Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto at all. If I did then Sasuke would've been silenced by now, not dead, just beaten.
By the way, not sure about this… just decided to make a sakuraXsomeone and started typing without any ideas – at all. Forgive my incompetence, but my profile does say I suck at fan fiction so yeah…
The first time he saw her was during the Chuunin exams. It wasn't her appearance or skill as a ninja that caught his attention. Well, she was a cute girl, not gorgeous, but cute. She was proficient in the basics, but so was everyone else. Sure, she was an intelligent girl, but what caught his attention was her hair, long and pink. What kind of ninja had pink hair? Pink and ninja just didn't fit together. He noticed that she had cut her hair sometime during the exam... must've been tough out there. It was a tough challenge obviously; probably more so for the few genin, including herself, who had just recently graduated from the academy.
She wasn't anything special, just another girl who took more pride in her looks than her duties as a ninja. Not that he was saying she was a terrible ninja, he assumed she was. He just couldn't see anything past her pink hair.
It would be a while until he saw her again. He had heard her name at some point, but it was forgotten soon after. She wasn't special, of course, whenever he saw the colour pink he would think of her, but no, she was nothing special. It was that damned hair colour of hers. It was bound to get her killed!
Her team split up a little while after the exams. Sasuke had left the village in search of Orochimaru; Naruto had left the village to train in order to bring Sasuke back home and her sensei, Kakashi, left to do his own thing. When he saw her again he only saw pink, but something else caught his attention this time; determination. He had seen that look on many young shinobi before; he himself had worn that expression at some point in his life. She was determined to prove her worth as a ninja.
He would later learn that Lady Tsunade had taken her on as an apprentice. He hoped Lady Tsunade wouldn't be too hard on her. Well sure, all sensei are hard on their students, but no one was quite as brutal as the Hokage.
He would see her more often as the Hokage's apprentice. If not training, she would be helping Lady Tsunade with paperwork or working in the hospital. She had become second best medic in Konoha, first place going to her mentor. Rumour had it that she was well on her way in surpassing her mentor. He knew she was an excellent medic. She had treated him on number of occasions and told him off for being so careless each time. It was annoying; her temper was just as bad as Lady Tsunade's. Why couldn't she still be the incompetent, shy ninja she was back then? She actually punched him for talking back after a good telling-off; and right after she had healed him! Of course, she did heal him again, but it was still painful and unnecessary.
He would watch her leave the village for a mission and always anticipated her return. The whole pink hair would get her killed thought was forgotten. He knew she would come home every time. Sure, her teammates had returned (mostly) and they would look out for her. He knew they were friends more than teammates, but they weren't the ones he would wait for. They didn't have pink hair.
She had accomplished so much, even defeating an Akatsuki member, giving her life for another. Yes, he had heard of how she stepped in front of Chiyo-baa as a shield. She would've been dead if it weren't for her medic skills and the old lady. She must've been the first person to ever defeat an Akatsuki member. At least he thought so. He wasn't expecting her to be assigned to such a high level mission. He had heard that her first serious mission was a C-ranked, but turned out to be A-ranked. Maybe the same thing happened in this case. Either way, she would always come home. She was too strong not to.
It was funny, he had always looked down on her as a ninja, but now she was strong and he was the one who felt inferior. She would only talk to him if she was assigned to heal him, and only to tell him off or recommend something. This was her medic mode. She was being professional; mostly. Other than that, his existence was completely ignored. Well everyone who passed him and his partner ignored their existence. He knew he was a slacker, but that didn't make him any less of a ninja. He always watched her, inwardly praising her return and victories. He noticed her. He noticed her all those years ago. It started with the colour pink... annoying him constantly. Now he couldn't stop thinking about her. Why wouldn't SHE see him? He saw her. He always saw her. She had grown up to become a beautiful young woman. She was alone. Was she waiting for someone? Was it that traitor? Why wouldn't she see him? He was always there. Always present for her departure and return. Was he too old for her? He wasn't THAT old. Maybe he should try a little harder to get her attention... yeah that's a thought.
"Haruno-san," he said and bowed politely.
"Yes? Oh no, don't tell me Tsunade-shisou needs me to do more paperwork. I just finished my shift at the hospital," Sakura whined while pointing at the building she had just left.
"Um... no, Lady Tsunade doesn't need your help at the moment..." He said trailing off.
"I was just... I was wondering if I could treat you to lunch."
"Sure," Sakura said with a smile. She recognised him as the man she treated sometimes at the hospital, as one of Lady Tsunade's assistants and as one of the guards at the gates of the village. "You're Kotetsu, right? Hagane Kotetsu?"
"That's right," he said. He couldn't help but grin. So she had seen him after all. She knew his name! That meant she had acknowledged his existence.
"Why do you always watch me? It's kind of creepy, you know?" She asked with a raised brow.
"I... er..." he would take things slow, get to know her first. "You're very strong... well, let's be off before lunch turns into dinner!"
They walked side by side. Not as close as he'd have liked, but he was happy nonetheless. He hadn't realised before, but he was in love with this girl who had annoyed him for years. It was her hair that had caught his attention all those years ago. It was pink. What kind of ninja had pink hair?