Disclaimer: I own nothing. Not even Naruto. Believe it.
A/N: So this is the last installment in the In Retrospect Arc. I gotta say, I won't miss this series. (And I don't really think anyone else will either. ^^ Please review!
By Miranda Panda-chan
You've never amounted to anything, even as a kid you were the odd one out. You've never fit in anywhere, not even as a Sasuke-fangirl. You were always different. You came from a loving civilian family, the first Haruno to strive for the shinobi life. You had a caring mother, and a protective father that cared and loved and held and encouraged and all of the above. Maybe that was your first fault, you think. You weren't an orphan, you didn't have an overly sad and depressing past. It wasn't great, but thankfully there was no death involved, especially not in mass numbers, and there was no non-existent people that left you for God only knows why.
You were never expected to amount to anything—you were just another Sasuke-fangirl, a little bratty child attempting to play ninja and failing at it miserably. It probably would never have occurred to you to put any effort into being an actual shinobi if he hadn't left, if your heart hadn't been torn to pieces. In retrospect, that event is what made you who are today. In retrospect, having your heart trampled mercilessly made you a better person, and was probably the first time you ever worked for something—worked as real shinobi, a Konohagakure kunoichi.
However, when you were only twelve…death would've been preferable to heartbreak. But you didn't get that option. You became bitter though, just slightly, it was the start of downward spiral that would lead to severe bitterness that would take years to break from. You have always been happy with what life had given you, even if there was stupid bratty ninja that would later become your bestestestest friend in the whole wide world, and in retrospect, you wish you could have fallen in love with him instead at first sight, life would've been easier, and you would never be near as scarred and jaded as you are now. But yet, you're glad you didn't. In retrospect, nothing could've changed how you felt for the Uchiha boy.
You were lost for awhile after that, in retrospect, you should've realized that this was the beginning of something truly devastating. But you didn't. And you were hit hard when you found out that your parents had been murdered on the way to the next civilian town for a vacation. They'd been found on the outskirts of the woods two nights later washed up in the river.
That's when you went to Tsunade. That's when you truly became the kunoichi that would later take the title of 'sannin' from the Slug-Summoner. Naruto watched with sad eyes as you forced yourself to live in the exact same house as you had always been in…except that this house had no parents…no love—nothing. Just emptiness. You would cry yourself to sleep as you thought of them, and how you could've protected them if only you hadn't been on another mission that would lead up to your Kunoichi Only missions—the ones that would give you nightmares even after you quit your kunoichi job to be a nurse and a mother. The ones that gave made you ashamed of your job, of your gender. In retrospect, you really should've realized beforehand what being a kunoichi entailed…especially for the unmarried and unattached.
The ones that made you shy away a little from Naruto when he returned…but only for a moment before the awkward disappeared. (And if he ever was ashamed of you, he never let it show, even after he became Hokage and looked through your records and Sasuke's to see what he'd missed out on while away). In retrospect, it was a little silly to think that he would know upon his first return to the village in three years after no contact.
Your life brightened a little with the return of Naruto, but it didn't last long before Sasuke returned to play in your life (and in your heart) some more. In retrospect, you realize that this was the beginning of the end of this tale of woe…that was the end of your heartache.
However, you only saw it as an added mark on your heart against the onyx eyed man. You were stronger now, though. You had been waiting for this moment for so long…and then it was over.
All in a flash, the battle was finished, and you and Naruto stood victorious over a chakra-string bound nukenin…your one and only, and his sort-of-not-really brother.
In retrospect, you suppose life would've gone smoother if you hadn't been so bitter about everything that had led up to the moment you had dreamt of since the night of defection.
But you didn't.
You're just glad, now that you look back on it all, that you got the love that you'd always wanted. That you weren't alone anymore. That not only did you have friends that loved you, you had a more tightly-knit family than you had ever dreamed of. Not only that, but you had respect…respect as a person, respect as a medic, respect as a kunoichi.
And the only thing that really matters in the end is that you got an almost-not-quite fairytale ending.
You got a husband, children, a friend who would become a babysitter, another friend who would rather steal your children than just watch them for you, and a doting grandfather for your kids…even if he did teach them how to play mean tricks.
In retrospect, you realized that you started out with nothing. Sure, you had a family in the average since of the word, that you loved dearly. But you were never meant to be anything while you still had no goal, nothing to drive you to success. In retrospect, you realize that what made you worth something wasn't really your abilities as a kunoichi or your skills as a medic, it was your worth as a person-- your abilities added up to make the whole and your willing to care about other people. In retrospect, as you wait for your baby to stop crying and go to sleep as Naruto and Sasuke talk about their latest mission (and how it went awry and one point due to communication failure), you realize that you may not have been expected to amount to anything…but through it all…you think you've gained and become much greater, and that the approval of strangers means very little…so long as you have your team by your side and the love of the friends around you…you can't help but think that you're going to be alright from now on. That everything will be alright.
A/N: So, that's all for the In Retrospect Arc. (Thank God!) Ya know, I'd actually forgotten about this series until I was scanning through my old fic files and this was there and I was all sorts of, "Oops...I'd thought I'd already finished that..." So here it is! I'm not too sure how it turned out, really. It's written a little differently then the rest of them (I was a little younger than I am now, -snicker- and so my writing style has changed quite a bit. So review and tell what you thought!