Chapter 1: Retrospection

Perhaps she had always been a healer from the start.

Even during her years of constant scrutiny by those who called her 'big forehead,' she had never resorted to violent tactics.

After all, Ino was the faithful one behind those aggressive antics.

"You annoying little freaks! Leave Sakura alone!"

Fighting was something that never came easily to her.

Physical force was somewhat foreign and torture was out of the question. However, punching the daylights out of Naruto as many times as she liked was something that came naturally.

"Sakura-chan! Just hit the enemies like you do to me!"

A stupid advice from a stupid friend she supposed.

But no matter how stupid her best friend may be, he would never amount to her standards even if he used all of his ramen loving life.

Wasn't she the foolish one who waited 3 years for the traitor?

"A cherry blossom fades only during winter Sakura-san. You on the other hand have been denying spring the pleasure of admiring your youthfulness and beauty!"

As usual Lee-san managed to transform such a thoughtful sentence into a dramatic act that always sent her in a fit of giggles. Perhaps that was his intentions from the beginning? Nonetheless, his optimistic way of viewing the world had managed to change her cold winter to the season of spring, full of warmth and immense number of possibilities in store for her.

It appeared that youth did indeed prevail in the end.

"I admire you for your inner strength Sakura-chan. You always seem to have more room to develop every day."

Hinata-chan's warm green tea always soothed her down after her long hours of training and studying.

The day she had become the apprentice of the Hokage, her pride doubled after hearing the gentle words of the Hyuuga heiress.

Not to mention, the tea cookies that the Hyuuga household provided was absolutely high-quality, top notch stuff.

"You're getting too troublesome woman. You're making the game too challenging now."

Trust Shikamaru to take everything as annoying to the point where he simply should consider not breathing!

Now that the younger Uchiha was out of the picture, Sakura managed to balance her time to socialize as well as improve her skills.

Before, it had been always about asking Sasuke-kun out on dates. Who knew playing shogi with the intellectual lazy genius would be so much fun?

"The late bloomers always turn out to be the most beautiful in the end."

Neji-san had injured both of his hands up to the point where it could have been paralyzed.

Luckily, Sakura had been on duty during the monstrous hours of the night when the injured shinobi was ushered in by his teammates.

After fixing them like it had been nothing, he had sent her look of gratitude with those silent words of encouragement.

And her world of spring had transformed to the energetic season of summer.

"I would like you to not only confine yourself to healing people. You are my apprentice after all, are you not? Strong medic-nins are needed in missions and battlefields. Think about it."

When she had turned 15 years old, her sensei had managed to create another set of goals within her already crowded brain. Perhaps it may have been a passing comment but it stuck with her during that summer, diverting her attention to another aspect that needed improvement.

She was far from stopping.

"I think you're the only girl I know who can be feminine and tough at the same time!"

That was what Sakura heard straight after her fist had come into contact with an unfortunate tree located near her vicnity; sending splinters towards TenTen.

The weapon mistress became her frequent sparring partner during her spare time.

She always managed to push her right to her limit every time they trained together. It always gave her a sense of fulfillment each time she took a shower to relieve her strained muscles.

Her summer had come to an end.

"You are finally on the path to becoming a true kunoichi. I am very proud of you Sakura."

Her autumn had been brief.

Perhaps it was because of all the missions she had participated in.

She remembered Kakashi-sensei saying that to her after one particular grueling mission. Her role had been both fighting and healing as always, which meant her chakra had been drained twice as much compared to the others. He had patted her head like he always used to, leaving a sense of serenity in the young kunoichi that day.

One can never grow too old for compliments.

"Sakura, thank you."

No, thank you Sasuke-kun.

Thank you for rejecting me. I might not have liked the person that I would have become standing next to you.

Thank you for insulting me. I would have never learned to listen to others if it wasn't for you.

Thank you for leaving. I might not have realized all these great people in my life if you had been there.

So, thank you.

And suddenly, winter had arrived.