fact, all of his years of perverse self-instruction hadn't quite equipped him for watching a beautiful kunoichi march over to Naruto-niisan and suck face.
That shit just didn't happen. Especially when Konohamaru thought about the modified jutsu his boss had used. All Konohamaru saw was Naruto went a little fuzzy and sweaty. That's IT. And now the young woman with the long blond hair and the oh-so tight top was... was...
Whoa, that was a really tight top.
When the two blonde ninjas finally separated to breathe, Ino gave Naruto a very satisfied smile.
'Waitaminute,' she thought, blinking rapidly. Ino took a step back and examined all of the face to which she'd been recently attached. The mouth and blue eyes were still the same, but now she saw the whisker-like lines and actual shape of the hair was more apparent.
"Naruto?" she said, her throat beginning to feel constricted.
Naruto opened and shut his mouth a few times, his mind desperately trying to find words. Finally he seemed to cough out, "Yeah?"
Ino let out a small mewling sound escape. She didn't get it. All the parts were still there, but... it was NARUTO?! Forcing an obviously strained smile onto her face, she said, "I- I have to, uh, I have to go. Now. Um, see ya?"
With a slight wave from Naruto, Ino turned and stiffly walked in the direction of the hospital. At considerable speed.
Konohamaru looked from the departing kunoichi back to Naruto. The blonde genin's expression was puzzled and disbelieving of the recent turn of events. Konohamaru replayed those same events in his mind once more before deciding on the only course of action that made any damn sense in this new and decidedly crazier world.
"Now and forever," Konohamaru said, capturing Naruto's attention as he went to one knee and placed his right hand over his heart. "You are my god. If you teach me that technique I will carve your face into the mountain MYSELF!"
Ino was having a hard time thinking. Or, to put it accurately, Ino was having a hard time keeping her imagination from frolicking in the gutter with certain blonde, whiskered ninjas. Even after a quick workout and a nice long shower (both hot and cold), the chuunin and flower shop kunoichi just couldn't get Uzumaki Naruto out of her thoughts.
This volatile concoction of confusion, anger and low-grade infatuation was not settling well with Ino. But that may have also been due to the all the complimentary crackers she'd been nervously pounding down.
The cafe she was sitting in kept the lights low, allowing the beige and tan color motif to emulate an approaching desert nightfall. The proprietors - immigrants from Wind Country - had managed to lay out the restaurant so that the booths were cramped and close together, but offered an isolating privacy. Despite the spartan atmosphere, Ino and Sakura met for lunch there at least once a week to trade laughs, gossip and the occasional insult.
"I see you've decided to finally listen to me about all that diet crap."
Ino looked up to see Haruno Sakura easily sliding into the opposite side of the booth. Comprehension immediately dawned as Ino noticed the sheer quantity of discarded cracker wrappers and crumbs littering the table.
"Took you long enough," Ino muttered, sweeping the evidence off the table top.
"What the hell are you talking about? I'm right on time!" the pink-haired chuunin argued.
"Crap. You are, aren't you?"
"Yeah," Sakura said carefully. "Are you okay, Ino? You look kinda shook up. Did something happen on one of Chouji's or Shikamaru's missions?"
"No," Ino said, picking up a menu to hide behind. "Nothing like that. I've just got... something on my mind."
"Oh," Sakura replied, taking a menu herself. She didn't know why exactly, it's not like she didn't already know every item on it anyway. Well, that wasn't true. Sakura needed something with which to worry and fidget. Her friend was acting all kinds of weird. "So, anything exciting happen at the flower shop?"
"Nothing! Whatever he told you was a damned, dirty lie!"
"Excuse me?" Sakura asked weakly. "Told me what?"
Ino's face was a contrast of piteous vulnerability and naked savagery. Her hair was in slight disarray and her eyes were wide with a hunted, frazzled quality. Biting her lip slightly, Ino glared long at hard at Sakura. "What I tell you ends with you, do you understand me? If I find that you've so much as breathed a word of this even in your sleep to anyone, it's war. Got it?"
Sakura straightened up and crossed her arms. She didn't like the idea of having to withhold something that could probably lead to hours of teasing amusement. But Ino had never had this ragged quality to her bearing before. Sakura had always seen Ino as this perfectly poised, artfully coiffed kunoichi. A living extension of her flower arrangement skills. Whatever it was that had battered Ino's calm and smug exterior must be serious.
"Ino! That was awesome!"
Ino and Sakura turned toward this new voice. A rugged-looking young man with messy brown hair and a leather jacket waved to them from across the restaurant. Inuzuka Kiba's grin couldn't have been wider, causing his clan's prominent red fang cheek marks to all but disappear. Lazily mauling a large bone behind him was his constant companion and overgrown dog, Akamaru.
"I don't think I've seen Naruto that quiet since Iruka put him in a silencing jutsu!" he shouted as he and his canine partner left the restaurant.
Sakura slowly turned to see her friend and once-rival red with embarrassment. Ino was doing her best to hide behind her hands and melt into the overstuffed cushions of the booth. Clearing her throat, Sakura ventured, "Naruto?"
"And now I must kill you all," Ino muttered shrinking away even more.
"What exactly did you do to shut Naruto up, Ino?"
"I said, 'I kissed him,' Sakura," Ino growled out.
Sakura paused her questions for a moment and tried to imagine her sometimes boisterous friend and her always overactive teammate. Somehow Sakura couldn't imagine either one of them being quiet long enough to actually hold a two-way conversation let alone lock lips. But Ino's pained whimpers were all the evidence Sakura needed. For now. Kiba could just be a jackass.
"You kissed Naruto? Like, on the lips?" Okay, so maybe more evidence was needed. Like a metric ton of it. "Naruto? The other blonde ninja? With the whisker marks and bottomless stomach?"
"Yes!" Ino hissed. "I saw him and I kissed him! On the lips with tongue! Can we get past that now?"
"Okay, okay," Sakura grumbled, raising her hands in a placating manner. "Tongue?"
"Oh gods, why don't I know any suicide jutsu?"
"Wow," Sakura said and left it at that for a moment. Neither of the two chuunin kunoichi spoke as they placed their orders and waited for their food. The silence remained until their lunches arrived. Finally, after eating a little and getting tired of the quiet, Sakura spoke up.
"So," she started off hesitantly. "How was it?"
Ino moved her plate away and let her head softly bang against the table. In a small, watery voice, she said, "I think there was dry humping."
"It was... I was... God, I don't even know. Good. It was good. That's all I can say."
"No kidding," Sakura murmured. "So what's the big deal?"
"Hello?!" Ino said, snapping her head up to glare at Sakura. Her face was still red, though a small pale circle from resting on the table now adorned her forehead. "It's Naruto! Why the hell would I suddenly get all... weird about Naruto?! There's no sense to it!"
"How should I know? You're the one who kissed him."
"Ugh, don't remind me."
"Hey, there's nothing wrong with Naruto. In theory, at any rate," Sakura amended quickly, feeling the need to defend her teammate somewhat. He had saved her life a few times after all. "Why did you kiss him in the first place?"
"I... I just felt weird," Ino said, trying to sort out the jumble of memories and emotions. "And then I just saw him. Only I didn't really notice it was him. I just saw... It was like I just saw bits and pieces. Like how he was all muscly and sweaty under this fishnet shirt and you could see his nipples and-"
"Ack! Enough!" Sakura shouted, clapping her hands over her ears. "I don't need your perversions running through my head."
"Listen, I'm not crazy. I think. He was just really... REALLY irresistible," Ino said. She knew her face was heating up from recalling everything. And it pissed her off more than a little that it was due to some kid who'd once turned into a naked chick in front of the whole class. What a stupid technique. Who would waste their time creating a technique just to tap dance on somebody's libido? Like any real ninja would let their hormones just... wait...
"Sakura," Ino said slowly, her neurons beginning to fire in rapid succession. "Naruto used to perform all sorts of perverted jutsu, right?"
"Yeah," Sakura said, half chuckling. "It think he called it the Sexy no Jutsu."
"And who did he spend the last couple years training with?" Ino asked, feeling things click into place.
"Jiraiya of the Legendary Three," Sakura said.
"And Jiraiya's known for writing all those 'Icha Icha' books, isn't he?"
"Yeah, but I," Sakura started, then abruptly stopped. "Oh."
"Yeah," Ino said, narrowing her eyes to near slits. "I think I need to pay Uzumaki a visit."
"If it makes you feel better," Sakura said, grinning. "He heals really quickly, so you don't have to worry about holding back."
"Hadn't planned on it," Ino said, grinning a predator's grin.
Yamanaka Inoichi had grown up as the sole inheritor of a family flower shop. A ninja family's flower shop. As such, in addition to learning the shinobi path and his family's jutsu, Inoichi had been schooled in flower arrangement and horticulture. And up until he started at Konohagakure's Ninja Academy, he enjoyed all of it. Suffice it to say, one doesn't display more knowledge on such a "girly" subject than a chuunin instructor and NOT get stuck with some kind of stigma. As Inoichi swept up around the shop, he fondly recalled having to get into at least two fights every day in his first year just to get the nicknames to stop.
Thus, with a background specializing in ostracizism and having to run a flower shop with two... er, outspoken women, Inoichi always made a point of talking to any of his male clientele. Most were just poor saps looking for a quick gift for their significant others, but a few were guys who had an actual interest in plants.
Like the young demon vessel currently looking at the hanging ferns, he observed.
"Something I can help you find?" Inoichi said, aiming for casual indifference.
"Me?" the boy asked, turning to face the elder ninja. Inoichi froze for a moment, trying to decide how to react. Naruto scratched the back of his head, grinning and said, "Naw, I'm actually, uh, just need to talk to Ino for a bit. She in the back or somethin'?"
"No," Inoichi said, still trying to make up his mind about the young man. "She's out to lunch with a friend of hers. Well, I think they're friends. It's hard to tell sometimes."
"Ah, Sakura-chan," Naruto nodded. "Can I just wait for her then? It's kinda important."
"Pissed her off, eh?" Inoichi said, a small smirk on his lips as he nodded sagely. Watching the boy fidget was all the answer he needed on THAT score. "Fine, but while you're waiting you can help around the shop."
"Sure, but I don't know much about flowers," Naruto said.
"That's okay," Inoichi said, smiling. "You can help pack in the fertilizer."
Naruto paused for a moment, blinking. He hadn't expected to be drafted into manual labor in a flower shop. He grumbled, "Shit."
"Yeah, but it sells better when I call it 'fertilizer,'" Inoichi said as he walked towards the back of the store. Naruto's eyes narrowed as Inoichi tossed him a pastel purple apron. "You'll probably want to wear that."
Naruto admirably held off from donning the light violet apron... for ten minutes. After his third trip from the back of the flower shop's store room to the storefront, Naruto gladly removed his sweltering jacket and tied on the apron. After the stock had been moved out front and various crates dismantled, Inoichi and Naruto settled to waiting behind the register.
"Wow, I didn't know you made your kelp meal," Naruto said.
"Oh yeah, it's part of the Yamanaka family recipe," Inoichi said, pride in his craft showing through. It wasn't often that he could talk about gardening and still be macho. Then, he felt a familiar killing intent making its way toward the shop. "Ah, here comes my little psychopath now."
"What?" Naruto asked, not picking up on the odd term of endearment.
"Listen, I'll be in the back going over the books and stuff," Inoichi said making his way toward the back door. "Where it's soundproofed. Uh, just remember, Ino's like any other woman and not above bribery. Pudding and cherry tomatoes are your friends. Good luck."
Naruto stood there in his orange ninja pants, clashing with his ninja fishnet shirt and dusty purple apron (which, upon closer inspection, had cute little yellow kitties prancing along the bottom hem) wondering what the hell was going on. The irate voice from the front promptly enlightened him with sickening dread.
"Dammit! I've been to every damn ramen stand and training ground in the village and no one's even seen the jackass!" Ino half-muttered, half-yelled as she slammed open the front door to her family's flower shop. After her lunch she'd been determined to find Konohagakure's most infamous prankster. Only Uzumaki Naruto had been nowhere to be found.
It was when she looked up to see who was wearing her favorite shop apron, however, that she discovered why Naruto was Hidden Leaf's most surprising (or retarded) ninja. Only HE would be hiding at HER house while SHE was trying to find and maul HIM.
Ino strode toward the hapless male and opened her mouth to let fly her verbal barrage when her mind stopped and reviewed some vital information. She asked, "Naruto, why are you wearing my apron?"
"This is yours?" Naruto asked, raising an eyebrow and picking at the garment.
"Yes, it is mine," Ino growled. And then sniffed. "And why do you smell like crap?"
"Oh, I helped your dad move the fertilizer while I was waiting. Hey, I just wanted to-"
"You got fertilizer all over my apron? My favorite apron? After you use some trick to kiss me?!" Both teenagers ignored the crashing sound from the apparently not-as-soundproofed-as-believed back room.
"You kissed me! And it's not like that, all right? If you'll just let me explain, I-" Naruto pleaded, raising his hands in calming gesture. It did not seem to work.
"Why the hell would I kiss you?! Now take off my apron so I can kill you, Uzumaki!" Ino shouted, whipping out several kunai from her leg and belt pouches. Neither noticed the continued crashing sounds from the back room, accompanied by muffled curses.
"Hey!" Naruto said, letting his wounded pride override his common sense. Instead of ducking behind the relative safety of the counter like any sane person might, Naruto whipped off the protection of the pastel apron with kitties and stepped right into Ino's personal space. "My jutsu doesn't work like that! You totally kissed me because you wanted to! Ha!"
"LIKE HELL!" Ino exclaimed, her hands striking in a lethal arc towards the noisy ninja. Naruto quickly leaned back out of range as the kunai passed centimeters away from his nose. Following up her strike, Ino sent leg out in a straight kick to Naruto's ribs and slammed him into the counter.
Naruto grimaced as he felt the hard counter edge dig into his back. He growled as he watched Ino pull back her leg into a crouching stance. Letting his lips curl into a half-snarl, Naruto launched into a flying tackle at the kunoichi. Ino rolled with the collision, using the leverage to kick Naruto off of her. Her efforts were rewarded with the sound of breaking pottery as Naruto landed into the house plants section.
Kicking her legs around to let her spin into a kneeling position, Ino managed to gain her footing just as Naruto body-checked her.
"SON OF A-!" Ino screeched as it became her turn to meet the counter. Ino rubbed her shoulder with her free hand and stood to face a glowering Uzumaki Naruto. The young man looked more than a little ragged, with dirt and flower pot debris smeared across his face and chest.
"If you would just listen to me," Naruto said, forcing the words through clenched teeth. Ino didn't bother with listening, seeing the way his body was tensed and waiting for action. Instead she hurled her kunai at him while dashing towards the opening purposefully left in her attack pattern.
Naruto, ever the proponent of the unorthodox, simply dropped to the ground and let the daggers sail over him as Ino tried to evade his full-body sweep of her legs. Partially successful, Ino avoided falling but was left unbalanced. Which was when Naruto sprang into a handstand to deliver a kick. Ino saw his legs coming and instead of blocking, grasped both of his legs as the fell to the floor. The breath knocked out of her, Ino hoisted a nearby watering can and pounded it into Naruto's face before rolling away to let her lungs recover.
Having been insulted, pummeled, and now covered in mud, Naruto shouted, "THAT'S IT!" He jumped up, pulling four kunai from his leg pouch. Ino rolled quickly to her right as the weapons embedded themselves into the floor around her.
Ino started to stand back up, but found her arms held in place by strong hands as loud popping filled her ears. Her hair whipped around as she stared into the angry blue eyes of four Naruto clones restraining her at her forearms and shoulders. The real Naruto marched toward Ino and his shadow clones while wiping away the dirt and blood around his face.
Ino jerked and struggled in the grip of the clones while Naruto knelt in front of her. Ino's breathing was ragged from the brawl and her hair lay in dozens of pale golden wisps across her face. Her face was flushed with her still rushing blood. Naruto watched her try to steady her breathing enough to start cursing him again, pausing to focus on her still glossy lips. Distantly, he felt himself gently caress Ino's cheek and jaw line. This caused Ino's light blue eyes to widen in shock at the sensation as she gasped. Still captivated by those lips, Naruto leaned in and kissed her.
While Ino may not have been novice to kissing, Naruto only had that morning's experience. But, as he was quick to discover, one doesn't travel with a master of perversion and not pick up some things, even if by osmosis. Without realizing it, Naruto tilted Ino's chin a small degree, just enough to allow her to deepen the kiss with a small moan. Naruto ran his hand through her hair as he brushed away the stray strands that seemed determined to get caught between them. His eyes closed, he focused on scent and texture, secretly reveling in the smell of sweat and dirt and flowers. So focused, he let his shadow clones disperse as he and the blonde kunoichi continued to taste one another.
When at last he backed away, Naruto felt Ino searching for the pressure of his mouth. He opened his eyes, taking note of her still pursed lips and eyes as closed as his had been. Dazed and a little off-kilter, he stumbled toward the exit and said, "Now, THAT was me kissing you."
With the adrenaline leaving her system, Ino sat in the midst of the devastated flower shop floor with a slightly dopey, drugged expression.
Naruto knew he wasn't smart. He was crafty and tricky and, should the time call for it, conniving. But even though Naruto was certain he wasn't smart, he knew he wasn't dumb either. It was this non-dumbness, so to speak, that kept him from seeking out ANY of the people he knew best for help in sorting out the whole issue of him and Ino kissing.
Sure, Naruto knew smart people. Shikamaru was a genius. So was Kakashi-sensei. And just about everyone else he knew was considered pretty bright.
'But seriously,' Naruto thought. 'Who the hell would go to ANY of them for love advice? They're all screw-ups!'
And dammit, if Naruto could tell you were a screw-up, then... well, he didn't know what that meant, exactly, but he knew for damn sure it wasn't a good thing. Remember that non-dumbness didn't necessarily equate to smarts.
With that, er, unique train of thought in mind, Naruto decided to find someone who could help him understand both what was going on between him and Ino (you know, beyond the beatings and hot making out) and what to do about it (beyond continuing the beatings and hot making out). Naruto chose, however, not to find someone with a successful relationship like a sane person, but rather someone who was just as nuts as Ino appeared to be.
"Heya, Anko-san!" Naruto said, waving to the special jounin seated at her favorite cafe. Mitarashi Anko looked up from her tea in bewilderment, dango skewer hanging from her lips. "Can I ask you something?"
"Who the hell are you?" she said, not relinquishing the skewer from her teeth as she stared at the blonde demon vessel. Naruto huffed and rolled his eyes before pointing at the whisker-like marks on his cheeks. "Oh, right. The fox brat. What the hell do you want, kid?"
"I need your advice, Anko-san," Naruto sat, plopping onto the bench next to her. The cafe was a quaint little shack, with picnic tables and benches tucked behind the usual storefront half-curtains. Naruto took the time to notice that the curtains spelled out Matsushita before putting on his brightest smile and directing it towards Anko.
"Listen," Anko said, spitting out the dango skewer and poking Naruto in the chest. "I don't know what Kakashi told you about me, but I-"
"No! I need, like, girl advice!" Naruto exclaimed, raising his hands up in defense.
"What the hell?! Do I look like Little Anko Matchmaker to you!?" The irate special jounin followed her outburst with several sharp slaps to Naruto's head.
"Gah! Stop hitting me! I just need to know if beating the crap out of each other is a normal way for girls to show they like a guy!"
Anko stopped her assault to look at the jinchuuriki, confusion writ large upon her features. The little blonde loudmouth seemed especially earnest about this with his blue eyes peeking from beneath his lowered head. Anko mulled his question over, searching back through her own past relationships. Anko then came to her conclusion.
"Naruto," Anko started, grinning wickedly, "it's the BEST way!"
"Are you sure?" Naruto asked.
"Trust me, ya little shit," Anko said amiably, picking up the last of her dango from the table. "A kunoichi likes knowing she can pound the crap out of a guy."
"Er," Naruto said, uncertainly. "What if the guy kinda... pounded her back?"
"Even better! Means he's not some little crybaby and that he's probably not so bad in the sack, either," Anko said, nodding sagely. Naruto felt a little queasy as he watched her slip into a goofy grin. But, just as quickly she frowned and grumbled, "S'not always the case though. Sometimes it just means he's an asshole."
Naruto didn't really know what to say to that. Thankfully he was spared such inner turmoil when Anko grabbed him by his jacket and shook him like a rag doll. "You're not an asshole, are you?!"
"You goddamned well better not be! Don't you break this girl's heart!" Anko shouted before releasing Naruto. And like a flip of a switch, the older ninja gave a Naruto a slightly softer, knowing smile. "It's fun to play rough sometimes, but not all the time, got it?"
"Uh, sure," Naruto said, having not gotten it at all. "So... she probably likes me?"
"Oh hell yeah!" grinned Anko as she chomped on her dango.
Naruto gave Anko a respectful and fearful (more fearful than respectful, really) bow before hastening to somewhere not around her. As he dove into the bustling street, Naruto made a mental note to never ask Anko for advice ever, ever, EVER again.
'She's fuckin' crazy,' he thought, winding his way through the commercial district crowds. While not profound, that realization was quickly followed by another, more frightening one. 'Which means she's probably right. Oh boy.'
Konohagakure, the Village Hidden in the Leaves, didn't really have a center or a downtown. Unlike most villages where streets and buildings spoked out from a central hub, Konohagakure instead fanned out (as the Uchiha [when there WERE Uchiha] were fond of saying) from the Hokage Memorial and administration building. This had been done for a variety of strategic and well-thought reasons. Yamanaka Ino was almost certain the First Hokage had done it just to piss her off.
Whereas in most villages or cities when in search of a destination, you could start from a central location and slowly expand your search with widening concentric circles. In the Hidden Leaf, you had to shuttle back and forth from one end of the village to the other. Ino was in the midst of her third trek when she finally stumbled across the tenement building said to house one Uzumaki Naruto.
Ino glanced back at the slip of paper in her hand, making sure the addresses matched. She didn't know how for the life of her the post ninjas did it, but she'd be more grateful the next time she had to sign for packages. The neat script matched up to the street sign not far above her head and Ino simply shrugged.
The building didn't appear very different from the surrounding apartment complexes. All had that trademark Konohagakure design of meshing modern construction with the environment in vaguely dome-like fashions. The building sported beige walls with red-tiled roofing just like half the buildings in the village. But Ino's destination just seemed... off. The building wasn't in disrepair, exactly, but Ino could tell the paint could use touching up. And some of the roofing looked a little TOO weather-beaten to last for much longer. And wooden planks lining the base of the third floor wall were warped and starting to buckle.
Everything about the building whispered "avoid me" and Ino found herself having to willfully decide to put forth each step. Setting her jaw, Ino focused on her task at hand and steadily climbed the outer stairs to the third floor.
Finally reaching her destination, Ino bit her lip for a moment before quickly knocking on the door before her. Ino stretched out her finely honed senses, trying to detect the slightest sign of movement in the apartment beyond. Hearing and feeling nothing, Ino shot off another series of raps upon the wooden surface. Ino closed her eyes, hoping to make out any sign of life in the apartment.
Still she felt nothing.
Ino had passed her chuunin exam years ago with the stipulation that she work on controlling her temper. Ino had, in fact, been doing a marvelous job of doing just that the entire day. Ino, however, had run out of patience after the second hour of cleaning up the mess she and a certain other soon-to-be-dead blonde ninja had left in her parents' shop.
"I know you're in there!" Ino roared, sledge hammering her fist into the apartment door. "Open this goddamned door right now, Naruto!"
The frustrated kunoichi whirled around to face the voice from behind her. Ino gawked at watching a very perplexed Uzumaki Naruto watch her back. Embarrassed, she immediately turned away from him, barely noticing his mirroring action. Keeping Naruto in her peripheral vision, though, she asked, "Where the hell have you been?"
"Uh, grocery shopping," Naruto said, lifting a small bag while still not facing her directly. "So, um, hey."
"Yeah, hey," Ino said, regretting the words as soon as they left her mouth. 'I'm sure that sounded intelligent.'
"Wanna come in?" Naruto ventured, uncertain. "We should probably, ya know, talk or somethin'."
"Yeah, we probably should," Ino started before stopping. "No. No, we shouldn't. Listen, I just wanna say that... I mean, we barely know each other, right? You like Sakura. I like Sasu- Well, probably not anymore, but maybe Sai. They're both pretty hot, ya know. Anyway, I just think this was all a big-"
"You think Sai is hot?" Naruto interjected, disbelief and outrage warring for dominance in his voice. "Sai?! Mr. Penis-Comments? SAI!?!"
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"I'm serious!" Naruto said. "The guy's always talking about my junk! It's creepy. And trust me, I spent a few years with a perverted toad hermit. I KNOW creepy."
"Sai talks... about your... your... err..." Ino stammered, trying to reconcile this new information in her mind.
"I know! It's crazy! I mean, I'm pretty fond of it myself, but you don't hear me-"
"Gah!" Ino yelled, clapping her hands over her ears while fighting a losing battle to keep her face from turning scarlet.
"That sounded really bad, didn't it?" Naruto said weakly, scratching the back of his head. "What I meant was-"
"Shut up! Just- Just SHUT! UP! Don't you know how to talk to a girl?!" Ino shouted, struggling between humiliation and bloodlust.
"I'm talkin' ta' you, ain't I?" Naruto shrugged, brandishing a startling lack of couth.
"I don't want to hear about your penis, Naruto!" Ino hissed, somehow finding an even darker shade of red for her features.
"But Sai does, apparently," Naruto quipped, rolling his eyes. Honestly, he didn't see what the big deal was.
"Hey, you brought it up!" Naruto shouted, completely missing the double entendre. Ino blanched.
"I DID NOT!"
"Whatever," Naruto said, flexing his arm a little. The groceries were starting to get a little heavy. "What were you saying again?"
Ino narrowed her eyes and for a few seconds hoped she could just melt the loud and ill-mannered ninja into a puddle of goo. With no Naruto puddle forthcoming, Ino made a visible show of reining in her murderous impulses before speaking. "What I was TRYING to say, Naruto, is that we like other people. I don't think we should continue this... whatever this is."
"What?" Naruto blurted, dropping his grocery bag and taking a step forward. "But, I thought you liked me! I mean it! You know, the kissing!"
"Would you be quiet?!" Ino whispered, clamping a hand over Naruto's mouth as she nervously glanced from side to side. Looking up at the bewildered expression on Naruto's face, Ino had the grace to look somewhat apologetic. "I do. I did! Like the kissing. Past tense. But it's just that-"
"Ha! You totally liked kissing me!" Naruto shouted over her hand.
"Would you just shut the hell up?! This is embarrassing enough as it is!" she said, looking for a shadow to hide in.
"What the hell's that supposed to mean?!" Naruto barked. Naruto's hair seemed to visibly bristle at the implied insult.
"Well, it's not exactly something to brag about," Ino said, reacting to the angry tone of his voice.
Naruto glared at the blonde kunoichi for several long seconds before scooping up his fallen bag. "Thanks," he muttered sourly before opening his apparently unlocked door and slamming it as he disappeared inside his apartment.
Ino winced at the sharp crack, and slowly massaged her smarting ears. She stared at the closed door for a minute, not quite figuring out what had just transpired. 'What the hell just happened?' she wondered. She didn't exactly know Naruto, but she'd seen him often enough at the academy. She never understood his behavior then, but Ino recalled his pranks and that she'd seen him sitting on that old tree swing a lot. 'Well, before Iruka-sensei really started getting on his case.'
Ino tried going over the conversation in her head again - the parts where the moron wouldn't stop talking about Sai and his... ARGH! She was going to have to kill that jackass, if only because now she had an unwelcome permanent association with Sai.
"Hey," Ino said, stepping closer to the door. She felt silly talking to a closed door, and even sillier since she didn't know what had seemed to offend him so much. All Ino knew was that she'd take feeling silly over feeling vaguely guilty over something she couldn't understand. "Um, I'm sorry I said... whatever. Okay?"
A vexing sense of deja vu crept over Ino as silence emanated from the closed door.
"Are you listening to me?! I said I was sorry, okay!"
When even more silence presided over the apartment building, Ino could almost see the tenuous hold over her temper vanish, like a well-performed replacement technique. There may have even been an accompanying "POOF!" sound.
"GODDAMMIT!" Ino raged, as she caved in the door with a perfectly executed Leaf Style side-kick. With a bestial growl, Ino stormed into the apartment. Lips curled into a snarl, she surveyed the apartment. Well, what little there was of it. In one curt glance, she could see the empty kitchen with its recently deposited food items, the multitude of house plants, the battered practice dummy (in the disturbing likeness of Hatake Kakashi for some reason), and the unkempt bed. Ino put her wrath on pause and noted the window over the bed was still closed. Where the hell was he?
"What the hell is your problem?!" Naruto shouted, emerging from an unseen doorway behind her and near the entrance. Ino felt her left eye begin twitch as she noticed the young man holding his undone pants up with one hand while he brushed at a suspicious wet spot on his leg with the other.
"I was trying to apologize!" Ino shouted.
"And I was trying to take a leak!"
"Again with that mouth of yours! And you wonder why Sakura never goes anywhere with you!"
"Well, excuse me! I never realized how EMBARRASSING it is to be seen with ol' Dead Last!"
"What? That's not what I meant, you retard!"
"Then what the hell DID you mean?" Naruto yelled, stepping closer to enraged kunoichi.
"How the hell am I supposed to know when you keep shouting at me?" Ino barked, advancing close enough to deliver a small jab to Naruto's chest.
"ME?" Naruto railed. "You're the one who busted down MY door!"
"Well you wouldn't answer!"
"What? Did you wanna follow me in?" he asked, waving at the bathroom door. Unfortunately, Naruto decided to use the hand that had been securing his pants around his hips.
"For god's sake, will you pull up your pants?" Ino bellowed, getting an eye-full panda patterned boxer shorts.
"Make me!" Naruto huffed, crossing his arms.
"Pervert!" Ino shrieked, giving Naruto a hefty shove. Naruto, in a desperate attempt to stay upright, latched onto one her extended arms. Unfortunately, his feet were tangled up in his pants and sent both ninjas to the floor with a thud. A jumble of limbs and now clothes, the two tried to regain their footing while swatting at each other. This only served to further their plight and soon they were rolling towards the kitchen slapping and cursing one another.
"Get off my hair!" Ino grimaced, her ponytail trapped beneath the other ninja.
"You get off!" Naruto yelled, feeling elbows dig into his ribs.
"Watch your knee, dammit!" Naruto grunted, twisting sharply.
"Eeep! You watch YOUR knee, perv!"
"Why can't you just be quiet?" Naruto asked harshly both continuing with their rolling struggle.
"Make me," Ino panted, craning her neck down glare at Naruto at close range. Naruto glowered for a moment before smirking. Ino had less than a second to fret before she felt his knee sneak between her own. Ino's eyes widened as Naruto nudged her forward, making her fall flush against him. Ino looked into Naruto's amused blue eyes and saw the answer to her challenge. Suddenly, their lips met and the brutal twisting of their bodies slowed into a more subtle writhing, with each taking full advantage of their closeness.
They weren't sure how long the kissing and... miscellaneous touching... went on, but it came to a halt when Naruto rolled onto the handle of his prone door and forced them to extricate themselves from one another. Awkwardly pulling his pants up, Naruto didn't need to see a mirror to know his face was flushed.
Both ninjas made the effort to put some distance between them, Ino leaning again the refrigerator while Naruto shimmied over by the open doorway. Admittedly it wasn't a lot of distance, but it served its purpose and allowed the two to regain their breaths and slow their heartbeats. Naruto knew this conversation would be difficult, since every time he tried to make eye contact, both he and Ino would blush and then quickly focus on something else. But Naruto had never been one for quitting or quiet, so he tried to fill the empty air with something.
"So," he said, hoping that single syllable would be enough. Judging from the way Ino just bobbed her head, it wouldn't. This was going to be harder than he thought. Even still, Naruto let the silence hang in the air for as long as he could while he watched the kunoichi curl into a bashful ball. He tried again, "So that was... yeah..."
God he sucked at this.
Ino, for her part, could barely recognize his words over the sound of her own blood still pounding through her ears. She welcomed the cool surface of the refrigerator against her back and tried to push further into the appliance door. Anything was more comfortable than having to actually acknowledge the tingling and hypersensitivity in parts of her body that Ino would gladly have previously disowned had she known they could behave in such a way.
"So, uh, you still wanna be just, uh, friends?" Naruto asked, not looking at Ino. He hated putting the question, hell the possibility, out there but he'd been more than a little confused by their actions together the whole day and needed some sort of assurance.
"Do you?" Ino asked, pulling back her hair to re-secure her ponytail. Nervous as hell, she closed her eyes in an effort to block out anything orange. She didn't know what she wanted, and was hoping the answer from Konohagakure's most surprising ninja might help her make her decision.
"Not really," Naruto said, coughing into his hand with embarrassment. "I, uh, like the kissing."
"Me, too," Ino said, feeling her face redden before she even said the words. "So I guess we could, I dunno, give it a try. Or something."
"That'd," Naruto stammered. "That'd be nice."
They both smiled and let the silence linger a moment.
"That means we can kiss some more, right?"
What can I say? I've become enamoured with the Naruto/Ino pairing and the wonderfully crazy dynamic that could emerge between them. They're both such interesting personalities and passionate characters that a relationship between the two of them can be anything from light and cheery, to woefully depressing and angsty.
This idea was brought on after some thinking about just what Naruto's new perversion jutsu could be. After all, he already turns in a buncha naked chicks, what the hell's next, right?
Many many thanks to Random1377 for being a generous sounding board and beta reader.
He'd gotten the seals down pat the third run-through. That wasn't the problem. The problem had been the chakra expenditure and control. It had taken him the better part of two months before he could even do the boss's pulse, much less the genjutsu portion. And while Naruto-niisan had been as accomodating as possible, he'd recently undertaken a... distraction.
And Ino-neesama wasn't exactly someone you could ignore under normal circumstances, let alone when she had you and your libido wrapped around her pinky.
Konohamaru stopped for a rare moment of reflection. The plan he had set in motion could no doubt force him into a similar situation. He shuddered at the memory of Ino's shrill harping. Then he immediately remembered how he'd interrupted some of the boss's "alone time" and blushed a bit.
Konohamaru decided it was worth it.
The genin adjusted his forehead protector nervously, as he waited for Yuugao-sensei and her newly minted genin students to return from Training Ground 8 and go their separate ways. Hiding behind several thick bushes wasn't his ideal outpost, but it was the most strategic point from which to launch his assault.
After another half hour of waiting, Konohamaru's patience was rewarded with the sounds of tired chatter. Konohamaru caught brief bits and pieces about bells and teamwork. He smirked, it sounded like the violet-haired jounin had gone easy on her charges.
A few minutes of discussion and Konohamaru could hear the team splitting up. His target was moving in his direction while her teammates and instructor walked in the other. Thus far, everything was going according to plan. Konohamaru ran through the hand seals and quickly performed the first stage of his jutsu. A draining sensation hit him as he felt the pulse head toward his target. Shakily he stepped out into the path and watched his target stiffen as the pulse hit and returned back to him.
Konohamaru felt the genjutsu portion of the technique take effect and smiled at the back of the still stunned brunette. Feeling triumphant, Konohamaru implemented the last phase of his so-call master plan.
"Oy, Hanabi-chan," he said, hoping he sounded both alluring and irresistable.
Hyuuga Hanabi slowly turned to face the boy who'd been not-so subtly attempting to court her. Her dark brown hair clung to her face and neck with sweat from the day's exertions. Hanabi's eyes, a muted plum color, were narrowed in annoyance before focused on the young genin boy and widened in shock.
Konohamaru grinned at the response and put both hands behind his head in what he thought was a flattering pose. He grinned as the young Hyuuga tentatively stepped closer. He recognized that slightly bewildered expression. He remembered seeing that same tinge of pink in Ino's cheeks.
Konohamaru never saw Hanabi's knee coming, he only felt shock and pain.
Dropping like the proverbial ton of bricks, Konohamaru clutched his center and curled into such a ball that would put an armidillo to shame. The small sun of pain radiating from his groin was so intense and nauseating that Konohamaru didn't even notice Hanabi jerking his face toward hers by his unruly brown hair.
"Next time just ask," she said before letting him fall back into the dirt. If Konohamaru hadn't been writhing on the ground in agony he might have been excited at the Hyuuga girl's implication. But at the moment all he could do was wish his boss and eternal rival to the deepest pits of hell.
Or marriage to that scary Yamanaka girl.