The Measure of Strength

DISCLAIMER: Naruto does not belong to me. None of the quotes from Naruto belong to me. If it did, it would totally NOT be the total smash hit it is today…I doubt anyone would even watch it!!!

WARNING: Hinted shonen-ai. Serious, short, and not so sweet, I suppose. Also, some slight Sakura bashing, as a friend so notable pointed out to me.

Author note: I've been having writer's block, and I just stumbled upon an ItaSaku story with an ItaSakuSasu love triangle, and could not resist writing this. It may not be my best work, but it was written in a matter of twenty minutes. Anyone, please point out any glaring errors and tell me any way you believe I could make it better. DOMO ARIGATO!!!

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He was so strong. He could twist and bend to his situations. He was always light-hearted, kind and playful. He tried so hard, when all he had to do was be there to make others happy. He never shown fear, sorrow or any weakness, though she knew it was all there. Hidden deep within, only to be disturbed by he himself.

He was so strong. He was solid, more solid then the highest, hardest mountain. He was cold, cruel, but wise. He tried hard, even though he never thought it to be truly worth it. He was also kind and scared, if you truly looked at him. He tried his hardest to show no fear, no weakness. In a way, if he were any different he'd not be himself. His hearts lie within the darkness, only for it to be shattered when he was shown up.

Both boys were so terribly strong it was occasionally scary. While he, believed to be the naïve one, shown more knowledge of the world then his time on the earth seemed to admit, he was always cheerful. And while he, believed to be the strong, smart pillar of life broke under pressure and shown he didn't know what was right or wrong, he was there to pick up the shattered pieces.

Both knew they needed each other to be complete. They were the best of friends, yet the worst of enemies. They were strong, but only as strong as their weaknesses allowed. They were both incomplete.

After the harsh betrayal and the time spent apart, it seemed she was the only one who could truly see the boys…the men! She could see the pain, the sorrow. She saw everything that happened between the two. She'd been there from the start. And though she felt herself drifting farther and farther from them, she could always see them. It was a special gift of hers, a gift only she possessed.

When they'd needed her most, she'd always been there and stood close to them. She's talked to them, heard them, and seen what they had been through. She'd tried her best to be what they needed, but she knew she wasn't the one. She knew, but there was little to do.

She was in love. In love with the both of them. She wanted what was best for the two of them, no matter what pain she had to go through. She'd do anything to see the two of them happy once again.

They both had cried. They both had talked. They both had fought. They both had smiled, and they both had memories of the other.

She was the only one who'd seen what seemed to be the glaring truth. So why, now that the job was done, did she cry every time she thought of the two of them together? Why did she feel so sad when she saw them walking side by side? She'd been the one to make her task reality, so why? She did not understand it, though it was the glaring truth.

She was in love. She was in love with both of them. Now that they were together, happily so, it hurt her horridly. She knew she's be the one to lose out. Their first kiss had been with one another. Why should she win one or the other when she couldn't even chose who was the best for her.

She still cried every night, knowing that at that moment they were probably joyously kissing, enjoying the love they'd longed for their entire lives.

'Sakura, I'll go on a date with you if you want. I mean, really…If you'd like…'

'Sakura, I'm sorry…I couldn't protect you, even though he could…'

All she could even think of was the things that they'd said to her. The things that they'd done for her.

'Dobe, you over-did it again! If you're not careful you're gonna kill the two of us!'

'Teme, what do you know? You think you're so smart, but you're not! THINK!!!'

She constantly thought of what the two said to each other. Mean nasty words said with venom, or kind words said to encourage. Everything. How could she have been so blind? She never saw the love; else she was blinded by it!

Kunoichi were meant to blend in. They were meant to go where male shinobi could not themselves go. They were meant to be strong, yet beautiful. They were meant to be caring, yet harsh. But they were not meant to fall in love with the men in their squad. A fated romance, no. An unrequited love, maybe. The feeling of a human, so prized by ninja, yet so hated at the same time. Definitely!

Uzumaki Naruto. Uchiha Sasuke. Haruno Sakura. No matter what, they have learned on lesson. In a love triangle, there can only be two winners. Sakura was the one who lost. One card short and she knew her life might never be as it was those long years ago.

'Squad Seven. Uzumaki Naruto. Haruno Sakura. Uchiha Sasuke.'


'This has now become an A-rank mission. It would be best if we turn back.'

'A shinobi. A tool of death.'

'Have you ever had a dream? My dream is to make his dream come true.'

'The tenth question!'

'I have one hint of advice. DON'T DIE!'

'Lee…is he going to be alright?'

'Sakura, I'll protect you!'

'I see why the fifth Hokage has taken a shine to that one.'

'SASUKE!!! NOO!!!'

Sakura had no will to kill herself. She lived on. But realizing that she was in love, and always would be, living in her memories. That day, a part of her died.