She was no longer the weak little girl they knew.

She had worked her ass off to become the butt-kicking kunoichi that was wanted by so many rival shinobi nations. Her name was in so many bingo books it was unreal. She had grown from a little girl that no one thought would ever amount to anything in the ninja world to a woman who could kick the Hokage's ass three times a day if needed. She hurled trees, boulders, and occasionally kisses to get whatever information she needed.

She became a strong kunoichi to prove herself, but also to prove to a certain Uchiha that overlooking her was a big mistake. When she left Konoha at 17 to train with a friend of her shishou she had only one goal in mind: become strong enough to bring him back. But five years under the instruction of legendary swordfighters had taught her that the way of the sword was not for personal gain; a real swordfighter used their techniques to protect and to honor. So she gave up her dreams of ever finding Sasuke, realizing that he used his techniques for personal gain and to her that meant he had no honor. He put himself before the whole.

She didn't treat him when he came in wounded and she didn't show up at his trial to plead for him. Sasuke Uchiha put himself before his team, so this team member would not put him before what remained of their team. Instead of standing by Sasuke during his most difficult day she had Sai train with her. She felt terrible for deserting Naruto, but in his typical way he assured her it was alright. He understood her like no one else. He didn't push her to follow his lead and side with Sasuke. He knew he had her support and that was what mattered.

Now she sat at Ichiraku with the most important person to her and his family while stealing glances at their former team member. She knew Naruto was scheming to patch things up somehow, but she wouldn't allow it.

She was stronger than that.

She might feel his eyes on her back for the rest of her life, and her heart might bleed for the dark-haired Uchiha forever. She didn't care if she died single. She only wanted to die strong, upholding her personal views of honor. She had always been told the path of a true fighter was paved in misery. Well, she was a true fighter.