Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of the characters…sad, I know…

"Life is harsh Sakura. As a ninja, you should know that," Ino said as Sakura stood, staring at her parent's grave.

They died on an S-ranked mission with honor, but left Sakura alone and scared.

Sakura stood as the rain continued to pour down and mix with her tears.

"I'm being realistic Sakura. You should try it some time," Ino finished as she walked off, leaving Sakura with her thoughts.

Ever since Ino and Sakura stopped being friends, Ino stopped caring. She stopped being there for Sakura and now when Sakura needed someone the most, she was gone.

Sakura could hear Ino's words as she trained.

I'm being realistic. Life is harsh. Not everything is about you. Stop crying. You look like a baby.

And each time she heard those words, Sakura pushed herself a little farther. Sakura knew that Ino said those words to make her weaker, to defeat her. But Sakura was not going to let Ino win that easy. Each time Ino did or said something to bring Sakura down, she actually made her stronger.

So when the day came that Sasuke was to leave the village to hunt down his brother, Ino expected to find Sakura at her parent's grave, crying.

But when Ino came to the grave, she found no Sakura but a note with Ino's name on it.

It read: Realistically, I'm stronger than you.

Ino finally realized that everything she said and did only made Sakura stronger and smarter in the end. Ino realized that Sakura was stronger than Ino in the sense that even though Sakura had lost her parents and Sasuke, she hadn't lost hope.

She hadn't lost hope in tomorrow. She learned from yesterday. She lived for today.

Logically, reasonably, realistically, Sakura was stronger by learning from her past and her mistakes. She was strong by her gift to be able to let people (including Ino and Sasuke) slap, push, and punch her and never throw one back. Instead, she learned and grew.

Life is harsh and realistically, when someone pushes you, you should stay down. But Sakura Haruno always got back up and each time, she became stronger.

The End

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