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Sakura is born on March 28th with blue eyes that slowly turn green and dark pink hair that gets lighter as the days go by. She’s born to two chūnin, relatively mediocre and perfectly normal, and grows up to be one herself. She becomes a genin at the age of twelve, a chūnin at the age of fourteen, and goes to war at the age of seventeen.

Sakura dies on October 10th with green eyes that slowly lose their shine and bright pink hair that turns dark with blood. She dies with blood pooling around her and her best friend’s blood drying on her hands. She dies knowing that she’d saved Naruto’s life, that she’d done everything she possibly could - and she dies knowing that she’d done her part.

She doesn't die easy - but she doesn't die painfully, either. It's after the end, when the war's over and the battle's been won. She dies having given it everything she had, and then she dies giving what she doesn't. Sasuke's brutal genjutsu almost does her in - but she gets back up. She staggers her way to Naruto and Sasuke, finds them lying in their own blood, and does the only thing she can.

She fixes them.

They wake up briefly, tired and worn, and pass back out before she can finish - and she never does finish, anyways. The blood stops, the wounds close over in bright red, thin, and delicate skin, and then Sakura passes out too.

She lays between them, her head propped on Naruto's bloody shoulder, and she knows she's done everything she can.

She knows she's done her part. She's earned her keep.

She's confident at last that she's a true member of Team Seven now, and she feels content with that when her eyes close.

Her forehead's blank, her chakra reserves are beyond emptied, and she never opens her eyes again.

Not when Kakashi arrives and picks her up, staring in blank horror at her too still form. Not when he takes her to Shizune and Tsunade, and not when Naruto wakes up three days later and pleads for it all to be a lie.

 

Then Sakura is born on January 12th with dark blue eyes that get lighter and lighter and red hair so dark it looks black more often than not. She’s born to a civilian and a shinobi, a housewife and a genius, and grows up to be a genius herself. She becomes a genin at the age of five, a chūnin at the age of eight, a jōnin at the age of eleven, and goes to war at the age of twelve.

This time, Sakura vows, she won’t be a simple chūnin, overshadowed by her teammates.

This time, she vows, she’s going to change the world - even if she has to do it alone.