Sakura held her newly acquired ninja headband close to her chest and thought back to the life she had led thus far to get here. Looking around she felt a twang of jealousy as she saw most of her classmates celebrating with their parents and the pink haired Kunoichi couldn't help but notice that she was one of the three unlucky ones who understood the pain of solitude. Naruto Uzumaki, the orange clad boy sat gloomily on the swing, obviously feeling distraught by the fact that he had failed to pass the exam and Sasuke Uchiha, the last Uchiha, was nowhere to be seen as he obviously didn't want to be around families as it would only serve a painful reminder to what he had lost. Sakura felt that that thought process made sense and so she headed home, her thought going to those who had helped her in the past.
Before the pink haired girl had even been born things had started going wrong for her. The nine tails attacked Konoha a few months into her mother's pregnancy and her father died valiantly trying to defend the village like so many others. The mother had survived the attack but money wasn't great for them as the entire leaf village needed to rebuild and a large number of the population had been lost. Also, due to her mother's profession, being pregnant didn't help her. However she looked after herself as best she could and delivered a healthy baby and Sakura was ready to start her life with a cry. Before even an hour had passed her mother passed away; the stress of everything and blood loss in the messy childbirth had caused irreversible damage. Sakura's mother's last wish for her was to live a happy life.
The cherry blossom was taken in by her mother's friends, the girls Sakura referred to as nee-chan. The brothel wasn't an ideal place for a child to grow up but the girls did their best and Sakura was happy. She was taught things that you didn't learn in school but were immensely helpful. She could pick a pocket, she could talk her way out of a situation, she was quick on her feet and she could get a sense for someone's personality just by how they felt. Clearly she hadn't known what it meant at the time but she was a natural chakra sensor and the girl could tell a lot about someone by the colour and temperature of someone's chakra.
The pink haired child had been happy for five years. Whilst not being taught how to read or write and there were hardly any children around her age anyway so she didn't have many friends. It didn't matter to her though, Sakura was happy. Then the day came when five men strolled into the building and Sakura was sitting on the stairs, listening in for any gossip that might be speaking when no one was around them.
"Where's cherry," the obvious leader asked. That was a nickname they gave to her due to her hair. It was usually used in affection but Sakura didn't recall these men and was beginning to formulate an idea of what they might want. She stayed as still as she could, praying that her nee-chan wouldn't tell him where she was.
"What do you want with her," the owner of the establishment asked. Her name was Misa and she was the closest thing Sakura had to a mother and she was incredibly grateful to not be sold out. "I sent her to go get something from the shop. Cherry's I think." With this said Sakura almost jumped out of her skin. This was a code they had come up with for Sakura to run away and not go back. The pink haired girl had been told that on her sixth birthday she'd need to leave as some perverted men might want to do 'things' to her. However they had instructed that if those words were spoken she would leave.
Not pondering too long, now scared, Sakura slowly walked upstairs as quietly as she could. Once at the top she ran on her tip toes to her room and closed the door, locking it. Under her bed was a bag with clothes in it, they had prepared for a day like this but Sakura had usually thought it some fun game, something that would never happen. Sakura put a coat on before throwing her bag out the window.
The young girl jumped out of her skin and tried to hurry up, she could worry about Misa later, but she couldn't leave without her fifth birthday present. Her sisters had gotten her a knife, something to protect herself with and she slept with it every night. She grabbed it quickly, she could hear loud voices downstairs and then footprints raced closer and closer to where she was. A knock was on her door and Sakura let out a high scream, she'd never been more terrified in her life than she was right now. She ran to her window and began climbing out of it and this was where she noticed the height. It wouldn't kill her, hell it wouldn't hurt her that much but she hesitated and that was when the door was kicked down.
"Cherry you're coming with me," the man said with a sadistic gleam in his eyes.
Sakura froze for a second before jumping but she'd given enough time for him to cross the room and catch her by her clothes.
The man had a grin on his face but Sakura remembered her fifth birthday present so she took it and slashed at the arm holding her. It was obviously unexpected as he dropped her, her knife cutting his hand. Sakura fell and landed on her feet before rolling through. She picked up her bag and ran, she ran as fast as she could for as long as she could until finally making it to a park. Deciding it would have to do she crawled under a slide and fell asleep, birthday present in hand.
Taking her forehead-protector she wrapped it around her head, allowing her hair to fall to the side, framing her face. The rest of her hair was tied up into a slightly messy bun at the back. Sakura managed to pull off this look well, she'd had it for nearly two years as it was much more practical for her then when she let it down and it got in the way of her at every turn. This led her to thinking back to her past again.
Sakura had been homeless for nearly six months. She hadn't resorted to begging as that would only lead her to have either less then she needed, meaning that she'd go hungry or more than she needed. In the latter case it was likely she'd be robbed and it would waste the added time it took for her to get it. Instead of begging Sakura picked pockets. It was here that Sakura learned her stealth skills; she needed to be quick to accomplish what she would. This was her routine for six months, occasionally she'd have to defend herself and this was where she taught herself to fight. As she was not only smaller than most her age but also fighting against older kids she needed to choose speed above strength. This is where she got her lightning quick speed from and something in her genes made her a natural at fighting.
After six months a concerned parent for one of their children in the playground took Sakura to the Hokages office hoping someone there could help the girl. Sakura had been ready to bolt at any second and when she saw a councilman who scared her come up to her she twisted away from the woman who took her here so her backpack wouldn't be grabbed and ran quicker than anyone there was ready for, unfortunately for Sakura she chose to run into the Hokages office. Before even noticing the old man she had closed the door and locked it hoping that that might help her, obviously not knowing that the majority of the people there were likely shinobi.
"And what caused this intrusion," the Hokage asked with a slightly amused chuckle. Sakura froze at that and turned around, fear wrote across her face.
"'m sorry didn't mean to.'ll be going," Sakura said and got ready to run to the window when the Hokage stopped her.
"Don't worry its fine," the Hokage assured her. "Why don't you sit down and tell me about yourself." Sakura had an unsure look across her face; she decided to use her sensing thing she did to get a feel for the Hokage. Hiruzen felt a spike in her chakra and was surprised and after feeling how his chakra was warm Sakura elected to stay.
"Child what foods do you like," the Hokage asked seeing how small and skinny she was. There was a response but it was so quiet that the Hokage couldn't hear it. "Excuse me I didn't catch that," the Hokage said.
"I'll eat anything," Sakura responded slightly louder, still looking towards her feet.
"Cat would you mind getting some ramen for this girl here and some for me as well please. Ichiraku if you would," the Hokage ordered his ANBU. Sakura thought the old man was being loopy at first, talking to the air but then she felt his chakra a slight moment before he appeared.
"Hai, Hokage-sama," Cat replied before leaving via shunshin.
"WHA- what just happened," Sakura asked, intrigued by what she'd just witnessed.
"That was one of my ninja, it's a skill that you'll likely learn once you've graduated ninja academy," Hiruzen answered before asking another question. "What's your name child?"
"Sakura. How do ya become a ninja," the pink haired girl responded.
"Well Sakura-chan, you need to enter the academy. Your parents could sign off on letting you go," the Hokage said with a smile. He was slightly reminded of talking to Naruto, if not one more intelligent than the blonde prankster.
"I don't have parents," Sakura said slowly in a whisper.
"Ah I'm sorry. Well Sakura-chan would you like to go to the academy, you managed to get into my office before being stopped, that's quite a feat."
"What do I do in the academy," Sakura asked bluntly. Hiruzen found it refreshing to talk to someone without hearing honorifics every other word.
"You learn different sorts of jutsu and eventually become a ninja that goes on missions and protects the village. Would you like that," the Hokage asked her.
"I think so," Sakura replied. She found it easy to talk to the Hokage, as his presence was warm and welcoming. "Is that okay. I've never had anyone offer me anything like that before."
"That's fine Sakura-chan, how old are you?"
"'m five," Sakura responded. "How old are you uh sorry I forgot to ask your name," Sakura said quickly.
"It's fine Sakura-chan. My name is Hiruzen Sarutobi and I'm the Hokage of the leaf village."
"The Hokage is the ninja who protects everyone else in the village, I make sure everything runs properly and to answer your earlier question I'm sixty years old."
"Wow that's pretty old Hokage-jisan."
With that said the Hokage let out a huge laugh, this conversation being as refreshing as when he would talk to Naruto. The cat masked ANBU returned with the Hokages food and gave one to Hiruzen and the other to Sakura.
"Well Sakura-chan go ahead and eat and while we do why don't you tell me about yourself a little bit," the Hokage offered.
"Okay Hokage-jisan. Thank you for the food." With that said the two had a conversation about Sakura and everything that had happened.
After meeting the Hokage he'd helped Sakura out immensely. He gave the girl an apartment, let her enter the academy and gave her a few books so she wouldn't be too far behind everyone else. Sakura continued her way home thinking about how she had graduated Kunoichi of the year. From where she'd started, an orphan born in the wrong half of the village to the best Kunoichi her age gave Sakura confidence that she could go even further. Her dream had been to graduate the academy at the top of her class, because she didn't like looking too far into the future as she knew how easily it could all change.
Arriving at her room Sakura looked at herself in the mirror. She wasn't vain about herself and she didn't show off but she knew that her looks had caused her trouble in the past. Jealous girls had been the bane of her existence in the first year of the academy. For some reason it became a widely considered fact that she was the prettiest girl in their class amongst the boys and once the girls caught sight of this they started bullying her out of jealousy. This did nothing to defer Sakura from her day to day life, but it did encourage her to become stronger. It was in this time Sakura wanted to be Kunoichi of the year and so across all the years she steadily got stronger and stronger. Sakura spent extra time training her katas, reading and consuming knowledge, practising her ninjutsu and increasing her chakra control.
Throughout the years her abilities increased. She caught up to her classmates in areas where their clans had trained them and managed to surpass them. She was better than all of the girls except Hinata at Taijutsu and that was only because she had her family's taijutsu to fall back on. In knowledge Sakura was a level above her class except Shikamaru but he didn't try and so she led the class by a fair bit, Sasuke being second.
Sakura didn't have many friends but she hoped that maybe on her Genin team she would make some. There were a few people who she got on with alright in the academy, namely Hinata and she had an odd relationship with Ino. The blonde was the leader of her group of friends but she stuck up for Sakura when others bullied her so Sakura supposed she would be counted as a friend but they never did anything friends did and Ino was better friends with other people than herself.
Thoughts flooded her mind as she prepared to go to bed, in two days her ninja career would start and she was excited. She was going to have her team and with them she would get to her next milestone, become a Chunin.
What do I want to actually do though? What do I actually want to do though? What do I actually want to do though? What do I actually want to do though?
That was the thought plaguing her mind. She thought back to the bonds she had in life, her closest person was definitely the Hokage, he would visit her every month and the two often had debates about things. The will of fire was something that he drilled into her head, the importance of the village and protecting the village. That was it. Sakura was filled with determination, she had her overarching goal and hopefully it would remain a goal until she died, assuming nothing happened to the village. She would dedicate her life to the leaf, make sure the people were safe and when her time came she would pass on the will of fire to the next generation. Sakura went to bed, a smile on her face as she had a goal.
The last two days Sakura had taken a slight break as a reward for all the hard work she'd put into the academy. She'd gotten dressed into her usual attire; she wore black shinobi sandals, black shorts stopping at her mid-thigh with a kunai holster just underneath the shorts. She had a chainmail undershirt and wore a red jacket over the top; she found it easier to hide her fifth birthday present in a jacket then a dress. Her hair was the same as it had been for two years, two strands coming down the front and capturing the shape of her face and the rest of her hair placed in a stylishly messy bun. She got her ninja ID photo taken and she was happy with how it turned out and she spent one of the days buying new shinobi gear. Her old ones weren't too bad but she figured it'd be worth having new ones anyway, she didn't want her equipment screwing her over in any situation they might find themselves in.
The other day she walked through her old neighbourhood when she'd been young, she hoped to find her old sisters were still there. Looking around there was a slight frown and a slight smile at the familiar yet different atmosphere there. It was still far too poor and Sakura had no wish to come here again but she wouldn't forget her roots, this was a part of what made her who she was and these were people she would protect as a Kunoichi of the leaf.
Walking to where she remembered the establishment to be where she grew up Sakura knocked on the door and to answer was an older, more haggard looking Misa-neechan.
"Cherry… is that you," Misa asked her, struggling to ponder if it was just a girl who looked a lot like Sakura or if it actually was Sakura.
"Hai Nee-chan I thought I'd visit, seeing as I became a genin two days ago," Sakura said, an easy smile forming on her face.
"Everyone Cherry's down here," Misa called up the stairs before walking to Sakura and embracing her in a tight hug, Sakura hugging back just as tightly.
"I missed you Cherry," Misa stated with tears in her eyes.
"I missed you too nee-chan," Sakura said forcing down a sob that looked ready to appear. The rest of that day Sakura talked to the people who raised her, there were a few new people and some had left but there were enough familiar faces that Sakura still felt like it was her childhood home. Sakura had never felt more indebted to someone then Misa who had potentially saved her life the day she escaped. Sakura stayed over that night, in her childhood room tightly hugging her fifth birthday present that'd been with her through thick and thin.
The following day they all had breakfast and a tearful goodbye, they hadn't needed to say it aloud but Sakura wasn't going to be frequenting the brothel and Misa was proud and happy that Sakura had managed to get out their life and make something better of herself then the hand that life had given her. Sakura felt like she'd been able to say goodbye to her past and focus on the future, the new team she'd be given. Heading towards the academy Sakura thought about her dream. Protect the hidden leaf village. Sakura would do so to the best of her abilities.
Arriving at the academy Sakura took her seat and waited for Iruka-sensei to start calling out the teams. Sakura noted that Naruto was walking around with a huge grin and a forehead protector on his head, signifying his ninja status.
"I'm going to call out the ninja teams now," Iruka started and went from 1 to 6 calling out who would be on which team. "Team 7 will consist of Naruto Uzumaki, Sakura Haruno and Sasuke Uchiha." Sakura stopped listening after that, she vaguely recalled the teams that Ino and Hinata were given but didn't pay attention to anyone else. Sakura wanted to laugh slightly at the irony that she'd be put on a team with Naruto and Sasuke. The orphans all lumped together, and Sakura couldn't help but snigger slightly and earn a few sideways looks but nothing more than that. "Okay all of you go have lunch and meet back here where your jonin sensei will pick you up.
Sakura walked out the academy and could see Sasuke walking past she contemplated asking him if he wanted to get food but figured that they would have a long time to become friends, no need to do so now. That was until she heard a voice behind her.
"Hey Sakura-chan seeing as were on the same team and all did you want to eat together," Naruto asked with a tint of hope in his voice.
"Sure Naruto-kun, where did you want to go," Sakura asked the blonde, she may as well figure out more about one of her team mates, besides she didn't want to be rude.
"Um I know this super cool ramen place we could go there," Naruto said with all the excitement the boy had at not being rejected by someone.
"Is it Ichiraku by any chance," Sakura asked, she had fond memories of the place from eating with the Hokage.
"Ah how did ya guess," Naruto questioned but had a smile on his face, he might finally make a proper friend.
"Well it is the best place to get ramen in all of Konoha," Sakura responded with a grin. Talking to Naruto was easier then she thought it would be, despite his occasional verbal tic she could tell they grew up in similar areas thanks to the way they both used similar phrases or said some words slightly differently.
"Isn't that right dattebayo," Naruto grinned. "C'mon lets go quick."
The two of them walked off towards Ichiraku, Naruto taking a similar route to the one she would have taken and she knew they were both thinking about how they both knew the area quite well. They arrived a short while later and were relieved to see they were the only ones there.
"Sakura-chan what did you want," Naruto asked her, trying to be slightly courteous.
"Obviously it has to be Miso ramen," Sakura said with a grin, she loved this place. Not as much as Naruto but once a month she'd be treated here by Hiruzen.
"Teuchi-jiji please can you get us two miso ramen," Naruto asked as politely as he could think.
"Ha ha of course, Naruto-kun, Sakura-chan how are you both doing," Teuchi asked them both as he asked Ayame to make the ramen for them. They conversed for a short while whilst their ramen was being made. Sakura felt she could find a true friend in Naruto, they were more similar then she thought.
"So Naruto-kun how did you become a ninja," Sakura asked and Naruto had a slight grimace on his face. "You don't have to answer if you don't want to."
"No it's fine. Basically…"
"… Wait so Mizuki sensei was actually a traitor," Sakura asked. It'd been an intriguing story and Sakura was impressed how he stole the scroll and he knew more advanced ninjutsu then she did.
"Yeah but I managed to beat him up real good believe it," Naruto said excitedly.
"So you're telling me that you learned an A rank technique in a few hours and managed to beat a Chunin. That's unbelievable," Sakura said in a state of disbelief.
"Hehe I suppose," Naruto stated sheepishly. They'd finished their ramen and got so engrossed in their conversation that they didn't realise they were late.
"Sorry for interrupting you two but do you not have to be at the academy right now," Teuchi asked them.
"AH shit," was the combined response from Sakura and Naruto as they jumped up, looking for money to pay.
"Don't worry about the money its fine, Naruto your story was interesting enough to pay for it anyway. Now you both might want to hurry before you're really late."
"Hai," was another combined response before they ran off towards the academy, taking every short cut they both knew and to Sakura's slight surprise Naruto knew a few more then she did and it meant that they got there only an hour late.
"Well we're screwed," was all Sakura said as Naruto gulped and they walked into the room to find Sasuke sitting there with a stoic expression.
"Sasuke-kun is our sensei not here yet," Sakura asked.
"No," was Sasuke's short reply. Both Sakura and Naruto took a deep breath before sitting down.
"Okay Naruto we need to continue our conversation again, I need details on this," Sakura asked fully invested into how Naruto graduated. Naruto was slightly nervous about spilling information about the Kyubi but he was so happy that someone wanted to talk with him that he decided he'd risk it and so they each continued to talk. Before they knew it an hour and a half had passed.
Kakashi was walking by the classroom, he knew he was late but he didn't really care. He expected to find two people shouting at him and the Uchiha glare at him but he only got one of them. Sasuke gave him a glare but Naruto and Sakura had once again become engrossed in their conversation.
"Wait so do you know where the blunt kunai is," Sakura asked Naruto to which he nodded. "Well past there if you go down towards where the barber is and then turn left at the end of that path. You still with me," Sakura asked trying to explain where Misa's is. They had gotten into talking about their childhoods and found them slightly similar.
"Wait which barber," Naruto asked trying to think where they'd gone from the pub. Kakashi was slightly intrigued by what he was seeing. Looking at Sasuke it appeared the Uchiha had been listening to their conversation but faced away, so as to look like he wasn't listening. Kakashi felt a glimmer of hope as the reports may have been wrong, also he was happy to see his sensei's son might have made a friend.
"Ahem," Kakashi cleared his throat trying to get their attention.
"Okay I'm with you," Naruto told her.
"Alright well past there you wanna go to the back alleys and it's there," Sakura stated.
"We didn't live that far apart, ya know," Naruto said excitedly. "I'm amazed we never ran into each other."
"Yeah it would've been nice to have a friend then but like I said I moved when I was five," Sakura responded to him. She'd really enjoyed their conversations; Naruto was a whole lot of fun to talk to if you got to know him.
"Team 7 my first impression of you is that you're ignorant. Meet me on the roof in five minutes," Kakashi told them before escaping via shunshin.
"Alright let's go Naruto, Sasuke."
Five minutes later all of them were on the roof top where their sensei was waiting for them.
"Okay now that we're all here why don't we all introduce ourselves," Kakashi started.
"How should we do that Sensei," Sakura asked.
"Talk about your likes, dislikes, hobbies and dreams, those sorts of things," Kakashi answered.
"Um can you go first Sensei and give us an idea of what we should do," Sakura questioned Kakashi.
"Me? Well my name is Kakashi Hatake. I have likes and dislikes, I have a few hobbies. As for my dream well I don't feel like sharing it."
Well that wasn't helpful at all.
"Who wants to go next," Kakashi asked the group.
"I'll go next," Naruto stated excitedly. "My name's Naruto Uzumaki. I like instant ramen but what I like even more than that is the ramen at Ichiraku and I dislike waiting for three minutes for my instant ramen," Naruto started before stopping for a noticeable amount of time. "I suppose I enjoy talking to Sakura-chan as well," Naruto said in a far more serious voice. "My hobby is…" Naruto stopped to think but came up empty handed. He didn't know what his hobby was. Ramen tasting he supposed. "My dream is to become Hokage and have the village acknowledge me," Naruto finished with the determination he started with.
Sakura felt a frown, was the preconception everyone had of Naruto well off. She knew there was more to him that met the eye but he'd sounded completely different in the middle part of his introduction to himself. Far more honest. It seemed she wasn't the only one who picked up on it as Sasuke seemed to be more focused than usual, lost in thought and Kakashi had a similar expression on his face.
"Okay good. You go next pinkie," Kakashi stated to them.
"My names Sakura Haruno; I enjoy training and proving I'm better than the girls in the academy said I was. I like people who are loyal; I dislike those who look down on others for their roots. My dream is to become strong enough to protect the village and pass on the will of fire to the next generation. Short term I suppose I want to become a Chunin," Sakura added that last part as an afterthought.
"Interesting," Kakashi said out loud as if he was so shocked by what he just heard that he was still processing it. "It sounds an awful lot like the Hokage," Kakashi inquired as he was interested by what the girl said. She had a similar mentality to protecting team mates and Kakashi was suddenly feeling like this team truly could pass.
"I suppose it would. Hokage-jisan told me of the will of fire after all but I don't want the hat, I think it's more important that people hold it then just one person," Sakura stated.
"Sakura-chan you can be my right hand when I get the hat," Naruto said with 100% conviction.
"Of course Naruto-kun," Sakura said with a grin.
"Interesting," Kakashi repeated once again. "Broody you can go next," Kakashi pointed to the last one.
"My name is Sasuke Uchiha. I have mostly no likes and I dislike most things. I don't want to sum up my ambition as a dream because I will make it reality. I aim to kill a certain man," Sasuke stated. He saw everyone looking at him expecting more and Sasuke supposed he might as well. "Also I will restore the Uchiha clan to its former glory."
"Ah that reminds me," Sakura started up. "Naruto-kun were you going to restore your own clan," Sakura started up.
"My own clan," Naruto questioned. He knew nothing about having a clan.
"Yeah the Uzumaki clan, they were destroyed by Kiri, Iwa and Kumo but since your still around you could bring them back," Sakura stated.
"WHAT I HAVE A CLAN! I'll definitely restore them then," Naruto said.
"Okay everyone before we get ahead of ourselves we've got our first mission," Kakashi paused for dramatic affect. "Survival training."
Okay so this is my first story. I apologise for some errors that I might have missed when I checked over it. It'd be really helpful to me if some of you could review it and tell me whether you enjoyed it or not. I've got a few chapters in advance but don't want to go too far ahead. I wanted an opinion on something.
Should I have:
A: Sasuke goes bad.
B: Naruto goes bad.
C: Sakura goes bad.
D: None of them go bad.
It wouldn't happen for a while but I've read a lot of Sasuke going bad (since that's canon) and was wondering if people wanted a change. On the other hand that was my initial plan so it really depends on what reviews I get.
Thanks for reading and please tell me what you thought.