title: slow and steady wins the race
rating: T
prompt/pairing: sasusaku/don't remember, the beginning of this is actually over a year old.

When they begin, they take it slow.

Because it's Sasuke and Sakura and there are too many expectations, too many stereotypes, too many years, too many heartbreaks. It's neither's fault, but the damage is done. All they can do is cope.

But Sakura is a patient girl, a patient woman, and she doesn't measure their love, their beginnings and endings in the big things. She isn't looking for a happily ever after, complete with a ring and three children and MrandMrsUchiha ad nauseum, instead it's all the nights where he waits for her after the late shift at the hospital, the times when he allows her to hold him after a particularly bad storm, where he literally melds himself into her arms and his guard is finally, finally down.

Sakura takes these moments-the spring mornings that they spend walking in the park, the barely there kisses that he sometimes presses to her forehead-and stores them, carefully and tenderly, in her chest. They are what she curls up with when he has another one of his spells, when he's quiet and taciturn, when, even though they could be sitting side by side, he might as well not be there at all.

When Sasuke is gone to another place,-of family and blood, duty and sacrifices- one that she can never reach, she will pull these memories out, and they are like old friends that comfort her when she is alone. They keep her sane on the really bad days, when he is especially cutting, letting loose caustic remarks, little quips and put downs that reduce her to twelve all over again, clueless and heartbroken, lying on a cold stone bench.

Those days though, grow fewer and more far between, and Sasuke always, always apologizes afterward, (no, almost never in words but in the small bunch of handpicked wildflowers on her desk the next day or in her favorite food waiting for her at breakfast the next morning, the kisses he presses in public like so many I'm sorry's to her nape) so to Sakura, it is alright, and she calls it Progress.

And then one day they aren't beginning anymore, they're in the thick of it, grooves worn so deep into each others lives-grooves that only each other could fill-that she doesn't know what she'd do without him anymore; he's become a part of the unfaltering rhythm of her day. She hates coming home to an empty house when he's away on missions, and even though he says nothing, she knows he hates sleeping alone-she kept the nightmares at bay, he'd let slip once in the aftermath of their sweat slicked bodies.

She doesn't need to pull those old memories of theirs out for comfort anymore because they're making so many new pieces of themselves (not just Sasuke or Sakura but them-us, she mouths, over and over again, us) every day, so many in fact that she stops framing the moments when he kisses her of his own accord because he does it every day now, every morning, it's a part of their ritual, and she's also stopped numbering all the times he takes her hand in public because she'd have lost count-he doesn't do it all the time no, Sasuke will never be as touchy feely as that but he does do it enough (when she looks particularly tired after a mission or a hospital shift or when they're on a real, normal date) to make it normal, if never routine.

And when he finally proposes, even though it's been four years since they've been in an official relationship, three since they've been living together and two and a half since they've been sleeping together, they begin again, and this time there is no lingering darkness and nightmares don't chase Sasuke in his sleep. This time there is only light and laughter and the soft, silken sweep of her wedding kimono glinting in the sunshine.

This time there are no bad memories holding either one of them down, and when Sasuke pulls her into his arms after the ceremony and kisses her in front of all their assembled friends, he whispers the future into her ears, and Sakura smiles.

a/n: No, I'm not dead! But the only reason I'm writing fagain is because of SasuSaku Month, a monthlong event on LJ that I'm cohosting that's dedicated to reviving our favorite ship with a month full of prompts and fun fun fun (cue the cheesy music)! Definitely check the event out! Anyways, this is the start of a new drabble collection full of sasusaku/Team 7 goodness. Feel free to give me prompts and requests in a review (or PM, if you're so inclined)! My writing's a bit rusty, but I hope you enjoyed anyways. And for those of you who actually remember/care, the next chapter in Revolution's actually half written, so no, I haven't abandoned that either.

Thanks for reading, and remember that feedback's always appreciated!