Bugs and Charms
Chapter 1: Winter Mornings
It was just another boring morning in Konohagakure. One of those repulsive mornings where the birds would not take a break to breathe and the sun refused to hide behind a cloud. This was all too infuriating for Aburame Shino who hid under his bed sheets, praying for any sort of relief. His sixteenth birthday had just passed, but it seemed just the same as it had before. Hinata and Kiba came to celebrate his birthday, but it hadn't felt like anything special. Nothing at all had change, nothing.
"Damn it all!" Shino yelled as he threw his sheets off and peered out the window, "Can't the sun be somewhere else!" He suddenly felt the bite of coldness nipping at his palms and feet. "Damn this winter weather…" He rolled out of his bed and put on his clothes. "What time is it anyways?" He checked his clock and it read seven o' clock. He sighed deeply. "I might as well go out for some hot chocolate or something before I meet up with my team…" He put his glasses on and went into the bathroom. After ten minutes, he left his house without waking his father.
Shino walked down the empty streets and observed as a few shops were just opening. His hands felt like ice, so he kept them in his pockets. He wasn't much of a winter person, even though he seemed dressed for it year-round. He stopped by the ramen shop and sat in a chair.
The middle-aged shopkeeper came to him. "Oh, good morning…?" He took a good look at Shino and cringed. What's with this boy? He's kinda creepy.
Shino knew that look and hated it. "What?"
"Oh, sorry 'bout that young man. What can I do for you?"
You can start by getting rid of that stupid look on your face… "Uh, I'll have a cup of hot chocolate."
"Sure thing." He grabbed a cup and poured the steamy liquid into the cup. "There you go." He handed the shinobi the cup. "Trying to stay warm, eh?"
"Whatever." He left the money on the counter and walked off. He took a sip of it, the steam warmed his nose. "Hot, hot, hot!" He stuck his tongue out and inhaled the cool, crisp air. "Aah, ow…"
"Lemme go! Stop!"
"C'mon, we just wanna give a cute thing like you a charm of our own!"
Shino looked up and saw two men shoving a girl into an alley. "What the hell?" He walked over calmly. "What could possibly be going on now? And so early in the morning?"
One of the men came tumbling out of the alley. "ARGH!" He landed right at Shino's feet.
"What?" He looked into the alley and saw that the other man had pinned the girl against the wall. "Hey!"
The man turned at looked at him. "What do you want, boy? Get lost!"
"Idiot," he said camly.
"What did you say kid!" He let go of the girl and charged after him. "I'm gonna crush you!"
Shino blocked the hit with one arm while holding his hot chocolate in the other hand. "Do you really think you stand a chance?" Little bugs came out of his sleeve and scurried onto the man's arm.
"Wh-What is this! Get 'em off!" He reached for the bugs, but they burrowed into his skin. "AH!" He backed away in pure terror. "Wh-What are you?" Shino glared.
"KYAH!" The girl punched the man in the back of his head and knocked him out. "That was for trying to rape me!"
Shino raised an eyebrow. "Uh, are you alright or something?"
The girl looked down at a feather that fell from the man's belt. "Huh? This feather…" She picked it up. "…MARVELOUS!"
He jumped back. "Er, what?"
"This feather! It's texture! It's so smooth! And just look at this color! It's pure white! To think an ugly thug had something this precious!"
He became uneasy. "Uh, look, if you're not hurt or anything, I'll just be-"
"Don't move!" He obeyed halfheartedly. "Yes, yes, of course! This is perfect!" She pulled out a tag with the words 'Kaihi Mayoke' on it and placed it on the feather. She then reached down her top and pulled out a pouch. She opened it and sprinkled the dust inside the pouch onto the feather. It began to glow a white color, then exploded with a blue cloud. The feather had turned blue with white stripes. "Ahahaha! It's done!"
She looked at him, then smiled. "Yeah. Please, accept this as a token of my gratitude for saving me."
He took the feather. "A blue and white feather?"
"Oh, it's more than just an ordinary feather. Yep, I've cast a spell over it and now it's a charm for evasion."
"Evasion charm?" He looked at it.
She blushed. "You were so great, so I doubt that you'll even need it. Just look at how you blocked that blow! You didn't even slip a drop of your hot chocolate!"
"Thanks I guess."
"Ha ha, you're welcome!" She held out her hand. "I'm Nozomi Airi."
Shino looked at her hand. "Hi."
"Oh…" Airi drew her hand back. "Well, I'd like to know the name of my savior." She giggled. "You do have one, right?"
It had been a while since he had had a real conversation with a girl other than Hinata. This came to him as somewhat of a shock, but he felt a little happy. A few years back, many people shunned him away because of the bugs that came out of his body. He couldn't help but blush a little at the conversation. "A-Aburame Shino."
"Shino huh? That's a cool name!" She smiled. "I hope we can become friends Shino!" He looked at her curiously. She looked down at her watch. "Oh, shoot, I have to go now. Bye Shino, it was nice meeting you!" She left the alley.
Shino stared at her before she disappeared around the corner. "Friends? With…her…?"