Spoilers: All throughout the manga
Around 13 years ago, the shinobi village of Konoha was invaded by the Kyuubi, a nine-tail demon fox. To save his village from destruction, the leader known only by his title of Yondaime, or fourth-generation, Hokage sacrificed his life to seal the monster within the navel of a newborn baby boy. That boy was Naruto, this is his story.
- Uzumaki Naruto -
Being the newborn orphan child who now had a monstrous presence in his belly, Naruto was wrongfully hailed as the demon itself instead of simply being the vessel of. The villagers couldn't do much to him- he was under the protection of the Sandaime [third-generation] Hokage and they weren't allowed to speak of the event, so they did the next best thing and simply ignored him, their children following in their example. Being without a family or anyone close to him, Naruto grew up in solitude, discriminated for a reason he wasn't aware of. (He would later be informed of the situation under one of the worst possible circumstances)
Instead of allowing that to cripple him entirely, as some other characters, Naruto became the exact opposite of what another person in his situation would've became. To get attention, he would go around pulling prank after prank and proclaim loudly that HE would become the next village Hokage and he would make EVERYBODY acknowledge him.
He is, essentially, a drop-out, the lowest in the class and barely passing. His simplicity, often stupidity, inability to keep his mouth shut, and general un-shinobi like behavior made others scoff quite plainly in his face when he stated that he'd become the strongest in the village. But as the series progresses, his bluntness and straightforward way of thinking becomes a major anchor for his personality and is enlightening to his peers and those seemingly stronger than him (until he beats them to the ground purely of determination).
In a way, he's an inspiration; all his opponents he's fought have in turn seen 'the light' and changed their ways to be more open. The only time he has ever failed was in the more recent manga chapters in which he did not succeed in making his dearest friend, Uchiha Sasuke, see the light.
Itachi is the older brother of the aforementioned Uchiha Sasuke. Unlike Naruto, Itachi was hailed as the genius of the Uchiha , one of, if not most, prestigious families of all Konoha. Also, unlike Naruto, Itachi had a family. One can question how close they were exactly, but it’s quite apparent in the flashbacks of volume 25 that he cared a great deal for his little brother.
So what prompted him to throw all that away, murder his parents along with the entire Uchiha clan, sparing only Sasuke and telling him to 'grow strong until you can defeat me'? No one except the mangaka knows. Ambition is probably a big part of it. The Uchiha Clan is especially renowned for its Sharingan [mirror-wheel] Eyes, eyes that can see through an opponent's movements and copy their technique at the same time. In order to obtain the highest form of the Sharingan, Itachi was required to kill his dearest friend, Shisui. And he did.
For most of his past, we can only speculate, but currently, he's in the 'Akatsuki', an organization composed of only the strongest outlaws, whose cause is still currently unknown. Itachi's mission was to obtain the legacy of the Yondaime Hokage, Uzumaki Naruto.
Naruto: /Sasuke...!? He's got the same Sharingan as Sasuke... It's not him. Who is he?/
Kisame: "However, could this child really be the nine-tails.."
Naruto: "..!!" /How does he know about the Nine-Tails? How did he find out...!?
Itachi: Naruto-kun, we would like you to come with us."
- Volume 17, Chapter 145
There you have it, Itachi and Naruto's first meeting.
I will be honest. The relationship between Naruto and Itachi is mostly sub textual. Jiraiya, Naruto's soon-to-be mentor at the time, had heard of the Akatsuki's plan to abduct Naruto and so he took him out of the village on a mission. Itachi, after discovering that Naruto wasn't there, took off after him after a brief battle. The first meeting narrated above is the most interaction they have, for Sasuke shows up quickly after.
Most of this pairing is speculation. What might've happened if Sasuke hadn't shown up? What could've happened if Jiraiya didn't come in time to rescue Naruto? What if Naruto was kidnapped? What does the Akatsuki want with Naruto? What does Itachi want with Naruto? Does he want him solely for the Kyuubi as Jiraiya believes, or is there more?
If you want to go by what's written, their relationship would definitely not be happy and fluffy. The pairing of ItachixNaruto is a world of undiscovered darkness of the human heart. Of course, there are fanarts depicting them as a happy couple and there's nothing wrong with that either.
Sasuke is a big part of this relationship, I will not deny that. Itachi and Naruto are undeniably linked to him. Sasuke finding out about Itachi's interest in Naruto was largely what prompted him to go to Orochimaru in Volume 26, right? So then
Itachi(x)Naruto is not canon and isn't given as many hints and is less popular than, say, SasukexNaruto or ItachixSasuke and I realize that. What draws me these two is that they're the complete antithesis compliments of each other. The ongoing theme of the story is Genius VS Loser in which the Loser eventually surpasses the genius, correct? Isn't it ironic that Naruto, the one with a demon sealed within him, is less of an actual demon than Itachi, the privileged and prestigious one?
- Nameless: By Kaminiko : For one person, a night of a blood moon brings realizations.
- Darkest Desires: By tristefic : Funny how one night can suddenly change everything and turn your whole world upside down. Sasuke learns the truth about Naruto and how Itachi managed to make his way into his life.
- A Scrap of Humanity: By schizoiori : The dark haired boy leaned down and pat Naruto's head softly. "We're all lonely. What's your name?" he whispered near the blonde's ear coaxing him away from his leg and closer to his chest.
- Hopeless Love: By inglorious_dmk : Sometimes, love just doesn't make sense.
- Make Believe Mommies and Daddies : By tristefic : Itachi and Naruto play wedding. Yondaime isn't pleased.
- The World is a Chessboard: By tristefic </i>Itachi tries to get Naruto to fall in love with him.</i>
- Beneath: By Lucifer the Fallen : There's a fragile child beneath the mask...
- To Go Against Destiny: : By xxsilverwingsxx : When two spies are asked to spy on Itachi and find out more about his dangerous plans things goes wrong when Itachi and Sasuke finds out.
Burn the Sky: Wow. This girl's artwork is amazing and does a lot of different fandoms. And her links is the greatest archive of Naruto Japanese Fanart I've ever seen.
Kaminiko's Links Archive: The links archive mentioned from above. Have fun.
Grappe: An Uchiha-centric Japanese fanart site. Beautiful artowrk.
NarutoFan: Download all the scanlated manga and bittorents of the anime.
Rokudaime: One of the best Naruto fansites out there. Lots of series information, fanworks, and images.
Prodigy: The best (and only) mini-site to Itachi.
Invincible: Shrine to Uzumaki Naruto
I Believe: Shrine to Uzumaki Naruto
- itanaru - The obligatory community pimping. =D
- narutoyaoi - General yaoi [is there such thing?] for Naruto fandom.
- itasasunaru - The unholy trio.
- uke_love - Love for Naruto as uke.
[edit: Pictures are currently down due to a technical problem I'll remedy it ASAP, but I can't promise anything. ^^;;]