A/N: So I was not-so-happily working on the next chapter of Not Just a Girl when I read Mistress of Sarcasm's new story "A Woman's Touch" and had an idea start to take birth in my mind. And thus this.
Summary: They made assumptions about what the girls were born to do. Not one of them was right.
Disclaimer: Um. Yeah. Imagine.
Truth in Misconceptions
They said Sakura had been born to heal. She had an innate talent for it, and was easily the best healer of her generation, who would very soon surpass her teacher.
Sakura had dragged patients back from death's door more times than anyone could count. She'd helped those everyone else had decided were helpless.
She's lost patients. Three. The first had been her first patient, and it had taken her awhile to recover from it. She'd done nothing wrong, there was no reason the patient shouldn't have lived. She was young. She was healthy. Sakura had closed the gash across her stomach and stitched her insides back together. But the woman had never woken up and come back to her life and Sakura couldn't help but think that it had something to do with the teammate that didn't come back either.
The second patient had been old. Old enough that his skin was paper collapsing around the tubes that were his veins. He was strong. The oldest shinobi she'd ever met although he had retired long ago. And he was weak, his body failing while his will tried to keep it running. And then Sakura had added her will to his and he had lived long enough to see his little girl (who was not so little any more, tall and strong and scarred in a way designed to break a father's heart and bring pride to it simultaneously) get married before his body had failed.
The third victim was a baby. He'd been born with his heart outside his chest, and she'd tried and tried to get it back to where it belonged and had succeeded before the child decided the pain wasn't worth the rewards (and who could blame him, the tiny little baby had known nothing of the joys of life, the smile and laughter and love, and everything of the pain), he'd cast in his returned his lot and waited for a different one.
She'd lost three patients. It was considered a miracle by most. Most doctors were lucky to lose three patients a year, and Sakura had been healing since she was fourteen. Seven years and three patients, she was looked up to, and envied. Most people considered it a miracle, Sakura considered it a failure.
She'd lost five years of her life, and had made the sacrifice without thinking twice. They'd been fighting, her boys, and they were serious. She could see it in their eyes that one of them would not be walking away from this fight. And she knew that whoever did would hate themselves afterwards. Because Naruto loved Sasuke and somewhere, deep down, Sasuke loved Naruto too. Suddenly she'd been twelve again, on the hospital roof, but there had been no Kakashi to throw the boys apart. When
they hit her she'd seen their shock and their sorrow before the diamond on her forehead had faded from sight.
She spent hours talking to patients. It wasn't in her job description, but she listened, because she understood that it was rarely the wound that killed. It was the pain and the sorrow and the fear. She had a talent for listening, and for taking that pain and that sorrow and that fear away. That was the reason she lost so few patients.
They said Sakura had been born to heal. They weren't quite right. Sakura had been born to save.
They said Ino had been born for espionage.
She was even better at it than her father (who was widely regarded as the best). By the time she was fifteen she was sliding so effortlessly into minds that she'd forgotten she ever struggled. She had a talent for taking her target and integrating herself so smoothly into their personality that she'd once been able to masquerade in the body of one for a month without anyone noticing.
If it took a toll on Ino, becoming a monster, no one (save Shikamaru and Sakura who knew her better than she knew herself) cared enough to see. So she went on mission after mission and gathered more information for her village than anyone had ever thought possible.
Ino was a good spy, she was a better friend.
Sakura had been broken after Sasuke left (with a 'Thank you', Ino still hadn't forgiven him for that). She'd been shattered when Naruto left (without a word, Ino wasn't sure she would ever forgive him). She wasn't sure why no one else had noticed it, but no one else had and seeing Sakura bleeding and broken had terrified Ino, and so she'd done what she'd sworn never to do. She forgave her for throwing her away for a boy who turned around and did the same. She forgave her and she helped her, and in her darkest moments she wished that she hadn't because the Sakura she helped reshape (again, it seemed Ino was always pulling Sakura out of despair) was so much more than Ino. She was strong and good and talented and so far above the rest and so unable to notice it, because Sakura was so far behind her boys.
Sakura would never know how strong she was. Would never see that she was the most feared woman in the village. Would never realize that when young girls went into the academy they went wanting to be just like her. But Ino did.
When Asuma died Shikamaru took it as a failure. Everyone saw how obsessed he became with killing Hidan, but they thought it stopped then. Everyone but Ino. She saw the hesitation before he sat down at a shogi board, and remembered when it wasn't there. Everyone else thought he was the same lazy ninja they'd known before. Only Ino saw his eyes glaze over when he was supposed to be cloud watching. And it broke her heart. So the next time they were on a mission together she did something stupid.
She put herself in danger that she could have avoided, and hoped it worked and she didn't end up dead. But when the man who had been following her suddenly stopped and started choking on shadows she knew she'd done the right thing. Shikamaru had grabbed her by the shoulders hard enough to leave bruises and shaken her. Back and forth. He wasn't much shouting (too troublesome), but he'd shouted at her, and he'd railed, and suddenly he wasn't talking to Ino anymore but their dead teacher.
He'd cried. And she'd cried. And then they'd stopped and Shikamaru looked at her with understanding and acknowledgement. He'd whispered "Thank you" and Ino didn't mention how sick those words always seemed to make her after Sasuke.
They said Ino had been born for espionage. They were close. Ino had been born to see.
They said Tenten had been born to kill.
She had a certain knack for it. She could make a weapon out of anything (there had been once, with a toothpick. But that had been messy and she preferred not to think about it), and had an unerring ability to hit her target.
What they didn't seem to put together was that Tenten never missed her mark, and knew exactly where to hit to cause death, exactly how hard to throw. She could calculate and aim in a fraction of the second. But at the end of the day the only one who ended up dead was the one she was sent to kill.
She hated herself sometimes. Because she threw up after every kill, she curled up and she cried and she whimpered and was generally pathetic and weak and she hated herself. Neji had come across her once. Had looked at her with his all seeing eyes and laid a hand on her back. It was as close to comforting as he was capable of.
The next morning he'd asked her why she did it if it upset her so much.
She had never been more surprised by a question. "Because the men my village ask me to kill are the ones that would hurt it." It was the best way she knew to answer, the best answer she could give, but she was surprised when Neji nodded and accepted it.
She' d killed seventeen men she wasn't assigned to. The time with the toothpick was one of them. She'd been drunk, and all her weapons had ended up in the custody of Lee, who didn't want her walking around with them. All except for the scrolls. But alcohol impeded her ability to use them. The man had been dragging a little girl behind him. No more than seven. She'd screamed and pleaded and kicked. And everyone who saw it just looked away.
Tenten had warned the man. Told him to let go. But he'd laughed at her and hauled the child up against him so fighting him bare handed was out of the picture (not that Tenten had been looking forward to that. He was bigger than her, and probably stronger). She'd nodded, and attempted to placate him and he'd laughed that cold laugh again, she'd looked down desperately and saw the
toothpick she'd been chewing. She studied it between her fingers for a moment. Testing its weight and point before throwing it hard and fast enough to tear through his jugular.
She'd taken the little girl to Sakura, and trusted her to fix whatever part of the child he'd broken.
Each and every other time had been on a mission. She never killed those who attacked her. Incapacitated them. Sometimes even wounded them badly enough that only Konoha could fix them (everyone knew the only medics worth the title lived there). But she never killed to for herself. Yet if a man ever found Neji's blind spot, or figured out how to trip Lee they didn't live to realize it. Tenten took them down with the ruthless efficiency everyone assumed she had.
They said Tenten had been born to kill. They had no idea. Tenten had been born to protect.
They said Hinata had been born to fail.
The girl child born to the position of heir to the Hyuuga clan was a weak child. Too kind and timid for the world she was born into. By the time she was ten Hiashi had decided that he needed an alternative, because the pathetic little girl child would never be the head of a clan that struck terror into the hearts of everyone.
She was a good person. Weak and stuttering but kind, and if it weren't for her trademark eyes he would have suspected her to be a changeling. He loved her because he couldn't help it. But he hated her to. Hated the weakness she had brought into the clan and the choice she would force him to make.
That had all changed.
She'd been twelve and stuck in a match she had no hope of winning. But she stood up and took the hits. And when Neji knocked her down she stood up again. And again, and again. She had taken hit after hit after hit until all of his careful logic told him she should be dead. She'd lost the match and won something much more important.
The village had started to look at her differently then. She was still startlingly kind for a ninja, and a Hyuuga. But there was a grace to her steps, and a confidence to her walk that belied the stuttering she was struggling to overcome.
They looked at her differently but waited for her to fail. And waited. And waited some more.
The day things had really started to change she'd been on a mission. The leader had been a proud man. Too proud to listen to the Hyuuga outcast when she pointed out the flaws in his plan. He'd been the first to fall.
There was panic. Ninja are just soldiers, after all, they follow the leader. He'd fallen and there was chaos and then there was Hinata. They'd fallen together inside a version of the absolute defense that no one had ever seen before, and their enemies had fallen apart.
That day changed something in the meek girl. Stripped away the outward layer and revealed a core of steel. She didn't stutter. She didn't flinch. She walked right into the council meeting where they were debating, once again, stripping her of her position and giving it to Hanabi or Neji. She walked in and looked at them with eyes cooler than glaciers and told them exactly what they were doing wrong with the village, with the clan and with their lives.
Then she'd walked out and left a dozen people with very different opinions of her.
Hinata had grown. She was still kind, and still quiet but kindness was tempered with wisdom, and every time she did speak it didn't matter that her voice was soft. People went silent. People listened to the Hyuuga heir.
They said Hinata had been born to fail. They were wrong. Hinata had been born to lead.