Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of the songs in this fic.

CHAPTER TWO

Ino had flown home after that night at Naruto's. She was like a totally different person and everyone saw it but no one asked any questions. It was so rare to see her in a good mood lately that no one wanted to spoil it. She was smiling so much that it was hurting everyone else's faces. Shikamaru had given her two days before he decided to check on what the deal was. He had asked her to check on Naruto on Wednesday and it was now Friday. Her mission was to get him out Saturday and he wanted to know if the mission was accomplished. Walking into the flower shop he was greeted with a blinding flash of teeth and a loud screech.

"SHIKA! Just the person I wanted to see."

He winced and realized he should have made a run for it.

"Sigh. Hello Ino. How did your mission go? It wasn't too troublesome I take it?"

"That's for me to know and you to find out."

Shikamaru cocked his eyebrow at this and scowled.

"So you didn't get him to come huh?"

"For your information I did talk to him and he said maybe. You'll see Saturday night whether he comes or not. If he does, where are we going?"

"Everyone has decided to meet up at the karaoke bar. You know the one for shinobi and civilians. So troublesome. I don't like the atmosphere there but it is nicer than the one exclusively for shinobi."

"That's true. Well I gotta get back to work Shika. I'll see you tomorrow ok?"

Receiving a grunt for an answer, she turned and began making plans for tomorrow. Wait a minute; didn't he say the karaoke bar? Ino grinned evilly and thought 'Perfect'. She could get Naruto to sing there and everyone would realize how great he was and that she was on the arm of the hottest guy in town. Maybe she could even get him to sing a love song to her…whoa, whoa slow down girl. One step at a time. She turned back to the bouquet she was working on and began humming happily.

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Saturday flew by quickly and Ino found herself in a frenzy over what to wear. She hadn't been this exited about a date in years. She was glad that Naruto had grown out of his orange jumpsuit phase and had in recent years actually become something of a fashion plate. That would go nicely with her, as she always liked to look her best. She finally decided on a little black dress (every girl's secret weapon) and a pair of black heels. She wore her hair in her usual ponytail down her back since she knew that Naruto liked his women natural if at all possible. He didn't like fakes or phonies. Since her beauty was natural anyway she forsook makeup and just put on some lipstick. A couple of hoop earrings and some gold bracelets and voila! A complete knockout for the evening. She only hoped that he had put forth an effort as well. Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard a knock at the door. Rushing to the door, she nearly tripped over her shoes. 'Calm down Ino. It's only Naruto. He cleans up well but you've got him beat in the looks department tonight.' Oh how wrong she was. She opened the door and there in front of her was an Adonis. Ino had forgotten how tall he had gotten. Even with her heels she wouldn't reach the bottom of his chin. He was a giant. She looked up into his eyes and saw that he had on his foxiest grin.

"Good evening Ino."

She didn't even hear him. She was too busy drinking up the rest of him with her eyes. He was wearing a white button down shirt with golden stitching that ran like flames up to his chest and his blue jeans had a yellow fox with nine tails crawling up one leg. Custom made stuff, very nice. She traveled down to his shoes and saw that they were leather boots of a reddish tint. She unknowingly licked her lips and continued to travel over his figure to his studded belt and saw that he had his white battle coat on his arm. That was his signature, his father's coat. Suddenly a thought came to her head, her date was HOT! And he was all hers for the evening. Sasuke be damned, Sakura had let a fine fish back into the sea and Ino had caught him. She was brought out of visually eating him up when she heard a chuckle and looked up to see Naruto scratching the back of his head while looking away.

"Um, Ino, if you don't mind, could you stop undressing me with your eyes? At least not until after dinner? I've just arrived back on the dating scene and I'd rather not be eyed like a piece of meat, even if you are beautiful and I'm your date."

He gave her another foxy grin and she blushed. Wait, blushed? Yamanaka Ino did not blush for guys. But here she was doing it for Naruto. He had completely caught her in the act and she didn't really care. A smirk crept across her face and she gave him a look that meant he was going to be teased mercilessly throughout the evening. When she batted her eyelashes at him, he gulped.

"Well if you don't want someone admiring the goods, you shouldn't dress that way hot stuff. I can't help looking at you if you look like a Greek god. You look good enough to eat. Unfortunately I'm not a cannibal and I'd really prefer cooked meat tonight, so where are we going?"

"Well, madam, you are the initiator of this little event so I believe you should pick. My treat of course. Wherever you want."

"Fine. I want to go to the most expensive place in Konoha and I want you to talk to me the entire time. Then we're going to a club. Is that ok?"

She was expecting a fight, at least a small struggle. After all this was Naruto and he didn't do fancy. She quirked her eyebrow when he shrugged and gave her a small smile.

"Whatever milady wants, milady gets."

Boy, that floored her. If he kept calling her madam and milady, she was going to melt in front of him. She hadn't been treated so well on a date in years and they hadn't even left her house yet. 'Yep this is gonna be a good evening.' She thought.

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They soon arrived at the restaurant, and Ino was definitely pleased. Not only had his manners improved over the years but they were turning heads and she could see people pointing and whispering. They were quite the pair with her flowing blonde locks and his unkempt but still in place golden hair. She had looked at that mop of his and wondered how it felt but stomped out those thoughts until she got to know him better. They were almost there when he had suddenly started chuckling and she asked him what the problem was. He looked at her with a sparkle in his eyes.

"See that old lady over there across the street? She said that we made the cutest couple she had seen in a long time. I also heard her mutter to herself whether or not the kids would turn out natural blonde or if we were both dying our hair."

"How did you hear her say that? She's at least a good fifty feet away Naruto."

"Enhanced senses Ino. I don't have a fox demon in me for nothing. The whiskers are just one of the many things I gained by having him in me. I can also smell the lilac perfume on you and I know that you had oatmeal for breakfast."

She scrunched her nose at this. Her perfume was easily identifiable and the oatmeal was probably a lucky guess.

"Uh huh. And you think I believe all that? My perfume may be lilac but the part about oatmeal was a lucky guess."

"Ah but Ino I haven't been close enough to smell your perfume. You only put on a drop our two at the most behind your ears. And as for your oatmeal you had cinammon apple."

Well that shut her up. If he could smell that and hear that far away it was no wonder he had known she was outside the window that night. Turning her thoughts from then to now, she placed her drink order and bridged her hands under her chin. She sighed and thought it was best to get any secrets between them out of the way.

"So Naruto. Where did the fox come from and how did it speak? Was that a genjutsu you put me under?"

"Uh no. Genmaki is one of my summons. He's completely loyal to me and I've sacrificed some of my chakra to keep him here in this world permanently as a guard for my son. The two are very fond of each other besides, even if they do fight like siblings."

"Ok. But how does he speak?"

"He's a summon. All summons speak the human language. The fox summons are just more adept than most because they are the most intelligent."

Well that made as much sense as anything. But something was still remiss.

"Why did it call you Lord? I've never heard the toads call you that."

Naruto had to think quickly. He didn't have an answer prepared for that.

"Um, since I'm the first human to ever summon foxes they kind of revere me. I'm something of a celebrity in the summons world. It makes me uncomfortable but they refuse to call me anything but Lord."

Ino was satisfied for the moment but his quick eye darts around the room told her that she wasn't getting the whole story. No matter, she'd find out later. After all as good as the evening was going, she wanted more than one of these dates and damned if she didn't usually get what she wanted.

"Naruto, tell me about Hikaru."

She noticed that he just stared at her for a moment and then he broke out into an ear splitting grin. She was startled at first but when he launched into his fatherly diatribe about how great his son was she just rested her head into her cupped hands and listened with a small smile on her face. He was immensely proud of his son and would tell anyone that would listen. She sighed and thought that he was a great father. Perhaps he could be a great father to her children someday. Suddenly she realized what she had thought and nearly choked as she sipped on her drink. Naruto came around behind her and clapped her on the back, ending her discomfort. With a concerned look he asked if she was all right and she nodded her head looking for a way out of this. She saw her chance.

"The food's here."

They ate in relative silence and nothing more was said in their time in the restaurant. Naruto paid the bill and when Ino saw the zeroes on the piece of paper she nearly fainted, but he paid it like he was flipping a quarter to someone. 'He must be loaded.' Ino thought. They stepped outside the restaurant and noticed that the air was decidedly cooler. Ino rubbed her arms and thought that maybe the little black dress wasn't a good way to go when she felt a weight on her shoulders and turned to see Naruto putting his battle coat on her. 'Such a gentleman. Has he always been so kind?' He smiled at her and stood there with his hands on his hips.

"So, milady, where to now?"

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About a half hour later, the two were outside of the karaoke bar and Naruto was feeling like he was being set up. He was suddenly very hot and uncertain as to whether he should go in, but Ino grabbed his arm and pulled him along behind her. She growled at his hesitancy and gave him a sharp look.

"Damnit Naruto, this has been a wonderful evening so far and I'm not gonna let your insecurities over whether your friends still like you or not spoil that. We all want you here so come on."

"Gulp. Yes ma'am."

He had to let his eyes adjust to the dark atmosphere at first and then noticed all his friends sitting at a table in the back. Everyone was there. As soon as Lee saw him he smiled and flashed his teeth, blinding everyone, and rushed across the room.

"NARUTO, MY YOUTHFUL FRIEND! TONIGHT IS A GLORIOUS NIGHT FOR YOU TO SPEND WITH US! LET US ALL SHOW YOU THE YOUTHFUL GATHERINGS YOU HAVE MISSED IN THE PAST YEARS!"

"Damnit Lee. I wasn't finished singing yet. You asshole!"

Naruto turned and saw Kiba on the stage with a microphone in his hand. He also was grinning from ear to ear and waved at Naruto who returned the gesture. The next few minutes were a whirlwind of reintroductions and hand shaking and hugs from the girls. It was only after about fifteen minutes that Naruto leaned over to Ino, who was still wearing his coat and sniffing it discreetly every few moments since it smelled like him, and asked where they were.

"Um I don't know. They're usually here by now. Maybe they won't come tonight. But away from that, will you sing for me tonight? Please?"

He looked over at her and saw nothing but big puppy dog eyes. 'Damn, she's just too cute.' He sighed and rubbed his temples.

"Of course Ino. If that's what you want, I'll sing a song. But it will be one that I want to sing. And we'll leave immediately after. I don't want any fan girls trying to chat me up. Agreed?"

She shook her head vigorously. This was the perfect evening. Not much could ruin it and if she had her way nothing would.

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It seems that all of his friends decided to sing. Most were horrible but it wasn't about the atrocity of their voices it was about the fun and camaraderie. Kiba had finally finished his song and Lee followed after. Everyone had his or her turn. Hinata sang a very beautiful traditional Japanese song and even Neji sang, except he was almost smashed and no one could understand his slurring. The evening almost stopped when Sakura and Sasuke walked in the door and everyone hushed for a moment but were spurred on by Naruto speaking in a small voice.

"Don't stop on my account. I'll be fine, just act like normal."

He gave Ino's hand a squeeze while he said this, as if he was looking for reassurance. She squeezed back and she could see him visibly relax. As long as he had one person in his corner he'd be fine. Sakura and Sasuke took their place at the head of the table and the talking continued. Sakura eventually took her turn and sang an old, folksy song, and Sasuke declined his turn with a familiar 'Hn.' Suddenly Lee jumped up onto his chair and pointed at Naruto.

"NARUTO! MY YOUTHFUL FRIEND! YOU HAVE NOT SANG A SONG YET AND I WOULD BE REMISS IN LETTING YOU GO WITHOUT SHOWING US YOUR BURNING FLAMES OF YOUTH ONSTAGE!"

Sighing Naruto stood up and looked at Ino. She had a smirk on her face but her eyes betrayed her. She didn't want the night ruined because he did something he didn't want to do. He just smiled at her and made his way to the stage. All eyes were on him as he sat on the stool and turned to the DJ.

"Thank you but no music will be necessary. I shall provide the music and words myself."

This caught everyone's attention. The stage was lit up and Naruto just sat on the stool with a far off look in his eyes. Suddenly he snapped his fingers and a three-tailed fox the size of a large dog appeared on the stage in a puff of smoke. It looked up at him and yawned.

"Yes Lord Naruto? How can I be of service to you?"

"I need you to go and fetch my guitar from the house and bring it back here. Oh and bring the travel case with you, I'll just carry it home later. Then you may go back to your nap."

"As you wish my Lord."

The fox vanished in a puff of smoke and immediately questions began to rain down upon him.

Where'd the fox come from? I didn't see you make any hand signs, how'd you summon it? You play guitar?

"Ok I'll answer those in order. Not telling, not telling, and yes I play the guitar. In time I may tell you how I do the other things but for now just know that I can."

A puff of smoke beside him let him know that the fox was back and it had his guitar strapped to his back. It did not look happy.

"Something wrong?"

"Your son was gracious enough to strap the instrument to my back but the little snot pulled my tails before I left. Please tell Master Hikaru that that is not an appropriate way to tell someone goodbye."

"Of course I'll tell him. Sorry for disturbing you. You may go now."

"Thank you my Lord. I shall see you again soon."

The fox vanished and Naruto turned back to the crowd whose jaws had dropped. He tuned the instrument and strummed it a few times, never once looking at the crowd. He kept his head down and thought of what song to sing. Finally, he glanced at Sakura through his bangs and a devious smile crossed his face. Revenge is a dish best served cold and what he was about to sing was going to look very badly on her. He still didn't raise his gaze though.

"This is a song I wrote a couple years back. Hope you all enjoy it. It's a little sad but its how I feel."

Lately I've been spendin lots of time with my kid
Tellin him stories
About the things that we did
When we were a family
Long time ago
I've answered his questions
Till I'm blue in the face
Wish all that hurt in him
I could erase
But I tell him the truth
Cause he ain't to young to know

'Uh-oh' Ino thought 'This could be trouble if Sakura gets out of hand.' She quickly looked over to the pink haired shinobi and saw her sitting there with a curious look on her face. She seemed to be very interested in how this was going to turn out. Suddenly the chorus broke out.

Single father
Part time mother
When I'm not one
Then I'm the other
You used to be
My full time lover
Now I'm a single father
And a part time mother

Ino could hardly hold back the tears. She looked around and saw that all the women, save for Sakura, had tears in their eyes. The guys all looked like they would burst any moment too. She turned back to listen to the rest.

I spend every minute
I can with my boy
There's no doubt about it
He's my pride and joy
Someday he'll grow up
And I won't have him no more
Some things I just find
Too hard to explain
So we go to McDonalds
Or I buy him a train
And we go put it together
On the living room floor

Such is the life
Of a single father
He says daddy explain
If its not too much bother
While its just you and me
Living here in this home
I don't understand it
And neither does he
Why there's just two
When there should be three of us
Sharing this moment
Lord I feel so alone

'Oh Sakura, how could you give up such a warm, loving person for a total iceberg of emotion? And how could you hurt that sweet little boy?'

Single father
Part time mother
When I'm not one
Then I'm the other
You used to be
My full time lover
Now I'm a single father
And a part time mother

Naruto finished the song and put the guitar into the travel bag, stepped off the stage, and walked over to Ino while holding out his hand. She rose from her seat and wiped the tears from her eyes, hooked her arm in his and walked out the door. The others all sat stunned until Lee let out a whoop and rushed out the door. Everyone jumped to their feet and ran leaving Sasuke and Sakura to their own devices. Sakura, it seems, was lost in her own thoughts while Sasuke was stewing on the inside. But no one noticed this. Everyone piled into the street and looked frantically for Naruto and Ino when they heard Lee, actually talking quietly with them not thirty yards away.

"I'm serious Naruto, that was beautiful. I did not know that you had that talent. You must come back and play again next Saturday."

"I don't know Lee. I don't think I'm exactly welcome here."

"WHAT ARE YOU, STUPID? OF COURSE WE WANT YOU HERE!"

That was collectively everyone yelling all at once, even Hinata. The performance they had just witnessed had to be repeated again. He simply couldn't get off the hook after one time. They insisted that he come back next Saturday and play a new song. After much cajoling Naruto relented and he and Ino set off for her apartment to say goodnight. The walk was quiet but comfortable. Naruto was thinking about how much fun he had had and Ino was scheming about how she could get another date out of him and get to hear that marvelous voice again. As if on cue Naruto quelled any doubts in her mind.

"You know Ino, I had a feeling that tonight was going to be a disaster but I had more fun tonight than I've had in years. I want to thank you for making that possible."

"But I didn't do anything."

"Yes you did. You took the initiative to ask me out and now I would appreciate it if you would give me the opportunity to return the favor. Ino, would you go out on a date with me?"

She was stunned. Naruto had just given her what she wanted and she hadn't had to ask. She was on cloud nine. Crashing back to earth suddenly she realized that they had stopped walking a short while ago and were in front of her apartment building. Dredging up the old Ino bravado she put on that devilish grin. Naruto immediately knew she was up to something.

"But of course Naruto. I would love to go out with you again. But it has to be Saturday and you have to sing at the club again. Ok?"

"Is that all? I was afraid you were going to want a striptease or something."

"Not yet. Maybe soon, but not yet. You do have a nice ass though."

He immediately turned tomato red and Ino was satisfied with a job well done. Pretty soon she'd have him at her beck and call and…well that would be no fun, after all there's no challenge in a docile man. She said goodnight and turned to her door, before smirking and spun around, grabbed him by the collar, jerked his head down and gave him a peck on the cheek. She then ran inside and slammed the door leaving a stunned Naruto and a slightly hyperventilating Ino on both sides of the door. Both let a small smile creep onto their faces and went to do their own thing. Ino of course, planning how she would gossip about her smashing success of a date with the hottest guy in town and Naruto went to his house to relieve Genmaki of babysitting duty. He arrived home and was tackled by his son.

"Didja have fun Daddy?"

"Yes son. I had a lot of fun and got to see many of my old friends."

"Was the Ino lady I saw here last night nice? She was pretty. I like her."

"And how did you see Ino last night? You were supposed to be in bed young man."

"That was my fault Lord Naruto. The little runt wanted to peek and I was curious as well, so…we looked in on you two. I hope you can forgive me."

Naruto looked down at the small fox and reached to scratch his ears, causing Genmaki to shake his leg and pant happily. Hikaru giggled at his caretaker's weakness and plotted to use it on him later.

"No Genmaki, I'm not angry with you. I had the best night of my life in three years tonight and Ino was an absolute angel. I hope to see more of her. Maybe she'll even take a liking to you and Hikaru. Now both of you go to bed, I'm tired. Sorry son no song tonight. Oh and Hikaru? Stop pulling the fox's tales. They hate when you do that and it's not nice. Understand?"

They both walked off grumbling and Naruto flopped on the couch with a sigh.

'Well, Ino. I hope you like me as much as you say you do, because I plan to see a lot more of you soon. And I hope you take my secret well.' With that he released his henge and out popped nine red fox tails with golden tips and ears of the same color. He stared at his claws and put his hands behind his head. He had to gain her trust and soon. Time was running short.

The song is 'Single Father' by Kid Rock.