Two and a half years is a long time.
Time enough for a blossom tree to bloom three times. Time enough for a child to become a girl, but not enough to become an adult. Time for a heart to crack in loneliness, but not enough time for it to heal.
Sakura cries when Naruto leaves. She sits alone beneath the cherry trees and weeps out the pent up pain and misery that has been building steadily since that time in the forest. The time when she could do nothing more than stand back and watch the boy she loved writhing in agony on the forest floor. What could she do then? What can she do now?
She seeks the guidance of the hokage herself. Not just for herself, but for her team. For Sasuke, so she can be of use to him. For Naruto, so she can pick him up every time he falls down in their search for Sasuke.
For Kakashi, so she can literally pick him up when he falls down. He's no featherweight when he's on a stretcher.
But she has other reasons.
It's so she can finally prove to Ino that she's not just another tagalong.
It's so she can show Lee that she too can overcome her handicaps.
It's so that Kakashi will finally look at her and see her, rather than whatever lies behind her. She wants to prove she can be every bit as special and monstrous as her male team mates. She wants him to notice her. Acknowledge her. Anything.
They're still a team. He's still her teacher, but he never comments on the fact they don't train together. He sees her in Tsunade's office, pouring over medical theories and scribbling down the treatments for any number of sicknesses,