Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, just the plot.

AN: Welcome to The Cards You Draw. I hope everyone enjoys this story. Please let me know what everyone thinks of it. This first chapter is an introduction to some of the key character's though I'm sure most of you readers know who they are. It also gives you some background history I have created for this story. I know Itachi isn't in it now but he will be a big part of it later. Read and enjoy!!

Another first day at Kahona High School, and man do I hate this place. Not just this school either but this whole town. Granted it's not all bad, I have two really great friends. The three of us have been friends ever sense we meet in the orphanage. You see my parents both died when I was young. Apparently my mom died from complications during my birth. She started bleeding out and there wasn't anything the doctors could do about it. Two years later my dad died in this tragic train collision that killed 164 people. Someone forgot to inform the conductor that one of the tracks was shut down for an hour for maintenance on the tracks and the train was supposed to be delayed. All because some guy didn't make a single phone call many lives were destroyed and lost. I know that because I found the article in the Kahona Public Library where they keep copies of old news articles when I was eight years old. So at two years of age I was brought to this dump of a place that was underfunded and run by this strict couple and their relatives, you know one of those family owned places. To tell you in all honestly they just like that big check they get from the government every month. They only spend enough money on the orphanage to keep the place up to date on the health codes, which is why this place is so run down.

When I was three a red headed boy named Garra was left on the door step to the orphanage with only the clothes on his back and a raggedy brown teddy bear. His first month was really hard on him. He scared all the other kids and even some of the adults that worked here. He was always really quiet and didn't have anything to do with the other kids. I remember being curious about this boy but he seemed to want to be left alone, so I left him that way. I mean it's not like I tried to make a lot of friends either. That worked for the two of us until some of the older kids, older being five year olds, started picking on him for just being left on the doorstep like some old useless forgotten newspaper. They didn't just call names they started pushing and hitting him. He tried to fight back but when your half the size of three guys that are bulling you, well the odds are against you. I just couldn't sit there and watch like all the other little kids so I went over there and did something about it. Now I would like to say that I was able to help turned the tides, but as it turned out they just started to beat me up as well. Garra and I weren't instant friends but we tolerated each other and after time we became friends, but there were plenty of bumps on the way.

Garra and I were six years old when the new boy came. He would cry every night, which pretty much made all the other kids dislike him right away, because no one likes a cry baby. After the nightly crying had been going on for the last week Garra, who doesn't sleep anyway, woke me up and we quietly made our way over to the new boy's bunk. We, well I talked to him and got him to calm down, Garra doesn't do a lot of talking especially to people he doesn't know. We found out the the new kid was six like we were and that his name was Haku. Apparently his father had tried to kill him but ended up killing his mother. In his grief at killing his beloved wife he took his own life. From that point on the three of us were always together.

There were times when one of us would go to a foster home, but nothing really lasted. Growing up in an orphanage and going from foster home from foster home was hard and none of us got much of a childhood. School was especially had because no one really wants to be friends with the kids who were second hand clothes that are worn out and stained. That is how I became known for my ridiculous orange sweat suite. Got to love Good Will right? Despite all the teasing and harassment we got we always knew that we had each other to lean on. As we grew older we got jobs and were able to get clothes that actually fit us both physically and style wise. Haku always who loves acting said himself to be a method actor, so neither Garra or myself knew what he would look like when he came down for breakfast. His looks could range from punk rocker to cross dresser. His style always made life interesting. Garra on the other hand loved black. Enough said. As long as he was wearing mostly all black he was fine with what ever types of clothes he wore, but he still refuses to wear this little black dress the Haku keeps trying to put him into. I myself like blue granted I don't wear it all the time like Garra and black but it is one of my favorite colors. I've also grown fond of baggy clothes. They make me feel safer like I can just get lost and hide in all the fabric.

I really wished it was still summer break where I worked as a life guard at the pool. I love being out in the sun all day, which is probably why my skin is so tan. If I could I would spend the rest of my life in the sun, but no I have to be stuck in class with a bunch of other kids my age who get their only entertainment picking on my friends and me. Life guarding wasn't my only job. I also worked at this great coffee house with Garra and Haku. It's one of the great little places that is tucked in between the tall city buildings and luxury apartments. The place has an urban feel to it's interior design and they display local artist's work and every Saturday night they have poetry readings, local bands and other events.

"Hey Naruto stop day dreaming and lets get going before we're late to classes," Garra's monotone voice broke my train of thought. Haku wraps his arm around my shoulder giving me one of his bright smiles before turning to wave at his boyfriend Zabuza who had given us a ride to school this morning. "I wasn't kidding guys we really need to get going."

"Oh come on Garra we've got like fifteen minutes," Haku's voice chimed while pulling me forward to follow after Garra.

"Yeah but remember last year it took Ru forever just to figure out how to work the lock on his locker."

"Hey that's not fair! It was on the locker backwards so I had to flip it upside down which made everything backwards," I yelled as my two best friends laughed at my expense. We made out way in the doors before separating to get to our lockers.

Five minutes before class Garra and Haku came to my locker where I had just gotten the lock undone. I really hate these things, I never know which way to turn the knob.

"Naruto hurry up so that we can get to English. You know how Iruka sensei can be when people are late. Do you really want to wear that lame hat on the first day of school again?" Haku chuckled at Garra's comment about the hat. Iruka sensei was well known for his strange punishments like the over sized green top hat he made people wear when they were late for class.

"Yeah let's get going, I really don't ever want to wear that stupid green hat again," I laughed along with my friends. As we headed off to our first class of Junior year.

The first day of classes were always easy and boring, all the teachers go over class syllabus and rules for the class. The three of us all have AP English first period, then the next three we are all in separate classes. My day consists of AP English, 20th Century American History, Drawing III, Statistics, then I meet up with my friends at lunch. After that I've got Biology II, gym, and saving the best for last Art Independent Study. There is nothing I love more then art. Give me any medium and I can make something amazing out of it, at least I think so, and so does my teacher Kakashi sensei. Art teachers seem to have the universal laid back easing going with amazing talent thing going for them, but Kakashi sensei takes the laid back easing going thing to the next level and beyond. A common misconception with me is that I'm smart, but because I have a joking attitude most the school thinks that I'm this really stupid guy who doesn't know even the most obvious things. But that's fine by me. I take my school seriously because I actually want to go some where in my life. The moment I turn 18 I'm leaving the orphanage and I'm going to make my life better. It's something that the three of us promised each other. We would work hard at school then get out to the real world and make something of ourselves.

Haku's school day starts with English like the rest of us then he goes on to Chemistry II, Psychology, government, then lunch with Garra and myself. After that he goes to Music Theory II, gym, then drama. Garra has English, Trigonometry, Ceramics II, Government, lunch, Creative writing, gym, Advanced Writing. Haku has always loved music and drama, which is one of the reasons that his dressing style is very unique. No one ever really knows what he's going to look like, but today he's dressed in a tribal print t-shirt with chocolate colored cut off shorts. Garra on the other hand looks the same almost every day. Mostly black clothes with a single accent color which is red a lot of the time. Black eyeliner is something I haven't seen him with out sense he was 8 in an attempt to hide the permanent bags under his eyes.

At lunch the three of us meet up. Haku and Garra are seated at the table that we claimed for ourselves freshmen year. To bad I wasn't able to make it there.

"Hey Dobe watch where your going!" The next thing I knew I was on my butt covered in my own lunch, laughing rose throughout the lunch room. I stand up wiping food off my clothes when Sasuke Uchiha, my own personal nightmare, mockingly shouts for the benefit of his audience, "You missed a spot Uzumaki. Oh wait that's just your face."

My hand raised to one of my cheeks where three parallel scars lined my cheeks, a gift from one of my not so great foster fathers. As the laughing grew louder I just picked up what could be salvaged of my ruined lunch and made my way over to my friends. "I really hate that guy, just because his daddy in head of the police department he thinks he has the right to pick on all the little people. He thinks he's some big hero, oh and I can't for get God's gift to all women." I say taking my seat across form Garra.

"He's just a jerk that gets his jollys by picking on people, but maybe if you would just stand up for yourself he would stop," Garra stated.

" You know Ru he's got a point. You always just let him say a do what ever he wants," Haku commented.

"Yeah so I talk back to him and then what. He'll kick my ass. You know as well as I do that his dad has had him in karate and what not sense he was like six. Next thing you know I'll be collapsed in the locker room with broken ribs or something. I think I'll suffer though verbal harassment and getting tripped and stuff like that." I say reasoning with my friends. "So how's everyone's classes been going so far?"

"You know the first day is always boring," Haku replied and Garra nodded in agreement.

"Yeah that's true. Man I really hate the first day of school and now I'm covered in food," I say as I unzip my sleeveless hoody so I wouldn't have to wear my lunch with me to my next classes. "So Haku your going out with Zabuza tonight right?"

"Yeah, and don't jump to conclusions we're just hanging out."

"Yeah right, Garra and I both know that Zabuza can't keep his hands to himself," I teased.

"Hey I'll have you know he's a real gentlemen when he's with me... he just tends to be a little over protective," he smiles shyly.

"LITTLE over protective my ass, he threw Ru up against the wall the first time we meet him because Ru put his arm around your shoulder." Garra said. Haku and Zabuza had been dating for a month before he finally decided to let us meet him. The two of them had meet earlier this summer.

Flashback Haku POV

"Oh Mondays, they have to be the worst day of the week. Why do I always have to be the only person here on the Monday night shift. I mean I know it's not busy, heck there is no one here at all, and I doubt that anyone else will be coming in tonight. I mean it's not like this is a big hang out spot for the college students or anything... it's a little to far away for that." This is how my Monday shifts always go. After eight this place gets pretty dead so I call Ru or Garra to talk, more like complain about how much I dislike the Monday shift. "Yeah I know so what's up on your end?"

While I was listening to Naruto talk about all the little kids at the orphanage someone came in the door. "Go a head and sit down where ever you want I'll be right with you," I called over my shoulder to the person who had come in the door. "Hey Naruto someone just came in so I'll see you when I get back. Bye."

Sighing deeply I turned to survey the room of the coffee house I worked at. Sitting in one of the booth tables in the back sat the man who had come in. All I could see was his short black messy hair and broad shoulders. Walking over to his booth I could see the pile of books on the table where the man was typing a way at his laptop.

"Hello there, I'm Haku would you like a menu to look a-"

"You don't have to give me the whole schpeal kid. Just give me some coffee and make sure it's hot," the guy said without even looking up from the glowing screen. Shaking my head I went to get his coffee. I can't help but thinking that this guy could have been a little nicer. I mean how rude is it to completely ignore someone. First there was the interrupting me while I was talking, then he couldn't even look at me. I set his coffee down on the edge of the table walked back behind the counter to grab my book, The Virgin Suicides. It's a pretty interesting book about these five sisters who all commit suicide in the same year, and it's all from their neighbor boy's point of view.

"That book is really lame," the customer's voice rose up out of the blue, "they don't even explain why they all went and killed themselves. If you want a good book to read you should try, The Reader. It's about a doctor form the concentrations camps and her affair with a 15 year old boy. It's actually required reading in Germany." The man had walked up to the counter with an empty mug and a book in hand. "My name is Zabuza by the way." He held out the mug which I refilled.

"Does it really not explain why they commit suicide?" I ask to keep the conversation going while I study him.

"Nope, they just leave you hanging. I really hate books like that. There was this other book that ended that way and it was..." He continued talking, he was very tall, probably around 6'5" and very well built with large calloused hands that have probably seen a lot of hard work. Zabuza had a strong angular face with deep black eyes but what really caught my attention was his deep voice. We talked for the rest of the night and he even walked me to the bus stop and waited with me. I'd found that he had just finished his first year Kahona University. He was 20 years old a majoring in computer programing. We both had similar taste in books and music. He was really nice to me and made me laugh.

After that night Zabuza showed up at the coffee house every night and by next Monday he'd asked me out on a date. I guess I don't mind working the Monday night shifts so much any more.

End Flash Back

"But seriously guy's all we're doing is hanging out, besides he's probably got homework to work on, after all he started school last week," Haku explained. The bell rang signaling that there was five minutes to the next class. We all went our separate ways I had Bio. II next. I take my seat in the back by the window, like I try to do in all my classes. Students filed into the room and started fill up the empty seats. Just before the bell rang guess who just happened to walk in. Sasuke and the other popular pains in my ass. I tried to sink into my seat hoping he wouldn't notice I was in this class, but he must have some kind of Naruto radar, because he look right at me before a smirk took over his face. Striding over to me he takes the seat next to me.

"So Dobe it looks like we have a class together, brings back old memories doesn't it?" he mocked as the rest of his flunkies took their seats.

The old memories he's talking about happened freshmen year when him and his family first moved to Kahona. The first day of school we had Algebra together, which I'm terrible at. What can I say numbers hate me. Anyway he sat down in the seat next to me and we just started talking. Things just seemed to click. We met up at lunch and I introduced him to Garra and Haku. Haku liked him right away, but Garra was slow to trust people and in this case he was right to do so. The majority of that first year Sasuke fit himself into our little group. We would all sit together in class and at lunch then we'd all hang out after school. Towards the end of the year however Sasuke started hanging out with all these other kids. At first he would ask us to join him and we did until we found out what types of parties they were. There was drinking and smoking and even some harder drugs. That was a scene the three of us were not interested in. After a while we just drifted apart. Sasuke had his new friends and it was just back to the three of us again. We were used to people coming into our lives then leaving with no explanation. There was no hard feelings until the last week of school, that's when everything changed, all thanks to Sasuke.

Flash Back Naruto POV

Sasuke and I were lab partners in our science class, even though we weren't really friends anymore. The weather was great, it was sunny and warm and perfect. My ideal day. Anyway Orochimaru sensei was telling us about our experiment for the day, but I was to focused on the sun shining through the window thinking of what I was going to do after this class. Garra, Haku and I were going to this new art exhibit. Once the creepy teacher had finished his lecture all the students started getting out supplies to conduct the experiment. I felt a tap on my shoulder and I turned to come face to face with Sasuke.

"Hey can you meet me in the locker room ten minutes after classes are over?" Sasuke whispered to me. I failed to notice his nod to his new friends as a replied that I would meet him there.

Once class was over I headed to my locker and packed up my book bag before telling Garra and Haku that I would meet them by the bus stop in about fifteen minutes. They waved me off before I made my way to the boys locker room.

"Sasuke?" I called into the deserted room, "You in here?"

"Yeah I'm back by the showers," Sasuke's voice called back. I made my way to the back of the room. "What didn't you want to talk-"

I was grabbed from behind and got my arms twisted behind my back. "What's going on?" I tried not to cry out from the painful position my arms had been forced into.

"Oh don't worry Naruto I'll be taking good care of you" Sasuke stepped out from behind a locker with a roll of gray duck tape. He ripped a piece off as I tried to break the hold someone had on my arms. "We can't have you making a lot of noise so this should do the trick of shutting you up." Laughing, Sasuke smacked to tape over my mouth. " All right guys let's get him in the car so we can take him to to park and finish this," Sasuke called out and two more guys came in the back door to the looker room that lead outside. They picked me up and carried my struggling form out to a blue mini van where they then threw me in the back and into someone else's arms. The guy in the van tied my wrists behind my back before moving on to my legs while Sasuke and they three guys that carried me out here climbed in the vehicle before it drove away.

The park was deserted when they drove up to a giant tree at it's center. They pulled me out of the back and dragged me over to the tree. I tried screaming through the tape covering my mouth until a fist struck me square in the jaw leaving me disoriented. They tore my clothes form my body and what the couldn't tear the cut a way with a knife someone had brought. The sound of duck tape being pulled from the roll filled my ears as they started taping my whole body to the tree. The six guys laughed and made crude comments while completing their task. Once they were done they took pictures and Sasuke came up to me to whisper in my ear.

"If you ever tell anyone who did this to you I will make sure that you will pay for it. My father runs the police department so it's your word against mine. No one is going to believe a stupid little orphan like you over the son of the police department." Laughing once more in my ear he tied a piece of fabric around my eyes. I heard them walk away as tears streamed down my cheeks. The van doors closed, the engine roared to live as they drove away leaving me there duck taped naked to a tree.

I don't know how much time passed before I was found by Garra and Haku. They had gone looking for me when I didn't meet at the bus stop and found my book bag in the locker room. They said they had searched the entire school before they started looking around town. Carefully as they could removed the tape from my body but that didn't stop hair and skin being torn away with the tape. The worst part came when they removed the tape away from my genitals.

For the rest of the week Haku and Garra were with me as much as they could be making sure that nothing could happen to me again, well physically anyway. Pictures of my incident were passed throughout the school without the teachers catching on. I'd told Garra and Haku everything on the condition that they wouldn't do or say anything about it. They grudgingly agreed.

The next year no one hated Sasuke Uchiha more then myself and my only two friends.

End Flash Back

I didn't give Sasuke's comment any answer, instead I just turned to face the teacher as they started their lecture. When the bell rang dismissing the class I was the first one out of the room. I got to the locker room and changed into my clothes as fast as I could and got out of there. I don't like being in this place. One too many bad memories. I made my way to the gym and took a seat on the bleachers to wait for Garra and Haku. They came in a while later with worried looks on their faces.

"What's wrong?" I ask as they take their seats on either side of me.

" Sasuke's in this class," Garra states.

"NO! I just got away from him, how could he possibility be in this class with me too," I groaned.

"Well at least you have us here now," the ever positive Haku chimed in.

"Yeah I guess."

Just then Sasuke walks in along with three of his friends. Kabuto, a senior with silver gray hair and glasses. He's very intelligent however, he's scary creepy and one guy you hope never to cross paths with. Suigetsu a guy with pale blond hair and gets a kick out shaping his teeth to a point, now he's a real creeper. The last is Sasuke's current girl friend Karin. She's a red head with black rimmed glasses and she can be just as scary as the rest of them.

"Alright my wonderful youthful students. Who here is ready for a new year of learning and gym classes where you can exercise your bodies as well as your minds," The over enthusiastic gym teacher yelled. He went over his rules for the class before taking us outside and having us run laps around the field. It's just like Gai sensei to make us actually do something on the first day of class. Sasuke and his friends kept trying to trip me but Garra was quick to put a stopper in those plans. He may not be as skilled a fighter as Sasuke, but he makes up for it in viscousness.

After the run we were able to be dismissed. The three of us hung back for a bit waiting for the locker room to clear out. When we went to go changed it was practically empty. Thank the lord Sasuke and his friends weren't in the room any more after all you never know what he's going to do. We changed quickly before heading to our last class of the day.

I walked into my favorite place in the entire school and sat in my usual seat. Kakashi wasn't here yet but that was understandable considering who we were dealing with. For my drawing III class during third period he was fifteen minutes late. Sure enough twenty minutes after the bell rang Kakashi comes into the class room with some lame excuse about how his pen fell down the stairs and how he couldn't just leave a great pen like it behind for someone to pick up or trip on.

"Did you even hear what you just said," I questioned after hearing another one of his lame excuses, it wasn't even that interesting or entertaining.

"No, I wasn't listening," he said with what I knew to be a smile on his face despite the ever present scarf that covered the lower half of his face. "Alright well class welcome to painting I, I am Kakashi and I'll be your teacher. This guy here," he says pointing to me, "is Naruto and he is here for an independent study so don't be surprised when he's not working on the same projects as all of you." He passed out a list of rules for the class and a syllabus before asking all freshmen to raise their hands. A couple of kids raised their hands and sported confused expressions. "I just wanted to give you all a heads up. I don't like freshmen," Kakashi plainly stated and I watched as the freshman's faces washed over with a look of panic.

'So much for that easy A their hoping for,' I thought. The bell rang five minutes later and the freshmen were the first ones out the door much to my amusement. I remember being one of those kids a couple of years ago, but I survived so I'm sure that they will too.

I met up with Garra and Haku by the entrance were we then walked to the bus stop. My bus came first. I had to get to work at 3:30, while the other two had to go back to the home to help all the little kids with their homework. Haku really likes helping out, he's really great with kids, Garra on the other hand can't stand them, but he helps out anyway.

One thing I like about the public bus system is that there are all kinds of people who take the bus. On of my favorite past times is people watching. I know it may seem a little creeperish but I just like watching how people interact with other people. Today there is this guy who's so tuned into his music he doesn't even notice this hot girl take a seat next to him until slams into him on a particularly sudden stop. The moment he looks at her his head phones are off and she has his full attention. A little bit away is this mother with her little girl who is complaining about the little pink dress with flowers all over it. Apparently she wanted to wear the green dress with the dinosaurs. I chuckled a little at that one.

I got off at my stop and walked the three blocks to the coffee house I worked at. Haku would be here in four hours, so for now it was just me and Ino. Ino's a freshmen in college studying fashion design. She was dating the genius who, according to Ino has no ambition and would rather spend all his time staring at clouds. I liked working with Ino she had a great sense of humor she made the time fly by. Before I knew it it was 7:30. Zabuza had sat down in his usual seat waiting for Haku to come in. Sure enough Haku came bursting through the door to the nearly empty coffee house with a big smile on his face. He walked right over to Zabuza and gave him a quick peck on the lips. When he turned to leave he gave a little jump and smacked Zabuza on the shoulder and whisper something into his ear. Making his was behind the counter to put on his apron that was required to be worn at work, while I was punching out.

"What was that little jump about over there? Pinched nerve?" I asked while trying, and failing, to withhold a laugh.

" Well it was certainly a pinch and I took a lot of nerve to do it," he said glancing over at his boyfriend. We laughed together before I said good bye and made for the bus to catch a ride home, and so went the first day back to school. Only 359 days of school at Kahona Hight left and I'd be home free.

AN: Hope you all enjoyed the first chapter. Please review and let me know what you thought. I'm always open for suggestions.