Chapter One: Hair
Pink. There was no way it could be real. Sasuke rubbed his eye with his little fist and his eyes narrowed at the short locks of pink hair. Yes, still pink. He blinked his eyes and grumbled inwardly to himself. If it were genjutsu he wouldn’t be able to break out of it by himself quite yet.
Sasuke continued to watch the small girl with pale pink hair holding hands with her mother. She hid behind her skirt and her head kept turning in all directions as she was attracted to all sorts of sounds of the other kids at the Academy entrance.
At one point she turned and looked in his direction and Sasuke took a sharp inhale of air as he was met with vivid green eyes. The green reminded him of the forests that he ran in when he played with his older brother. Such an intense green he had never seen before.
And then green eyes were no longer looking at him but back to a group of Academy students that were chasing each other in front of the doors to the building.
Sasuke looked up and saw his mother smiling down at him, a sort of mischievous smile she gave him sometimes when she knew he was hiding something from her and found it amusing that he even attempted.
“Her hair. Such a beautiful color. Doesn’t it remind you of cherry blossoms?” Mikoto asked wistfully, a faraway dreamy expression on her face. “You should talk to her. Tell her that you think her hair is pretty. Maybe you’ll make your first new friend.”
“I don’t think her hair is pretty!” Sasuke blurted out, completely flustered. He puffed his cheeks out in a pout when his mother let out a little tinkle of a laugh at his expense. “It’s true! I like hair just like kaa-san’s.”
Sasuke continued to sulk as he made his way into the building. Every so often he would take a sideways glance out of the corner of his eye to catch a flash of pink.
Sakura. It was completely cliché but it was the type of name he knew his mother would adore. Not that he would tell her the name of the girl with the pink hair. Not unless she asked. Maybe not even then just in case his mother got it in her head that he liked Haruno Sakura.
Gross. Sasuke had better things to do like become a shinobi that could surpass his older brother and to get the acknowledgement he craved from his father.
He tried to tell himself that she was gross, like how all girls are gross, but when Yamanaka Ino becomes her first friend and she smiles more, he starts to get a strange fluttery feeling in his stomach.
I probably ate too many rice balls.
So sure that that was the reason, Sasuke nods to himself and carries on with what he was doing: hiding from Uzumaki Naruto.
His mother and her friend, his Auntie Kushina, had been pregnant around the same time and had hoped their children would be best friends. Sasuke just found him loud and obnoxious.
Sasuke liked Auntie Kushina and didn’t understand when people told her Naruto was just like her. Naruto was only seven and he was already arrogant and at times had an entitled attitude, all because he was the son of the Hokage.
He assumed when Naruto displayed his more friendlier side and was kind that he was tolerable. Almost like his cousin Obito.
Sasuke just hoped he wouldn’t be stuck with Naruto forever.
Every single time she moved, her hair would sway with her. The movement was miniscule but it distracted Sasuke enough for his eyes to wander away from the blackboard and their lessons.
Sasuke was in the middle of watching the way the sunlight coming in through the windows shined on her hair when she turned around, green eyes on him. She looked at him for merely a second when her attention shifted to the person sitting behind him. She smiled widely and waved.
Sasuke grumbled inwardly to himself, chastising himself for the odd way his heart skipped when their eyes met. Of course she was waving at someone else. Her best friend, the Yamanaka girl, had chosen to sit behind him.
Just like how he had chosen to sit behind Sakura Haruno who always sat in a free seat in the front row, ready to absorb all the information she could.
Sitting next to her would have been too obvious. And sitting next to her meant he couldn’t sneak inconspicuous peeks at her. Sasuke could just stare ahead and casually shift his gaze down to see her and the way her hair shined and shifted around her small frame.
Sakura’s hair was longer than when he first saw her the day they entered the Academy. There was a small part of him that hoped it had something to do with the unfounded rumor that he liked long hair. That small hope was stamped out when she replied to gossiping girls that she was only growing it out because “Ino-chan is growing her hair out so why not?”
It didn’t matter how long any of the other girls’ hair was. His eyes were drawn only to pink.
“What is he doing?”
Sasuke didn’t bother to acknowledge that his brother was home, something rare for him.
“I’m not sure,” Mikoto responded. “He came home and just slumped onto the floor. He’s been lying face down ever since.”
Sasuke grumbled against the floorboards but made no attempt to move or speak to either his brother or his mother.
Earlier that day when he was finishing up training on his own he found Sakura training in private, Ino and the other girls nowhere in sight. She was attempting to throw shuriken at a target. Her aim was lousy.
Sakura was a smart girl, always getting top marks in their written tests. Whenever their teacher asked a difficult question she had her hand up first, the second the question left the teacher’s mouth. Usually she would be the only one that knew the answer.
Although she got top marks academically, when it came to field work she suffered. It looked as if she wasn’t even trying at times.
Sasuke noticed that the way she held weapons was off. He only wanted to help. He had wanted to help but instead of being helpful he ended up just shouting at her.
“You’re doing it wrong!” He blurted out.
When Sakura just stared at him with wide green eyes he felt his ears and the back of his neck heat up. They looked at each other for a moment, both of their faces flushed with embarrassment. Unable to take the awkwardness anymore, Sasuke bolted.
As soon as he got home, he fell onto the floor hoping to become one with it. If he was part of the floor he wouldn’t have to go back to school tomorrow.
“Mikoto,” Sasuke heard his father’s gruff voice, “why is Sasuke on the floor?”
Sasuke had his face down on his desk when all of the students were shuffling into the classroom. He hadn’t wanted to come into school but his mother wasn’t fooled by his sick act.
My life is over and I’m only eleven.
Sasuke was trying to become one with his desk when there was a small cough. He tried to will whoever it was that sat next to him away with his mind. He was a desk today, not a person, and refused to take part in any interaction.
A gentle prod on his shoulder forced him to turn his head so he could peer up at the foolish person that was trying to get his attention. At the sight of pink he sat up straighter.
“Morning,” Sasuke replied.
Sakura slid into the seat next to him and unpacked her stuff. As soon as her notebook and pencils were set neatly in front of her she crossed her arms on the desk and turned to face Sasuke.
“Y-yesterday,” Sakura cleared her throat and took a deep breath, “yesterday you said that I was ‘doing it wrong’.”
Sasuke’s neck heated up. Did she have to bring that up?
“If I’m doing it wrong I won’t get better. Can you show me the right way? After class, that is.”
What? That wasn’t what Sasuke had expected to happen this morning when he got to class.
He must have been quiet for too long because Sakura’s face became a deeper shade of pink and she tried to take back her request.
“Okay?” Sakura’s eyes went wide in surprise. “Really?”
“Yeah, I said okay,” Sasuke mumbled, tucking the lower part of his face into his high collared shirt.”
“Oh! Okay.” Sakura beamed and turned to face forward.
It wasn’t until Iruka-sensei started the lesson that it really hit Sasuke that Sakura had decided to sit next to him for the day.
He wasn’t able to sneak glances at her, but there was a pleasant floral scent on his right side.
It seemed that there was another part of Sakura’s hair besides pink that intrigued Sasuke.