WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations #35, by Masashi Kishimoto, Mikio Ikemoto and Ukyo Kodachi, on sale now.
The Naruto series has always been a coming-of-age adventure dealing with the young ninjas of Konoha maturing and eventually getting past their rivalries in the Shippuden era. It's a story about growth, which paved the way for Naruto to transition into the Hokage and Sasuke to become a ranger for the Land of Fire.
However, while many fans thought we'd spend quite a bit of time in the Boruto manga going through these same motions for Naruto's son, that won't be the case. While we've seen Kawaki shaped as Boruto's version of Sasuke, rather than keep feuding with him, Boruto actually patches things up to the point they now consider each other brothers in the manga's newest chapter.
Kawaki's been staying with Naruto, training and acting as an adopted son, as the Hokage hopes to safeguard him from the all-mighty Jigen and his Kara terrorist cell. Naruto knows he needs to teach him to hone his craft similar to the way he did as a teen wielding Kurama the Nine Tails Fox, so Kawaki will be able to better handle himself in battle when his kidnappers inevitably come calling. At first, Boruto -- just Iike the other young shinobi of the village -- felt jealous and insecure at this preferential treatment, but Naruto's kid goes through a huge change of heart as he shows empathy and compassion following sessions together.
When intel comes in and Naruto assesses Jigen's threat in front of the kids, Kawaki displays a rare moment of vulnerability, admitting that Jigen wants to weaponize him after engineering him as a vessel. Moreover, he appears truly scared and traumatized by his past. This admission shows he's finally comfortable with his newfound family, and Boruto, upon hearing this, makes amends and reiterates he won't let anyone touch Kawaki. In fact, he tells his rival it's their destiny to stop Jigen and Kara together. Boruto calls him "brother" and Kawaki accepts, flipping the script on how Sasuke constantly rebuffed Naruto's attempts to be brothers.
The lack of rejection doesn't even surprise Boruto, since they've been having a very solid rapport recently. When Kawaki sees Boruto sticking up for him and wants to protect him too, he knows it's all genuine. It's not that shocking, since Kawaki has shown an affinity for Boruto's entire family, especially the young sister Himawari, who he views as his first sibling ever. But as cool as this mending of the fence is, it's admittedly still odd seeing Boruto gravitating towards him since they were at each other's throats a few months ago.
Naruto and Boruto's other friends are all caught off-guard, but everyone's happy because they know how powerful both ninja truly are. Naruto has already said that both might surpass him someday, which is why he's been training them assiduously to work together so they could become soldiers fighting alongside each other much faster than it took him and Sasuke. With the series starting off with an older Kawaki and Boruto battling each other, though, fans have pointed out this bonding here will make their eventual fracturing point all the harder to take.
But as Boruto tells Kawaki, brotherhood is about hope and being optimistic they'll have each other's backs. While this may be a temporary alliance for now, it certainly bodes well for Naruto in the near future. Having the pair looking out for one another is a huge positive, and it also makes for one less distraction as the Hokage tries to figure out Jigen's endgame with Kawaki. Nonetheless, as Boruto puts it, he'll go down fighting to save Kawaki, which truly shows how much the franchise embodies the old adage of "like father, like son."