Title: Be There To Love Me

Summary: The first time I saw my husband was on our wedding day. The first time we touched was when his lips met mine in a soulless, cold, life-binding kiss. The first time he spoke to me he told me I annoyed him. The first time I felt alive was when he said he loved me. AU SasuSaku

Disclaimer: If I did, Asuma would be… well, yeah.

Dedication: To all of my lovely reviewers/readers/favers.

To Josie 'n the P. Cats, who is still doing an awesome job with all her beta-ing!

And to reviewers Moiraine and Lilaea whose reviews made me laugh. Ha… Feminazi… The sad part is that I've never heard that before and I told my mom and she was like, "Dear, I've heard that one before…" –is lame-

Author's Notes: Yay! I updated on time! Kinda…

Inspiration music: Vanessa Carlton. She really is awesome. On the radio, they only play her happy, "live-laugh-love" songs. But she's really all deep…and stuff.

And don't forget Utada Hikaru, The Dandy Warhols, and Snow Patrol!

Beta Reader(s): Josie 'n the P.Cats

x

Be There To Love Me

Chapter Seven

X

Thunk.

Thunk.

Crack.

"Shit, there goes another one!"

"Another one? What about my wrist? That was where the cracking sound came from, you jerk!"

I slumped to the ground, holding my wrist (red, puffy, painfully throbbing wrist) to my chest. Naruto's broken bokken (third one in the last week, I think they must've been rotting) lay before me, with Naruto standing over it like it was his dead kitten. His figure was getting a little blurry, though. Was I crying?

"Stop crying, Sakura-chan."

Obviously I was.

"B-but it hurts." I moaned. I rubbed my wrist lightly and squeaked when my attempt at a relaxing massage sent a jolt of pain up my arm. "I think it's broken!"

Naruto crouched before me and lifted my wrist away from my chest so he could see it. "Can you bend it?" he asked.

I tried, it did bend a little, and I yelped when it throbbed again. "It's just a sprain, Sakura-chan. A fracture at the most," he explained, picking up the smaller piece of his bokken and breaking it in half with effort. From his forearm holster he withdrew a roll of gauze. "Just keep still. I'll put it in a splint until you can get to a doctor."

I'm happy to say that this was the first serious injury inflicted upon me during the three weeks of grueling training I'd completed so far. The bruises, scratches, and broken fingernails I had, for the most part, gotten used to. I'd also learned to hide them better after Sasuke had mentioned the scratch on my cheek. But I hadn't sprained, sprained, or broken anything so far, and I was exceedingly glad because it hurt. It hurt really, really badly.

I flinched when Naruto finished wrapping, and looked down to see a freakishly weird shaped…thing (it was supposed to a splint, I guess) attached to the better half of my right arm.

"Naruto, how is this supposed to help?" I asked, moving a little just to watch the bokken under all of the gauze shift positions so it could give me splinters more easily. I guess I was lucky in a way. My sprained wrist hurt so bad that I didn't even notice the broken weapon stabbing bits of itself into my arm every time I moved.

"Well," Naruto said hotly, blushing, "if you would just stop moving it could do its job."

I sighed and looked mournfully toward my bandaged wrist. "Naruto-san, how am I going to hide this?"

His brow furrowed. "You're going to have to wear the splint whenever you're alone. Hide it or keep it off when you're in someone else's company. Either way, try not to use it for a few days. You might end up causing more of a problem than you can fix."

I clenched my hand a little, thinking. "I can do that but what about the doctor? It's not like I can use one of Sasuke-kun's," Naruto flinched at the –kun, "Doctors. They're sure to alert him if his wife just shows up out of nowhere with a broken-"

"-sprained…"

"…sprained wrist. Sasuke-kun believes I'm with Ino at this time. How can I even begin to explain? I won't even be able to make up a good lie!"

Naruto thought for a moment before slapping his hand with a fist decisively. "Look, my uncle knows this man who is friends with this woman whose apprentice is Shizune, a medic. Shizune-sama will help you and I know she can keep a secret."

I pouted, something I'd been doing more and more lately. Something else I'd been doing was snapping at people. I had a difficult time sleeping and woke up before dawn, which caused me to stay in a perpetually pissed off state. Naruto received the brunt of my temper during practice, but Ino had also had her head bitten off a few times; mostly when she wouldn't shut up about "Saskay-kun" and me. I made a habit of not snapping at said "Saskay" because I didn't want to give him any reason to be suspicious. Well, any reason to be more suspicious.

Another jolt of pain in my arm shook me from my pondering. Naruto looked at me worriedly and offered his hand. I took it and he pulled me up quickly. "Shizune should be home by now. She'll have something to help with the pain."

I nodded and scooted away from him, blushing a little. "Why the hell am I blushing?" I thought.

"Because you're thinking about Sasuke-kun treating you like that. Because you want Sasuke-kun to treat you like that," came the answer.

Really?

"Hell yeah."

"Sakura-chan, you coming?" I blinked, coming out of my reverie. Naruto had already headed for the dojo's gate. I let out an exasperated sigh and followed after him.

x

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x

"And how did this happen?" Shizune asked while she unwrapped my makeshift splint. I looked toward Naruto, pleading.

"Ah, we were taking a walk by the stream. She slipped on the rocks," he squeaked out.

I nodded vigorously, smiling widely at Shizune. She stood and walked to one of the many cabinets within the room and came back with a wet cloth, a dry cloth, a long, flat piece of metal, and a small jar of a yellowish concoction.

"And you managed to miss the water?" she asked, rubbing my injured arm with the wet cloth to clean it before removing the lid from the jar and smearing the yellow gunk on. It tingled uncomfortably. "You must've been lucky. Although I think that outfit of yours might need a wash."

I smirked nervously. I hadn't gotten a chance to retrieve my original kimono because it was in the palace and was still in my practice uniform. It smelled awful and looked just as bad.

"You're probably right about that…" I mumbled, flinching when she placed the cold metal slip on my wrist. Shizune began wrapping quickly, keeping the metal stable.

"I really hope this doesn't become infected…" Shizune mumbled, furrowing her brow worriedly. I swallowed.

Shizune was nice enough, but she was a bit of a worrywart. When she'd opened the door to see Naruto and his injured friend standing there, she'd lost it for a few moments.

"Sakura-san, try and keep this wrist from moving around a lot for the next two or three days. Ice, compression, and elevation will help with the pain and swelling," Shizune advised me while wrapping the last few feet of fabric. "It's a serious sprain, and the wood from that bokken of Naruto's has left a few cuts that have a chance of getting infected." The medic pinned the brace and I examined her job. Needless to say it was much more professional than Naruto's. "I'm giving you some of this," she continued, holding the jar of whatever she'd rubbed on my arm before me. "Put it on twice a day for the first week, then make sure and come back to see me. I don't want to see you loose an arm over this…"

"Loose an arm?" I ask with wide eyes. "It's just a sprain, right?"

"I've seen it happen," she mumbled. I squeaked. "Oh, and you need a change of clothes, Sakura-san. " I blushed a little, because I knew she was right. I did look awful.

"Yes, that would be wonderful." Shizune nodded and gestured for me to follow her. She slid open a small bedroom and pointed to the changing screen.

"There ought to be something near there," Shizune told me. "Just call if you need anything else." I thanked her as she slid the door closed behind her.

x

Shizune slid her bedroom door shut and sighed. Those two were awful liars, weren't they?

"Naruto-san, I'll be in my office." Shizune called down the hall. "Just make sure Sakura-chan applies the gel each day."

"Sure thing, Shizune-sama!"

Quickly, the dark haired medic gathered her supplies and replaced them on the shelves. Afterward, she moved to her study, clean despite the shelves of medical scrolls within, and situated herself in front of an empty scroll. She reached for a pen, the weird type that her teacher had brought back from her travels, and began scribbling her standard report.

"…badly sprained wrist; shallow lacerations along the arm; bicep muscles sprained as well as muscles along the lower arm. A number of weapon related bruises and cuts to the neck, face, shoulders, etc. Unable to define any injuries elsewhere, but am right to presume they exist.

Patient: Uchiha Sakura

Diagnosis: Sprained wrist.

Other: Remember to inform Tsunade-sama upon her return.

x

---

x

"Sakura-chan, I feel like ramen…" Naruto mumbled as we walked. Night had fallen even before we'd gone to Shizune's home, so by now we were walking around amidst the nightlife of Konohagakure. Couples were smiling happily arm in arm, fathers and mothers were carrying children home after a long day of work or play. The atmosphere was just kind of fuzzy feeling. For the moment, life was nice.

"Sakura-chan," Naruto repeated, with more emphasize, "I. Feel. Like. Ramen."

I tweaked an eyebrow in his direction. "Naruto-san, I'm not paying. Plus," I glanced him up and down, taking in his disheveled hair and dirty clothing, and then pointed to myself, "We're not dressed to eat out-" although Shizune-sama's kimono was much better than my practice one "-I'm tired, and my wrist feels like it's gnawing itself off of my arm."

My blond haired friend hmphed. "You complain too much, Sakura-chan!" Naruto exclaimed, grabbing me by the arm (my uninjured one, thankfully). I let out a surprised screech as he dragged me in the direction of the Ichiraku. I struggled for a moment, only to end up being laughed at when Naruto heard my stomach growling in hunger. I'd had a small lunch, so sue me!

The Ichiraku was busier then it usual was because of the time of the day. Naruto and I had to wait outside a few minutes before a place was ready for us.

Goody…

x

---

x

"So," Naruto began, shoving the ramen he was eating down his throat between sentences, "I was thinking about your training and your arm and everything, and I decided it might be best to take a few days off. You could get a good night sleep and stuff, 'cause I know you haven't gotten much lately. It shows when we spar, and you also have these weird black circles under you eyes all the time. It's not very- Oh, hey, Sasuke."

I was just taking a bite of my ramen, ignoring (without success) Naruto's little rant when I heard his greeting. My eyes bulged and I inhaled sharply, not thinking about the ramen still in my mouth. I tried to breath, coughed (which was more of a weird slurping, choking sound) and swallowed quickly. My bandaged hand was flung under the table and my shoulder twitched in pain when it smacked on the edge. I bit my tongue and scrunched my eyebrows in order to keep from screaming in agony. Gods, I must've looked hilarious.

"Good evening, dobe. Sakura. I had no idea you would be here." His voice told me otherwise.

I looked over my shoulder to see Sasuke directly behind me. He was dressed casually and had a weird smirk playing across his face. Something, I decided, between amusement (probably on my behalf) and anger.

I turned around quickly when I realized I'd been staring, my mouth open. I cleared my throat before saying, "Good evening, Sasuke-kun. What a…surprise."

I looked toward Naruto, whose left eyebrow was tweaked. I cocked my head surreptitiously toward Sasuke and mouthed 'Leave. Now.'

He shrugged his shoulders lightly in confusion. I rubbed the side of my face, as to stop Sasuke from seeing anything I was doing, shot Naruto an angry look and rolled my eyes in the direction of the door. Leave!

Sasuke sat quickly beside me, not even bothering to ask if he could join us. I cursed under my breath and smiled at him nervously.

"Oh, that is just wonderful, isn't it, Sakura-chan?" Naruto said, as he raised his hand and screamed, "Ayame-chan! Miso ramen!" I shuddered a bit when Naruto yelled, because he squeaked toward the end. Sasuke had also been discomforted because he cringed ever so slightly. "So, Bastard, what brings you to the Ichiraku?" Naruto asked sugar sweetly. I could've jumped across the table and maimed, scalped, castrated, and then brutally killed the blond, who was once again stuffing his face with ramen, but decided against it. He'd decided to pay the bill, after all. That was worth keeping him alive for a little bit longer. Yeah, just a little longer.

The only noises to be heard while Ayame fetched Sasuke's ramen was Naruto's animalistic slurping of ramen and the light hum of the rest of the Ichiraku's occupants, who were (unlike me) enjoying a nice meal out.

"So, Sasuke-kun, what brings you to the Ichiraku?" I asked after I'd nibbled on my dinner a little more. Ayame set a large bowl of ramen before him and he shrugged, either in recognition of Ayame or in 'answer' to my question. I furrowed my eyebrows and poked at my food solemnly.

Silence.

Naruto slurping.

More silence.

I sighed and went back to prodding my food.

Sasuke was half finished with his miso ramen and he still hadn't said anything. No one had said anything.

"Well, I…suppose I should head back to the palace," I said hesitantly.

"I'll come with you," Sasuke and Naruto replied simultaneously, although Sasuke sort of mumbled it and Naruto screamed it across the table.

Both men were glaring at each other when I tried to explain that I would be fine on my own. Obviously neither heard because they were too busy glaring at each other.

"I can take her, bastard."

"I insist, dobe…"

"You still have to finish your dinner."

"I'm full already."

"Don't you have some sort of 'official-Hokage-dog' thing to do?"

"I can make time. Besides, I'm paying for your… six bowls, aren't I?"

And now Sasuke and I were walking slowly away from the Ichiraku and toward the Hokage Palace. I would kill Naruto next time I got the chance. I couldn't believe he'd just sold me out for a few bowls of ramen! No, this would require worse punishment. Maybe I'd simply resort to the maim-scalp-castrate plan.

"Well, uh, thank you for walking with me, Sasuke-kun. It is a pleasant evening to spend together." Oh gods, that sounded so tasteless.

My right hand throbbed a little and I attempted to move my sleeve down more to hid the bandage. The next chance I got I would take this damn splint off!

"It's satisfyingly…warm," Sasuke replied dryly. I coughed to hide a chuckle, picturing him twitching with the effort of pleasantries.

"Was your day just as satisfying?"

"Hn."

"I'm glad."

We walked in silence for a bit, making our way toward the palace in a slow fashion and keeping away from the main walkways. We were lucky, not one person was around to disturb us, giving us a chance to talk. Or at the least spend time together. The waxing moon looked nice as well.

I turned toward Sasuke with a smirk on my face, relishing in the way he looked flustered and irritated just because of our casual conversation. It was nice, I admit, to see him in such a vulnerable state when he was usually so guarded.

Sasuke stopped suddenly and I collided with his arm as he lifted it in front of my path.

"What is it, Sasuke-kun?" I asked with a tweaked eyebrow, slowly lowering his arm. He allowed it, although he shot me a ferocious look.

"Head back to the Ichiraku. You can get Naruto to walk with you later."

My eyes widened a little bit in surprise. "But, you just said-"

"Shut up," Sasuke hissed, turning his glare away from me to examine his surroundings. I don't know what scared me more: the fact that he was so angry with me for no apparent reason, or the chance that I was about to find out why.

"Sasuke-kun…"

A laugh sounded from behind us. Sasuke withdrew his katana from its sheath and turned slowly around. I followed suite, placing my left hand on my chest; on top of my obi and directly above the throwing star hidden within the fabric. I only wished that I could use my right, but it was useless because of my wound.

"She can stay," a woman mumbled.

"Of course! No problem, Sasuke-kun."

"Oh, this'll be fun. Don't you think so, Zaku?"

"Stop playing around, Kin. Zaku, you know what He'll do to you if you screw this up."

I squinted a little, taking in two shadowy figures against the soft lamps and moonlight that gave the street its eerie feeling.

The taller was male, going by the lean figure and broad shoulders. The shorter was a woman with extremely long hair and sharp, black eyes. Both had devilish smirks playing at their lips.

"Yeah, we know, Dosu." The male, Zaku I presumed, replied as he stretched his arms, reminding me of someone yawning. A swishing sound followed up the flash of two blades, one attached to each of his arms.

The girl, younger then me maybe, withdrew two sinbon from a pouch on her thigh. She tweaked an eyebrow when she caught me observing her and jiggled the hand holding her weapons. I cringed when a high-pitched ringing sound reached my ears.

"Weak, both of you," the girl stated, silencing her bells. "I'm thinking this will be much too easy to have fun with."

Zaku let out a barky laugh. "Might as well try to enjoy ourselves!" he yelled, charging toward Sasuke, who held his katana at the ready.

Kin, the girl, had not move, opting to continue smirking at me. I allowed myself a full-blown smile as I withdrew my throwing stars, not forgetting the kunai I had hidden in my small thigh holster. I drew my hand back in precisely the way Naruto had taught me and moved to release, although it was awkward because I was so used to using my right hand, which was immobilized due to my injury.

The moment I stepped forward in preparation, however, both my wrists were grabbed. My right was twisted back and I screamed as pain seared up my entire arm. The hand holding the shuriken was pressed against the side of my neck. I felt my own weapon slice through my skin.

"Hold it, girl." Another voice. The first voice I had heard. Dosu? Dosu! How could I have forgotten the third person!

"Don't do anything."

I snapped my head in the direction of my husband's voice, my kimono now feeling sticky and wet at the shoulder. Zaku had the tip of both arm blades positioned in front of Sasuke's throat, whose head was tilted up sharply. His breathing was forcibly steadied in order to prevent the threatening weapons from applying a fatal cut.

"Sasuke, Orochimaru needs to speak with you again," Dosu said. We were so close that I could feel the vibrations of his deep voice.

"It concerns your brother."


x

Author's Notes: Gasp! Orochimaru-sama is mentioned! Along with Weasel-kun! And I was almost sorta kinda on time with my update (but not really)! Yay!

So, yeah, the reviews are still blowing me away. I am so glad you all like my story and a really hope you enjoyed reading this chapter. Next chapter should be all action packed and shit! Woot!

Oh, I have received some sage counsel from the great Josie. She informed me that Sasuke seemed a little weird in this chapter, and if any of you awesome reviewers are in agreement, than you are right to think so because I have (purposely) written him an itty bitty bit OOC. This will be explained in later chapters due to my obnoxious tendency to create mysterious, confusing, and sometimes pointless plot twists. (hint hint)

And I really feel like writing a one shot again. So I'm going to make a contest thing! (Way to go with the crowd, Acoustical...) Whoever has the 325th review gets a one shot! Yay!(?) And, if said reviewer feels like being extra nice, they can go to my profile and pick out a couple there! Lots to choose from! You know you want to! ;D

So, review! You know you want to press the big, perdie button! Come on! Press it now!

-evil smirk- Or I'll have a change or heart and give into my inner yaoi fangirl! Can we say SasuNaru? I think we can! Bwuhahahahaha! Hahaha! Ha…ha…

Yeah, just review…

((Wowzers, lots of author's notes this time. D))