Naruto © Masashi Kishimoto.

I kind of wanted to write a story where I could do different things to the characters, so there likely will be a lot of OOC. This is just the prologue (hence why it's so short)! I'm going to be torturing Sasuke again. Look forward to it~ Also, some aspects of the story are slightly inspired by no.6 haha.

Pairings: Shikatema, minor NaruGaa/KibaSasu and of course NaruSasu

Warnings: torture, prostitution, human trafficking, slavery, character death, Koharu as a creepy brothel owner, sadistic Anko, OOC behaviour

The city is forever rotting away.

Night came. The polluted clouds darkened the sky and the rain poured down in buckets, but the orphans in the slum didn't mind. They welcomed the rain – for it was the easiest way they could stay clean.

In the middle of a game of hide and seek, a familiar sound interrupted. The traffickers were on their way to kidnap more unwanted children. Six year old Naruto Uzumaki stood on top of a rickety market rooftop and watched as the masked men entered territory forgotten by the elitists. He took a deep breath and, as loud as he could, he shouted his warning of, "Run! They're coming!"

With scattered screams, there was no longer time for games. The neighbourhood kids dispersed through alleyways between rickety buildings. Naruto grabbed a pipeline and swung himself down onto the muddy ground. He looked back and forth frantically for a place to hide until he felt a hand grab him.

"Sh!" the voice demanded, throwing a dirty palm over his mouth.

Together, they stood quietly behind a trash heap. Naruto didn't know how long he was there, but he remained silent. Silence was something he always had trouble with, but he was scared – so, so scared and that overpowered any need he felt to speak.

Soon, the shouting dispersed and everything grew deathly quiet. Naruto pried the hand off his mouth and let out a breath. "Is it over?" he whispered so quietly, he wasn't sure if the figure heard him.

After a minute or so of silence, he heard the soft reply. "I'm not sure."

Naruto turned around and came face to face with a girl donning a really bad haircut, but he wasn't fazed by that. Most of the kids were used to cutting their own hair when it grew too long. What Naruto noticed most of all was her eyes. They were the darkest eyes he's ever looked into and her stony gaze made him shudder. There were dirt smudges on her face and she was even bonier than he was… but beneath all of that, Naruto couldn't help but find her pretty in a mysterious way. "Who are you?" he asked, mesmerized by her.

The girl's lips parted, but before she got a word out they were interrupted by a shaggy-haired brunet boy. "Naruto, there you are! The sweep is over!" he told them, relief evident in his voice.

"Kiba!" Naruto exclaimed with gratitude before asking, "Who did they take? Is Karin okay?"

"They only took Sakura," the other boy frowned. "She's cute… so she'll fetch a high price. They always go for the cute ones."

Naruto frowned as well, feeling sick to his stomach. Kiba offered them both a piteous smile before running off to tell everyone else that they no longer needed to hide.

Naruto glanced at the girl standing idle next to him. "Y'know," he started, "you should be especially careful."

"What about you?" the girl retorted.

"I'm kinda stupid looking," Naruto admit. "At least, that's what everyone says. Nobody'd ever want to buy me, but you should watch out. You're nice to look at."

The girl gave a stiff upper lip.

"If they want cute girls, you might be next," Naruto continued, trying to get his point across. He crossed his arms in a tough manner, more than willing to play the hero if needed.

"A girl?" She looked surprised. "I'm not a –!" she started to speak, but they were interrupted again.

Kiba returned with the rest of the remaining kids flocked behind him. "Let's finish hide and seek!" he declared.

So they did.

For young Naruto, that year was one full of loss. It was full of unsaid goodbyes as his friends were swept away and forced into lives they were far too young to experience.

Naruto never quite became friends with that strange, young girl. He rather saw himself as her protector and he watched over her from a distance. There were times when she'd catch him staring and she'd smile, while other times she'd tell him to simply go away.

Instead, Kiba was the one she warmed up to the most. Perhaps it's because he tried harder and refused to see her as less strong for being so frail. Naruto was jealous, but he refused to show it and he continued with his duty as her protector from afar.

For a time, it worked. Naruto was the one dragging her into hiding when the men in masks invaded… but one day, she was gone without a trace. Naruto searched everywhere he could, but she was nowhere to be found and he couldn't help but feel like he failed. She never asked to be protected, but he knew better than she did. He knew she'd be next.

"It's always the pretty ones," Kiba had said, shaking his head upon hearing the news of the mysterious girl's disappearance. "This sucks… I was just becoming friends with her."

"I want to find her," Naruto grit out.

Kiba laughed, slapping Naruto on the back. "It won't happen. You don't even know her name."

"Do you?" the blond child retorted.

Kiba tilted his head to the side, thinking for a moment before saying, "She wouldn't tell anyone her name, but she went by S."

"Why?" Naruto pried, unsure why a name would be kept secret.

"She said it was because a man once warned her never to tell a soul who she was," Kiba said eerily before shrugging it off altogether. "She said telling people her name would get her in trouble… but I suppose it's too late to worry about that now. She still got taken."

"S…" Naruto murmured aloud before promising, "I'm going to find her."

Kiba frowned at that and shook his head. "Don't get your hopes up." He wasn't as convinced as Naruto was.

For a long time, Naruto held fast… but to no avail. One particularly dark night, he wandered alone throughout the slum streets. He just turned seven and people were dropping like flies due to the rapid pollution in the drinking water. Disease was growing prominent. Naruto was recklessly determined to help, yet too young and too naïve to do anything that might make a difference.

He neared the slum borders and neared the bridge that separated the poorest part of the city from the richest part of the city. Towards the end of the bridge, he spotted a man he'd never seen before. He hovered near a tall building with bright lights and a neon sign that said "Villa Joy". The man was well dressed – too well dressed to have been from the slums. When he noticed Naruto, he began to approach him slowly but surely.

Frozen, Naruto simply stood still. "Are you a slaveholder?" he asked weakly as the man came closer. He had long, dark hair and a grim look on his face.

The man didn't respond. Instead, he smiled and it was anything but kind. He offered his hand to Naruto and, at a loss, the blond child reached forward and took it. Together they walked in silence. They walked away from the slums, nearing the city. Naruto shook, never having strayed this far from where he was born.

"Where are we going?" he asked with childish curiosity.

The man's voice was raspy yet soft-spoken as he said, "Home."