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  • Naruto and Shino first introduction:
    Sometimes he asked questions, sometimes he talked about things, sometimes he just sat beside Shino in silence. He didn't talk about being Hokage, didn't mention Uchiha Sasuke or Haruno Sakura. Instead, Naruto talked about the Academy and his thoughts about the material taught in it, about the challenges he faced in living alone, and about his favorite places to go to in Konoha. Shino listened to it all, tranfixed by the cheerful voice of Naruto as he explained Shino the best way to get by if you lose your utilities for a few weeks. It wasn't that it was so terribly interesting – it was quite mundane actually – it was just the combination of Shino's ingrained tendency to listen attentively no matter what, and the fact that Naruto's life was so unlike anything he ever imagined. Naruto's world was almost surreal – an empty world in which his only contact with people was a meeting with the Hokage once a month and an occasional interaction with the teachers and students in the academy. He didn't live in an orphanage, as Shino would have suspected – he lived alone in his own apartment, doing his own chores. He worked at a ninja supplies store to get some side-cash because his orphan stipend was barely enough for him to get by. He had no friends his own age and seemed to lack knowledge most people took for granted, having learned it from their parents and peers as young children. In light of this, his abysmal performance in the academy didn't seem so strange.
    Uzumaki Naruto possessed a depth that Shino would have never suspected. What's more, Shino suspected that he was the first person Naruto told this to. This sort of gesture of trust was rather moving to the Aburame, and he found himself compelled to share some facts of himself in return. Which led to an uncomfortable realisation.
    Shino found himself strangely reluctant to reveal his kikai to Naruto. Due to his social isolation, Naruto was probably the only person in the class who didn't know about them. Would Naruto have approached him if he knew he houses a colony of insects in his body? He had grown to like the blonde over the last few days, and the thought of his potential friend leaving in disgust was mildly upsetting. Of course, he had no intention of being a friend to someone who couldn't tolerate his allies, and his father had already talked him about other people's reaction to his kikai at great length, but he still felt reluctant.
    But since Shino was a man of logic and not instict, he broke the subject to Naruto.

    He had gotten a lot of reactions to his kikai in the past, but That's so cool! was not one of them.

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  • Not 10 pages later:
    Naruto, for his part, was ecstatic that someone stood up for him. First time ever! He didn't know that Shino actually cared about him!
    Now that he thought about it, Naruto had been avoiding Shino for the past few days. That wasn't very nice of him.
    "Thanks Shino."
    "You seem troubled lately," answered Shino, sitting beside him.
    Naruto rubbed the back of his head nervously. "I do, don't I? I just found out a pretty shocking secret about me from the Old Man. I'm still not sure what to think of it."
    Shino was silent for a while, but Naruto had learned to be patient with his silences: Shino was not ignoring him, it was just the way his personality and attitude worked.
    "When I'm in a contemplative mood, I always found that a walk through the forest clears my head considerably. I'll be doing some research on my clan-grounds today. You're welcome to join me if you're interested."
    Naruto was touched, and more than a little surprised
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