"How do you smile?" Gaara asks quietly, his eyes keenly observing the blatantly unfriendly and downright hostile stares to Naruto as they walked down the street together. Naruto is smart enough to know that it's not the mechanics that Gaara is referring to.

"Because if I don't smile, then it'll be harder for others to find a reason to be happy. And if no one is happy, then I'll have no reason to try to smile."

"That makes no sense."

"I know, but it works for me."

Jade eyes met sky blue. "You're very…odd, Uzumaki Naruto."

Whiskered cheeks stretched wide in a cocky grin and Gaara felt a faint pang in his chest as he watched his blond friend tip his head back in obnoxious laughter. Maybe someday he too could be so happy and carefree…after all, Naruto was one in a million and someone Gaara was wholly dedicated on striving to become just like.

After a moment though, Naruto groaned and clutched his stomach. "Oh man, I've got mega gas! Maybe I shouldn't have drunk that spoiled milk this morning…"

Well.

Some aspects the blond could damn well keep to himself, Gaara thought in acute disgust.