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Garnet

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G A R N E T


Since the day Sakura Haruno was born, she cannot see the color red.

And it’s a pity, really, because despite being able to wear her family crest in any variation of color, Ino insists that she compliment the Haruno emblem with red because absolutely nothing else would match her bottle green eyes and bubblegum pink hair.

So, Sakura puts all of the trust that her little ten-year-old body can muster into her best friend and they go to the store together, sifting through the clothing racks, pulling out different tunics and blouses that are nothing but boring, dull shades of gray in Sakura’s eyes.

But, it will work out in the end because eventually, she will meet her soulmate and as soon as she looks them in the eye, all the varying shades of crimson, red, and garnet will bleed back into her life, and it’ll be just perfect.

Because that’s what soulmates are: perfect.

And everything will be right in the world, just like in those stories that her mother tells her about.

…Right?


-o-


They learn about the history of soulmates in the academy.

Iruka-sensei shares with them a vague history of it all; too many adages about humanity and hubris. About how mankind was always too selfish for their own good and the greed that had festered over the years could have been the potential cause of it all.

The absurd thing is, not a single one of those proverbs or sayings could accurately describe why it happened or where it began. Did the gods craft this for them? Was this a punishment? A gift?

No one had the correct answers. Whatever is written in scrolls and textbooks over the last century are assumptions and attempts at categorization. They can only learn from the past and what is going on in the present, what happens in the here and now, and write their own version of the events in journals, in hopes that it might help others in the future.

There are a few things that they do know for sure:

It is possible for one to never to find their soulmate.

If one soulmate dies, the other is not necessarily subject to the same fate.

And, it is different for everyone; how soulmates are discovered, found, and chosen. More often than not, it depends on the region that one is born into.

In Konoha, they are color blind to a specific hue.

In Iwagakure, they feel their soulmate’s pain, sometimes sharing the same scars of past missions and battles.

In Suna, there is a black spot marring the skin where their soulmate is supposed to touch them for the first time. After the initial contact, it fades back into their bodies as if it were never there in the first place.

When their introductory lessons are over, Sakura can’t help but feel a little relieved.

She doesn’t think that she would particularly like a physical mark maiming her skin or some ambiguous words etched into her arm that may or may not lead her to the person she was supposed to spend the rest of her life with.

She may be biased more towards her village for obvious reasons, but overall, she doesn’t mind being blind to shades of red because there will be no doubt when the time comes.

When those new colors dance into her vision, Sakura will know precisely who her soulmate is, and they can be together without any misgivings or uncertainties.


-o-


Over the years, things change. People, places, and settings. They all change.

Long gone were the academy days and her dreaming of the infinitely perfect meet-cute with her soulmate.

It’s not to say that Sakura hates the idea of soulmates. That’s the exact opposite, actually. She cares a little too much, and there are far too many instances throughout her childhood in which she has been so bitterly envious of those around her who found their soulmates easily.

TenTen and Neji have been together for years, even before the academy, and for Naruto, all it took was one quick look at the stuttering Hinata before his screeching of, “I finally know what color the sky is! Dattebayo!” was heard throughout the village.

She knew that people felt sorry for her – particularly her parents and Ino – and that was because, with the more time that passed, Sakura became increasingly aware that her soulmate was most likely not a member of the Village Hidden in the Leaves.

Though one’s soulmate didn’t necessarily have to be a member of the same village, it’s a commonality that occurs more often than not, and she can’t help but feel horribly cheated by the discovery.

Sakura puts a lot of time into becoming a strong shinobi after that. With Naruto’s departure for further training and Sasuke’s defection, it was time for her to put silly dreams aside and work on becoming stronger.

Though she tells herself she’s putting all of her time into drills, lessons, and hospital work to be able to hold her own – to show Naruto and Kakashi that she deserves to be a member of Team Seven; to bring Sasuke home –  there is always that traitorous little voice in the back of her mind that whispers to her late at night.

It tells her that the stronger she becomes, the more missions she can take, and the further she can go.

And, maybe, just maybe, she can find her soulmate along the way.


-o-


She doesn’t sleep much over the course of those two and a half years.

If anyone asks, Sakura blames it on her rigorous tutelage under Lady Tsunade and not on the gnawing loneliness that aches in her chest.


-o-


When Naruto comes home, things get easier.

Sakura breathes easier.

And though the desire to find her soulmate still weighs heavily on her shoulders, Sakura still has her friends, family, and her team.

Things just feel so overwhelmingly right when they complete that bell test for the second time that, if only just for a moment, Sakura believes even if she were to never meet her soulmate, she’ll turn out just fine.


-o-


It isn’t long after that Gaara goes missing.

What starts off as a day filled with her reprimanding Naruto because he couldn’t and wouldn’t pick a mission for their team due to his stubbornness and desire for a sense of danger, turns into them running through the dry, arid Suna desert with such desperation that it’s almost painful.

And this…

This. 

In a country that is not her own, amongst enemies that are trying to capture and kill a friend, is where she finds her soulmate.

Sakura doesn’t realize it at first, because when she and Lady Chiyo force themselves through walls made of rock and stone, he is hidden inside a puppet.

But after, when she smashes that same puppet down to splinters and slivers of wood, and he emerges with nothing but a cold, cruel smirk on his face and contempt in those gray eyes, her world shifts on its axis.

Lady Chiyo is taken aback by the fact that he looks as if he hasn’t aged more than a day since she last saw him.

And Sakura…

Sakura is lost in the vivacity of his short, mousy red hair.


-o-


Sasori has no outward reaction towards her and Sakura later finds out that is because he no longer has a human body.

My heart is just like this body,” he tells them.

Emotionless. Cold. Hollow.

If Sakura felt embittered in her younger years, it’s nothing in comparison to the spitefulness she feels now. It is not fair. The chance of having a real relationship with her soulmate is stolen right out from underneath her feet without her even realizing it.

Fleetingly, she wonders where his soulmark was on his original body. Just where had the black spot been that announced him as her own?

She doesn’t have time to ask, to divulge further into the madness that is Sasori of the Red Sand.

There is a fight to win and a Kazekage to save, and Sakura is nothing but a conundrum of animosity, resentment, and unhinged loathing.

She fights and defends and bleeds – has blood always been that dark? – and Sakura gives all that she has to give to keep herself and Lady Chiyo alive.

She can’t tell him; she won’t tell him because this was the path he chose. He is no longer human, and though she would like to believe that Sasori is capable of redemption, Sakura knows better than to let herself think that he wants to be redeemed.

I’ve killed hundreds of people,” he sneers when they have him trapped, his core impaled. “She would be no different from the rest.

And Sakura believes him, but she isn’t scared of him. Not like this.

Deep down inside, don’t you want to be like me?

No.

No, she did not want to be like him. She would never be like him.


-o-


As Sakura watches the last remnants of life drain from his emotionless eyes, a part of her dies along with him.

And silently, she weeps for Chiyo, for Sasori, and for the injustice of it all.

But mostly, she just cries because she was never given the chance to get to know him.


-o-


Over the next few years, there are a select few people that she tells.

Her parents hold her close, worried about what is to become of their daughter.

Naruto and Kakashi both give her pitying glances, but they do not change their attitudes with the knowledge. They will always be her surrogate family and they silently vow to never leave her side.

And Ino...

Sakura and Ino huddle together late one night and just cry. Earth shattering sobs and broken, pain filled wails that leave them feeling empty, but content when they are finished.

Sakura will be alright.

She will pull through.


-o-


In hindsight, Sakura really should thank Ino for forcing her to go shopping all those years ago.

The blonde had been correct.

Red became Sakura’s absolute favorite color.