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The Smile of a Sad Soul

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A boisterous blonde teenager skipped joyfully down the crowded hallways of the pristine Konoha High School, a bright smile on his face. He was casually dressed in an orange band t-shirt, covered partly by the fading, navy blue, zip-up hoodie he wore over the top it. His worn blue jeans had faded to a cool greyish color and had a small tear in the right knee. They were still too big for his slim figure so he was forced to fold the ends upwards twice every morning so he wouldn’t trip. His white converse had a slight rip where his big toe would be on his left foot. Dirt caked at the soles, and the once nice fabric had been long since frayed. His ear length hair spiked up enough that you could see his entire forehead except for one single strand of hair that always misbehaved and rested in a tight curl.

 

Overall, when people looked at him they would smile and shake their head, he was always so happy, but his family had so little money. He would wear many variations of that outfit every day and has been doing so since the day he turned six years old. His father, Minato Namikaze who he held a strong resemblance to, had died of a sudden heart attack when Naruto was still quite young. His once energetic mom had raised him for three painful years of debt and two jobs until he was nine. But just before he had turned ten, his mom decided that she just couldn’t afford to be a single mom anymore.

 

That was when Naruto’s already desperately sad life took a dark turn. Almost exactly a month before he would have turned ten, his mom entered Naruto into the foster care system and left, without looking back. As far as everyone else in the world knew, Naruto had been living happily with a new family for three years now. But, unfortunately, Naruto was not so lucky.

 

Shortly after, he was left at his first family home. A family home was a place where foster children who had not yet been accepted into a real household stayed until they found a suitable family. In that home, Naruto discovered how harsh the world could be. He sat for six months after his abrupt abandonment and watched as other children came and went. Some came back a few months or short weeks later. But some, some would never come back.

 

Adopted.

 

That was something Naruto had been dreaming of since the day he had been placed in the system. In fact, that was every foster child's dream, but unlike Naruto, they usually achieved their dreams... He had made a friend at the home, three months after he had arrived. Gaara.

 

Gaara was a lonely boy. His parents had physically and verbally abused him when he was younger but had luckily been saved by a neighbor who had suspicions about the family. He had short red hair and blue eyes. He had a naturally pale complexion, and rather unnaturally pale eyebrows, which gave of the allusion that he had none. What was most striking about his appearance was the red birthmark on the corner of his forehead. When Naruto first approached him, the boy gave him the cold shoulder. But after a week of one-sided conversations, the two became close friends.

 

They stayed the closest they could’ve possibly been for the rest of the year. But it seemed everything good in Naruto’s life left eventually. Because one day Naruto was stopped in the hallway on the way from his bedroom by an ecstatic Gaara. That day he had been informed that a family was going to be picking the red-headed boy up and taking him away the following morning. To say Naruto was shocked was an understatement none the least.

 

Naruto had hardly been able to get in a goodbye the next morning, as Gaara rushed over to his new ‘family’ not even sparing Naruto a single glance. And then he had left. Things were fine for the first month, Gaara and Naruto exchanged letters, and wrote emails. Unexpectedly, and seemingly out of the blue all of it stopped. No more letters from Gaara and every letter Naruto sent was sent back unopened the following week. Naruto had no idea what had gone wrong until he had overheard the news that Gaara had been adopted.

 

Naruto learned two things that day.

 

That was the day Naruto realized that life was unfair. And he knew from that moment on that he would never be adopted. Who could love an ugly brat like him?

 

He also learned to never make friends with anybody in the system again. If life was so unfair, then all people close to him would leave him eventually.

 

For two years Naruto continued to watch people come and go. He had felt so alone in the world, like a  small fish lost in the middle of the deep and dark ocean. On his thirteenth birthday, he realized life might not be as unfair as it seemed. For two days later, he received notice that a family would be coming to pick him up.

 

He had once believed that he would be adopted by his new so-called family. He had also once believed that was possible for him to be loved. But when that family came and greeted him. He knew. He KNEW. That if he was going to be cared for by anyone it wasn’t going to be this family.

 

When he came face to face with those fake smiles and came to understand the pretense that surrounded their laughter, he realized that he hated life.But he always kept up the smiles. If his family could be fake, then so could he.

 

At least that’s what he told himself.