It was a cold morning in fall when Shibi Aburame walked outside his clan's door and found the child. It was little over a year old, and could have passed for an Uchiha with how pale it was.
With it was a note, in romanji of all things.
'Take the little freak...we never wanted him. He's your problem now.'
Curious as to why someone would leave an innocent child at their doorstep...they had the reputation for being rather disturbing because of the hives they had inside their bodies...he took it in.
When the infant opened it's eyes, he knew without a shadow of a doubt that his wife would adopt the child. It wasn't like they couldn't afford to, and the child was still young enough to inherit the clan bugs.
"What is it dear?"
"Someone left this on our doorstep."
She took one look at the child and fell in love.
"What should we name him?"
She nodded in agreement. It was a fine name for a shinobi. And few people would ask where the child had come from, because there were a select few people who willingly associated with the Aburame clan. As far as the village knew, they had hidden the pregnancy. All that was left was dealing with the Hokage and forging the birth certificate.
"Someone was idiotic enough to leave and infant on your doorstep in the beginning of November?" asked the Hokage incredulous.
Shibi remained silent.
"I take it you and your wife wish to adopt the child?"
"Should the infant prove to be an orphan, I believe he would make an excellent addition to our clan."
Sarutobi looked at the man knowingly. Sometime during the last Shinobi war, his wife had taken a hit that the doctors told her would render her incapable of safely bearing a child. There was absolutely nothing they could do to fix the problem, unless they could find Tsunade.
The fact that Shibi was all too willing to adopt a child abandoned on the doorstep didn't surprise him in the least.
"Very well. We may as well start the paperwork. What story are you going to give the council?"
"My wife decided to hide the pregnancy, and we wanted to wait and make sure the infant would be able to survive before announcing him?"
The Hokage could believe that easily enough. The fact was that the last child they had had was rather weak, and had died within a few months. It would only appear natural that they would rather wait before introducing a second child.
The next month, Shibi was rather proud to announce his son Shino. A child which seemed to handle the clan bugs with ease. The other clans were rather shocked to hear about the child, but once he gave his explanation there were no further comments about the matter.
Time Skip six years...
Shino had grown into a healthy, if somewhat pale, seven year old. He didn't really mind the way people shot him freaked out looks, his father had explained the reason why civilians and shinobi alike thought them creepy.
To be honest, Shibi found the fact that Shino tended to find snakes in his bed rather worrying. Particularly when the child had mentioned the fact that he could speak to the snakes.
Shibi merely requested that he keep that particular ability to himself, since it would only cause the other children to avoid him even more. Shino understood that, and went to play anyway.
When he first entered the Academy, Shino found something rather odd about the teachers.
While he was used to getting the looks of wary respect, he was also aware that the teachers shot an entire different look at one of his new classmates. The boy was blond, loud and rather mischievous.
Yet the teachers acted as though he were the Kyuubi or something. Well, almost all of them. Iruka at least gave the boy sympathetic looks.
Shino wondered why, and decided to observe the situation before he did anything. What he saw shocked him more than he would like to admit.
Naruto Uzamaki was the class pariah. No one was willing to be friends with the boy, even though there was nothing Shino saw that would cause such a thing. The parents always removed their children whenever Naruto was around, and refused to let them play.
It was a rather lonely existence.
"Father...I have noted a rather disturbing trend surrounding one of my classmates. People seem to avoid him as actively as they do us, only they don't bother to hide their dislike of the boy."
Shibi stopped, and looked at Shino. His son was the most observant child he had ever seen. For him to say that meant he noticed something was very wrong, and he intended to correct it whether or not Shibi said it was alright.
"What is the child's name?"
"Uzamaki Naruto. The only teacher I have seen who doesn't make his life difficult is Iruka-sensei."
Shibi paused. Naruto Uzamaki was the name of the Kyuubi container. While he knew full well that if Shino associated with the boy he would be avoided more than usual, he also knew that his son was very stubborn. If he wanted to be friends with Naruto, he would go through with it no matter what Shibi said.
"Let me confirm your findings. Tomorrow I will stand in for you at the school. If you are correct, then you may befriend the boy."
"Yes father," said Shino. It was as close to a 'yes' that he would get that day.
When Shibi returned that day, he was astounded to find that Shino wasn't overstating the problem.
Every adult alive during the attack was actively preventing their children from getting close to Naruto. As if they feared he would infect them with the Kyuubi by befriending the boy.
After seeing the way Naruto was treated (Shino hadn't been joking when he said that the people barely treated him with any civility) he made up his mind. Shino looked up at his father, who said clearly "You may befriend the Uzamaki child... But please, try not to get caught pranking anyone."
Shino grinned, and somehow Shibi knew without a doubt, that he had just signed the village's death sentence.
Naruto looked up from his worn out book, struggling to read the letters. Iruka tried to help him read, but he usually got called away during their private lessons.
So when a shadow appears behind him, he turned and looked.
Shino Aburame, the only kid in the class that people avoided (only with less hatred in their eyes), was right behind him.
"Are you struggling with the text?" he asked.
"Yeah... Kinda hard to read when you can't understand the kanji."
"Would you like some help in learning how?" asked Shino.
Naruto stared in disbelief. Someone was willing to help him?
"Sure!" he said with enthusiasm.
Shino took time out of his lunch to help Naruto learn how to read. To his surprise, Naruto was a rather fast learner, if given a chance. The two could often be found debating the training scrolls that Shino checked out from the Academy library. Scrolls Naruto had been unable to access for reasons he never fully understood.
(Even though it was well known Shino had become close friends with Naruto, the librarian knew better than to antagonize one of the Noble clans. That was just asking for trouble!)
"GET BACK HERE YOU BRATS!" yelled one of the chunin they had nailed with a rather inventive use of glue and feather tags.
Naruto grinned at his best friend Shino who, as always, was almost impossible to read if you didn't know the signs. Naruto was one of the extremely rare people who could tell what an Aburame was feeling without being told.
He was also one of the few outside the clan who dared to hang out with Shino.
Ever since Shino had initially approached Naruto, the two had become instant friends. Shino even assisted Naruto in pranking the village. It was their way of getting revenge for all the crap Naruto had to put up with on a daily basis.
Shino was quite sure that if he hadn't become friends with the boy, there was a very good chance Naruto would have had to live on ramen noodles and expired food.
As it was, Naruto was a frequent visitor at the Aburame mansion.
Shino lead them straight to the forest area. He had noted that none of the people who chased them ever dared to follow them once they entered that particular forest. When he asked his father, he learned that it had a rather disturbing reputation, and the only time people ever went into it was during the Chunin exams.
Well, almost never. There was one crazy kunoichi who would follow them, but they usually lost her with the help of the snakes that lived in the area. Naruto never thought to ask why Shino was able to talk to snakes when his clan was best know for their insect hives.
"Good thing crazy lady wasn't there today," said Naruto, taking a breather.
"For the last time, her name is Anko. And it's not a coincidence that she wasn't there. I copied her work schedule so we wouldn't run into her unless we're really bored," said Shino.
They didn't even flinch when they heard hissing below them. They were so used to escaping into the forest that the snakes knew them by scent.
Have fun boys?
Shino grinned, and hissed back "Glue and feather tags. I'm almost certain another dart board has been added to the Chunin lounge with our pictures on it."
The snake hissed, laughing. The two 'hatchlings' as the serpents called them, brought the snakes no end of amusement.
Once they had caught their breath (and made very sure the coast was clear) they ran straight to the Aburame mansion. Shibi was waiting for them, amused.
"Are you aware of the new pictures on the Chunin lounge dart board?" he asked.
Shino looked at Naruto.
"Told you they would add new ones."
"Good thing we left them something to throw at. The last pictures they had were rather ruined from the amount of kunai they had thrown at it."
"Don't forget that large number of senbon. I didn't know you could ruin a dart board with that many lodged in the wall..."
Shibi looked at them amused.
"Dinner is in ten. Go get cleaned up."
"Yes sir!" they said in unison.
Shibi watched his son and his friend run to the bathroom. It was rather amusing that the heir to the clan wasn't even a blood member, and yet acted more responsibly than the Uchiha heir. The only real complaint the other clans had was the fact that Shino was rather good at pranking the village.
Being friends with Naruto only made his pranks worse.
Shino was his pride and joy. He almost dreaded the day when he had to tell the boy about where he really came from. And how hard the boy might take it.
Shino stared at the mirror. Once again, his green eyes stared back. He had once asked another clan member what color his parents eyes were, because they never removed their sunglasses even when indoors.
And found that for some reason, he hadn't inherited their eyes. He was rather surprised to find out that he was the only person in the clan with green eyes. And the only one in the village with emerald colored eyes.
Jewel colored eyes weren't that unusual. Naruto had sapphire colored eyes.
It bothered Shino that his skin tone was two shades paler than his parents. The only people with similar coloring were the Uchiha. The questions in his head were bothering him so much that he found it hard to sleep. Only the buzz of his hive could get him to even sleep, and it was still hard coming.
Finally, he couldn't take it anymore.
So he confronted his parents over breakfast during one of the times Naruto wasn't sleeping over.
Shibi stared at his son, then sighed. He knew this day was coming, but he didn't have to like it though.
"Shino... You were adopted."
The simple fact of that statement stopped Shino cold. He was adopted?
That actually explained more than it didn't.
"When you were a year and a half, I found you outside on our doorstep. You were so young that I couldn't in good conscience leave you at the orphanage. Your mother and I decided to adopt you and claim you as our own."
"Why was I left on a doorstep?"
Shibi brought out an old paper, written in romanji. Shino always had a naturally knack towards languages.
"I knew you had to be an orphan, because no real parent would dare call you a freak. No one has ever come asking about a child with green eyes and a scar above his right eye."
Shino sat down. It was a lot to take in all at once. Then he looked at his father and asked "Am I still an Aburame?"
"Nothing has changed between us. You are still our son, even if we didn't give birth to you."
Shino nodded. That he could accept. No matter what anyone said he was still Shino Aburame, bane of the village.
He went to class, and continued on his day as if his world were still the same. Only Naruto knew something was off.
Like a good friend, he didn't press the matter. Shino would tell him when he was ready.
Shino was eager to try the genin exam. He had made it a point not to get promoted without Naruto with him. This was their third time taking the genin exam, and Naruto was worrying. Next week would make or break his lifelong dream of becoming Hokage.
The main problem was that one of the jutsu happened to be rather difficult for Naruto to use. Shino had issues with it as well, but he could always use one of the clan techniques which made a clone out of his personal hive.
"I can't use that little chakra! It either comes out wrong or it fails spectacularly!" Naruto complained.
"Perhaps you are not a genjutsu user. Maybe father will know of a way to make them solid."
Naruto stopped, and thought about it.
"With the amount of chakra I have, I think that may be my only option."
Shino nodded. Naruto had the highest amount of raw chakra in the class, followed closely by Sasuke Uchiha and Shino. That fact had shocked their teachers, since everyone knew the hive inside an Aburame made it rather difficult to use the higher level ninjutsu. They made up that fact with their bugs.
Naruto and Shino made their way to the Aburame mansion, and when asked about a way to make clones solid, Shibi gave them a look.
"If this is a way to learn a stronger jutsu to impress your teachers..." he left the end hanging.
"Naruto can't do the regular clones. It takes too little chakra and he simply doesn't have such a fine tuned control of his. I can probably get away with a kikai clone, but I have trouble with the regular clones as well."
Shibi stared at his son. He had known Shino had a larger than normal amount of chakra for the clan, but he hadn't known that it was causing him problems with the lower level techniques.
"Fine... There is one technique that I know of, but it's a jounin level one. I can only manage one or two at best," he admitted.
Shibi showed Naruto the signs, and set the boys to work. Much to his shock and amusement, Naruto not only managed to pull off the technique within two hours, but he was able to bring out at least thirty clones.
He could see why the boy had such trouble learning the weaker techniques. Shino surprised him the most, because he was able to bring out ten clones of his own.
That could be a problem. People already suspected he wasn't a full Aburame, despite being the son of the Clan head. If it wasn't for the fact that Shino had an innate knack for controlling his kikai bugs, people would start wondering who's clan he belonged to.
Then again, odd things always happened around Shino. They just took his strangeness in stride these days.
Shibi decided to go visit the Hokage and make a suggestion for the genin teams. He didn't doubt that the boys would pass the test.
"Hello Aburame-san. What can I do for you?"
"I was going to make a suggestion for the genin teams this year."
"Shino and Naruto?"
"They make a rather good team. Any recommendations for the third member?" he asked.
"The Hyuuga heir. She seems to be the only kunoichi in that class with any real sense. The others tend to hang off of the Uchiha's every word. Haruno should be avoided...she has a nasty tendency to hit Naruto when annoyed, and Yamanaka would only upset the hive inside Shino with her shrieking."
The Hokage took that under advisement. He was well aware of the little training tricks Shino had been teaching Naruto to identify specific scents. They could make a formidable capture and interrogation team if given a chance and an instructor who could deal with Naruto without glaring at him.
The only issue was whether the boys would pass this year.
Iruka called Naruto, almost dreading the fact that he would have to watch Naruto flunk, again. It wasn't his fault that the exam included a jutsu that required so little chakra that Naruto couldn't do it properly.
Naruto stood proudly before them, almost grinning like a fox. He put his hands into the proper seal like Shibi had taught him, and said "Shadow Clone Jutsu!"
Iruka's mouth dropped, as Naruto created no less than ten perfect shadow clones! There was only one issue. Mizuki was the other proctor.
"Pass?" he asked, hoping Mizuki wasn't going to act like an idiot.
Mizuki sullenly agreed to pass Naruto. The brat had outdid his classmates, except for the Aburame kid who had done a bug clone.