Six-year-old Uzumaki Naruto let out a pitiful whimper as the cold December air bit into his small malnourished body. He tilted the ratty cardboard sheet towards the direction of the wind in a hopeless attempt to fight off the chill. Wearing nothing but a pair of long grey second-hand pants and what may have once been a white shirt but now looked more like rags made of pure mud, he was ill-prepared for such weather. Ever since the orphanage had been struck by lightning and subsequently burned down almost three months ago, the blond child had been living on the streets, keeping himself alive by eating whatever scraps he managed to acquire before other gutter rats managed to snatch it up. He curled into himself as tightly as possible, tucking himself as deep as he could into the dark alley preparing once again for a long night of waking up to chattering teeth and painfully numb limbs. As he slowly fell into the dark peaceful embrace of sleep, he never heard the joyful yells of children as they played games (which he had never been able to partake in) and ran amock, nor did he hear the (poorly) muffled giggles and light footfalls approaching the alley.
Little Haruno Sakura lived an average, yet happy life. Her mother, Mebuki, was an instructor at one of the few prestigious civilian academies and her father Kizashi (who-at one point in his life- had been a Genin, yet retired when his precious daughter was born) was the owner of a quaint clothing store in the merchant sector of Konoha. She had never been in need of anything in life as, while not exceedingly rich, her family was fairly wealthy. She was an innocent, if not a little shy, girl. Some would say she lived in her own perfect little world!
So when she came upon a small blond boy hiding behind a cardboard sheet in a fairly dark and decrepit alley, she could hardly be blamed for thinking that he was just playing a very high-stakes game of hide-and-seek. As little Sakura approached the boy, she began to notice his raggedy clothes (which could hardly be classified as such) and the dirt and soot which covered almost the entirety of his body.
She began to notice the small seemingly inconsequential items littered around the alley, a water bottle here, a little bag there, a broken rusty kunai next to it. These items were far from uncommon in an alleyway, more often than not they were littered with such miscellaneous items. Most children would notice the items and then forget about them just as quick. But little Sakura was extremely intelligent for her age, and she began to connect the items with the little boy curled up in the back of the alley. It began to dawn on her that the small, sickly-looking boy was not, in fact, playing a game of hide and seek, and this alley was not a convenient hiding spot; it was his home. And so upon this realization, little innocent Haruno Sakura took her first step towards exiting out of her perfect little world.
Naruto was experiencing a terrible nightmare. He did not see any monsters- no- in fact, he barely saw anything but a red haze and a silhouette of a woman above him( behind which seemed to stand a man). He did not hear horrifying screams of the dead or the horrid sounds of creatures that went bump in the night, no he heard a soothing, if not faint, voice. This would have been nothing but an unexceptional (if slightly strange) dream were it not for the terrible, horrid feelings of pure loss and despair ,combined almost impossibly with joy that made him feel like he was going to erupt in loud whoops and yells, that made him want to hurl up whatever tiny portions of food he had managed to scrape by with. So strong were these emotions that the young blond wanted to desperately return to the ruthless cold and the aching ribs, and the painfully empty stomach in the real world so it was with relief that Naruto witnessed the horrid scene slip away into a black void and he felt his conscious begin to stir. When Uzumaki Naruto next awoke it was not, as he had predicted, to the biting cold of the winter gales but to a tiny hand shaking him awake.
When the boy's eyes snapped open, Sakura gave a startled yelp. She quickly scrambled back to a safe distance. When she finally took note of the eyes whose sudden alertness had scared her so, she was startled yet again- this time in awe. She gazed upon the most beautiful set of eyes she had ever seen. Against the backdrop of the boy's dirty ashen face (which looked like he had come from working straight from a coal mine she noted offhandedly), those cerulean orbs seemed to glow almost unnaturally. Looking closer, she saw that there were tiny specs of gold pigmentation in his eyes making it seem as if there were small rays of the sun coming out of his pupil. Those eyes were so unnaturally alluring, glowed with such intensity, that they belonged on an angel of Kami-sama herself. So caught up on his eyes was she that she did not notice when he had stood up and was almost nose-to-nose with her.
When Naruto opened his eyes, his sight was obscured by bright light pink. As he became more and more aware, he realized that said pink obstruction was a curtain of hair, bright and silky and pink hair. As the owner of said (pink) hair quickly scrambled back, Naruto began to observe more of her. She seemed young-around his age if he were to guess- and had fair skin. Her eyes were a bright emerald color. She wore what a simple forest green shirt over which was a bright white winter coat and on her bottom half she wore a pair of thick tan pants that were tucked into a pair of brown leather boots. On her hands, she wore fluffy pink mittens and there was what appeared to be pink earmuffs covering her ears. All in all, Naruto decided, she looked like the typical merchant's daughter.
"Hi! I'm Naruto!" He introduced himself exuberantly as scrambled close to the stunned girl.
Sakura, taken aback by his sudden proximity and burst of energy, receded into her coat and tried to make herself as small as possible. " 'M Sakura", she said shyly.
"Do you wanna be my friend?", his exuberance persisted
" 'Kay" she replied, this time with much more confidence, his exuberance seemingly contagious.
And like that, the lonely young Uzumaki Naruto made his first-ever friend, and little innocent Haruno Sakura made her first friend that did not live in a perfect world. Just like that a bond was made, a bond that currently was almost non-existent, yet one that would grow so strong that nothing could break it, perhaps not even death itself, and the fate of four people changed forever.