Seedling

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G A B S

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Just Because Everything's Changing,

Doesn't mean It's Never Been This way Before.

All You Can Do Is Try to Know Who Your Friends Are

As You Head Off to the War.

-"The Call" by Regina Spektor

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[CU] Flowers start as seedlings. Once they've completely grown, they bloom. At the end, when they needed her, Sakura's heart opened up and a beautiful flower blossomed. [death-fic] Saku-centric.

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**Note- Capitals in Middle of Sentences are There for a Reason. It is Not Bad Grammar. It's a Rhetorical Strategy. Duh.

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They had all Looked past her, the girl who was only Average.

With the One who Made Them Believe and the One Who Never Gave Up standing next to her, the shadow she cast was nearly invisible. She was like the rest of them, they thought. She wasn't one to follow. She wasn't the Light they longed for to lead them to the Promised Land. She was No One.

She was just a girl.

She was not Kurenai, the Strong One. She was not Anko, the Survivor. She was not Ino, the Sweetheart. She was not Hinata, the Believer. She was not Shizune, the Rock.

She was not Tsunade. She was not the Giver of Life.

She was just Sakura.

She was just a girl. She was just Average.

They never spared her a thought, never looked to her for encouragement, never thought of her when they needed Strength to go On. She was one of them. She was one of many.

As the years passed, the Fox and Raven grew and achieved their dreams. They all looked to the two for Hope. All their dreams rested on the two. They believed in Them. Their blind trust only twisted and tightened and became solidified as time rolled by. She stood behind them, the Third. They Saved her, Protected her.

Saviors. Protectors. The Fox and the Raven. The One who Made them Believe and the One Who Never Gave Up.

They were Perfect.

She was just a girl. She was just Average.

They saw her as a Crutch. They called her Weak.

They called her Sakura.

She accepted their comments, their sneers, their cold gazes. She accepted her place. She accepted being Just Sakura. She accepted Average. She would Follow the Fox and the Raven to the ends of the earth. Her One single desire was to Help. She would stand behind the Two, forever a Shadow, if only They would be Happy. Until then, she would Remain Sakura.

When she Reached Adulthood, They missed It. They were Busy, They said. Their Lives Became Consumed with Their Prominence. They were the Fox and the Raven, Perfect. They Stopped Coming Around. They were Forgetting Their Third. They were Slowly Vanishing from Her Life.

She would Not Stop Them. She Let them Go. And They Left. She Watched Them leave and Promised to Wait Patiently for their Return.

They did not Come Back for many Years. Still she Waited. She quietly took their Role as Protector, Silently Aiding those who deemed her Unworthy. She never attempted to Prove herself, never tried to Change what they Thought of her. She let their whispers of disdain wash Past her. She Smiled at them, Loved them, Cared for them, Protected them, Stood by them.

She filled the Role of her Friends quite Well, always Smiling, even though they Never Thanked her.

She was Content to Grow within herself, to Let the World belong to Them, so long as her Heart belonged to her.

And she did Grow. Her Arms became Hard, her Legs Strong, her Fingers Nimble. Her Feet were always Running. Her Mind was always Calculating. Her Eyes were always Searching.

Her Heart became a Solid Fortress.

When the Time came, when the Enemy ran toward Her village, when the Fire was Going Out, when They should have Returned but didn't-

She was There.

She let Hard Arms break their bones. Strong Legs kicked their Armor away. Nimble Fingers formed Signs that shattered their Minds. Her Running Feet Cut Off new waves of enemies. Her mind calculated how Many she could Take. Her Eyes saw there were More than she Could.

And then She Understood.

When they saw her, a brave Lioness standing between them and Fate, they finally saw the error of their ways. She smiled at them, breaking their Hearts a little More. They Called for her to come back, to run, to Live. She didn't stop Smiling.

They quietly Understood.

Flowers start as Seedlings. Once they've completely Grown, they Bloom. She was a Bud, a Leaf.

And there at the very End, when they needed her Most, Sakura's Fortress Heart Opened up and she Blossomed into a beautiful Flower.

"Kamikaze."

Then she Died.

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When the Fox and the Raven returned, Their Hearts were filled with Toil. They had not known of her great Sacrifice. They had not known of her Pain, her Struggle.

With heavy Hearts, They realized They had not known Her.

The Fox had lost his way on his Travels, Seeking great lands for his Happiness. He had not found it.

The Raven had wandered through Life as though Living in a Dream. He Could not Figure what Piece of the Puzzle was Missing.

But when they saw the Name carved into the Stone, they understood.

She was Their Happiness. They had Missed her Beside Them.

She was not Kurenai, but she was Strong enough to Protect her Home. She was not Anko, but she had Survived her Suffering. She was not Ino, but she had stolen their Hearts. She was not Hinata, But she had never Stopped Believing. She was not Shizune, but she had been their Rock when they had Fallen.

She was not Tsunade. But she had Given them All a Second Chance.

She was Sakura. She was the Girl.

She was a Flower.

She had Loved them, even while a Seedling.

She was a Flower.

Sakura.

She was not Average, they realized.

She was COURAGE.

End.