A/N: Okay, I suck. I haven't updated for months, and I'm pretty sure this chapter isn't really that great. Sigh. Sorry guys, it's just that I've just started college, and it's pretty hard to get by. But I guess you can all guess why I managed to update today. Yeaaaah. It's Sasuke's birthday tomorrow! And because I love him, here's a chapter dedicated to him. Oh and are you all excited for Road To Ninja? Because I totally am. SasuSaku fanservice!

Disclaimer: Nope, I don't own Naruto. If I did, I wouldn't wait for an AU movie for some SasuSaku lurve.


Title: Let Me Help
Prompt: routine
Dedicated to: Chin & Sarah

.

.

.

It was starting again.

After hearing the soft rustling from his side of the bed, Sakura was sure of what Sasuke would do next.

In the safety of their bedroom, he would begin his frenzied movements, like a fish struggling to get free of a mighty net. His grips on the sheets were so tight that his knuckles turned white, beads of sweat dripping down his anguished face.

Whenever Sasuke was haunted by his nightmares, he would mumble incoherent things. He would groan and grumble like he was in pain. Pain that seemed to beat the feeling of his own Chidori though his chest. But he did not talk. He did not cry. He did not accept her. For each time she tried to cage him in her thin arms, his eyes would snap open and he would turn away, as if he was disgusted by her touch.

But in reality, he thought that she should be the one disgusted. She has touched a monster who has probably unknowingly marred her skin a million times.
((When he told her this, she simply snorted and bitterly said, "Forget the skin. Think of my heart."))

And then he would eventually fall back to sleep. Back to the dark places that his mind sadistically tailored especially for him. Back to the horrifying abyss of "If only you were strong enough." and "You killed him. He loved you all along but you killed him." And the nightmares would start again. She, in turn, would no longer dare to touch him, in fear of adding another rejection to the never-ending list.

((It has grown considerably long and sometimes when she consults it she wonders just how they ended up like this.))

He dies again and again and again while she stares, frightened that she'll lose him once more. If that happens, she knows she wouldn't be able to handle it anymore. Then suddenly her cheeks are wet and she is already crying. Crying for his sake, in his place. But before all of those she is crying for her, for him, for them, because she has failed again.

(("He'll never be the same." "I know. I know." "You'll just hurt yourself." "I'll try. If he won't, then I will."))

So Sakura finally breaks through the mask that she learned from Sasuke himself. The mask that she had on to hide her inner self. The mask was gone, shattered, and Sakura was here. She was not a medic today. She was not a kunoichi this night. She was Sakura Uchiha, the wife of a former missing-nin. She did not have to pretend that she was strong like her shishou. There was no one around to impress. To prove to that she wasn't the same little girl that everyone left behind. And soon she finds herself succumbing to her own demons, and she turns away from Sasuke, ashamed. She was better off than him, but he wasn't crying.

((She didn't know that Sasuke preferred her with the mask off. That he liked, even loved, the Sakura who would rely on him. The one who gave him the duty to protect, not to get revenge.))

It would always be around this time that Sasuke would wake up. He would see Sakura's back turned to him, tremors running through her entire figure. He would sigh and pull her close. Sakura would not push him away, because unlike her husband, she needed him.

((Again, she didn't know that Sasuke found comfort in the fact that her shivering body was against his. In the fact that someone was actually with him and loved him and considered him as family. He needed her as much as she needed him.))

"S-Sasuke-kun." Her broken whispers would be muffled against his already wet shirt, and he would not offer a reply. He would just simply continue to hold her, coal eyes staring outside the window, at the stars.

((One time, Sakura caught his gaze and felt her heart drop. He wasn't even looking at her.))

He would hold her until he cannot hear her sobs and whimpers. When he is sure that she's already sleeping, he would carefully remove his arms, making sure that she wouldn't be disturbed. He would pull up the cover until it reached her chin and until she is fully covered. He would then turn the other way and sleep for the remaining two hours.

((She didn't know that Sasuke was thinking of their parents as he stared at the stars. That he was asking for strength not to break down. He didn't want to trouble her while she wept. She had enough on her plate.))

The wife would always wake up earlier, enjoying the view of a peaceful Sasuke in slumber. She would poke his face and giggle when he scrunches up his nose. Her smile would then disappear as scenes from last night's events would resurface.

((Sakura didn't know a lot of things.))

But Sasuke didn't know a lot of things as well.

That she was the one who begged the Hokage to spare him.

That she never stopped loving him even during the years when he was away.

That he had moments during the night.

That he hurts her every time.

She had promised herself (them) that she would protect him. Even from himself.

(("Sakura." "Yes, Sasuke-kun?" "Did I... last night..." "What do you mean? You were sleeping like a log, silly!"))

Yes, that was their routine. Every night, without fail.

((But sometimes she gets tired of it all, tired of having to pretend that everything's okay.))

Groan.

"Sasuke-kun?"

((Sometimes she wishes she could talk with him.))

Groan.

"Ugh."

"S-Sasuke-kun?"

((That she could finally save him.))

"Ugh. Ugh."

"Sasuke-kun!"

((That she could finally save them.))

"Sasuke-kun! Are you okay?"

"S-Sakura!"

And that night, he didn't push her away.

((This was a start.))


A/N: Angsty Birthday to you, Sasuke! Now get your butt back to Konoha!