A/N - warning angst alert. This was also posted on my tumblr! Happy sasusaku month~

six: not your fault

prompt: sasuke falls into a coma after the war/sasuke attempts suicide

universe: post-canon

rating: T

There wasn't a day that passed in which she didn't visit him.

"She's taking it real bad," Naruto sighed, his eyes dull. His chopsticks meshed the ramen around, and for once in his life, Naruto didn't want the remainder of his bowl. "With Kakashi gone, Sasuke in a coma…I just don't know how to help her right now."

Shikamaru glanced at Naruto thoughtfully. A lot had happened in the war. Lives were lost. Neji, Kakashi, Ino's father, and many others died to protect their village. This time of peace felt suffocated by a blanket of death. Every corner was a reminder of a memory shared with a deceased loved one. Shikamaru wondered if this was how Sasuke had felt after his clan had been slaughtered.

"All I can say is just keep doing what you're doing," he settled evenly, "You're the only thing that makes her smile at all these days."

Naruto nodded, indulging in a half smile that fell two seconds later. "…yeah."

"Don't you have a date with Hinata later?" Shikamaru asked, changing the subject. Naruto blushed, scratching the back of his head.

"Well it's not a date really, but we're supposed to hangout later…"

Shikamaru smirked. "It's a date."

"You're still here?" Ino asked, entering the hospital room. Everything was sickeningly white, save for the blotch of black on the bed. He always did look out of place, Ino thought sadly, turning her gaze to her best friend. "I thought I told you to go home hours ago."

Sakura didn't move her gaze from Sasuke, but answered in a small voice, "I did. I went home, ate, showered, and now I'm back."

Ino sighed, pushing back her bangs. "Sakura, you can't keep this up. Look, I know that this hurts but you just have to-"

"You have no idea!" Sakura accused shakily, finally turning to look at the blonde. Her eyebrows scrunched together in anguish, lower lip wobbling, voice cracking. She looked a mess, all pale with dark bags under her eyes.

Ino did nothing but stare back for a moment. "I have an idea," she murmured quietly, an image of her father coming to mind.

Sakura – seeming to notice her faux pas, blushed in embarrassment. "Ino, I'm sorry, I didn't mean-"

"It's okay," Ino cut off, giving Sakura a tight smile, "I just wanted to make sure you were okay. I'll just go now."

"Ino I'm sorry."

The only answered Sakura received was the soft click clack of Ino's sandals as they disappeared down the hallway.

Sakura stared at the sleeping boy on the bed, heart clenching painfully. Her mind couldn't stop replaying the last seconds before Sasuke had been knocked out. She remembered the sheer terror she felt, thinking, believing,he was going to die. Trying desperately, pouring every ounce of chakra into him…

"Sakura! It's no use, he's-"

"DON'T! Don't you dare say it! He's fine, he's going to be fine."

"What are you doing Sakura? Don't waste the Yin Seal on him! He's a traitor!"

"He's as good as dead."

Sakura closed her eyes tightly, fingers clutching her hair as a shaky sob escaped her lips. Her eyes were dry, but sore. It seemed she'd cried so much over the past week that she's finally run out of tears.

Leaning forward, Sakura buried her face in his chest as she'd done all those years ago in the Land of Waves. The first time she thought he was going to die. It was a feeling she'd never hoped to experience again, and yet here she was…

"Sasuke-kun…please…w-wake up…"

Lifting her head slightly, and turning it to face him, Sakura brought her hand to his face. She touched his cheek shyly, almost as if his eyes would snap open as soon as her skin made contact with his. But they didn't. Emboldened slightly, she cupped his cheek, tracing her thumb across his lips. She ghosted across his nose, reassured by the slow, subtle, puffs of air that escaped from them, along with the gentle rise and fall of his chest.

The beeping of the IV did nothing to calm her, but this…touching him…feeling his heart beating…seeing him breathing…this was enough for now.

It had to be.

Sakura splashed water on her face, turning the sink faucet off. She stared at the mirror in apathy, not even recognizing her own reflection. The girl before her was gray, dull, lifeless. She was weak and helpless; a lovesick little girl with too high hopes and a heavy heart.

It was three am and nearly everyone was gone from the hospital. At this time of dire need, there weren't enough medics to stay during all hours of the night.

Sakura, practically living here since the war, had offered to take night watches.

Walking back to his room, she was shocked to hear rattling from inside.Could he be…?

Her leisurely walk quickly increased to a sprint as she rushed to his room. Relief, and a burst of happiness surged through her veins. He was okay!Sasuke-kun…Sasuke, I'm here….I'm here…I'm-

A gasp erupted from her throat at the sight before her.

Sasuke had climbed out of bed, pulling the IV with him, and stumbled his way across the room to the counter. The cabinets were open, supplies strewn about. His back was to her.

"Sasuke-kun…you shouldn't be standing!" Sakura exclaimed, taking a step into the room hesitantly.

He turned swiftly, eyes wide. He wasn't expecting her. "Sakura…" he croaked weakly.

Sakura rushed to his side in an instant, spinning him around to find blood seeping down his arm. Her heart stopped in that moment, froze. His other hand clutched a scalpel, and she realized that he did this to himself.

Her hands flew to his wrist, pressing against the wound, not at all caring about the blood that stained her hands. "Why?" she sobbed, feeling her world crashing and closing in on her. Why did Kami love to torture her so? Why would he want to do this?

"There's nothing left for me," he explained quietly. "I never meant to live past the war."

A sickening realization dawned upon her: he'd meant to get hit by that attack.

"No!" she protested, hands glowing green. He'd cut so deep, and the blood spurted past her hands. He'd cut the main artery… He's losing too much…"No, no, Sasuke-kun you can't leave me. You can't. After all this time…"

Sasuke closed his eyes, dropping the kunai and trying to pull her hand from the cut. "Sakura, stop."

"Just let go." He demanded softly, gently.

But she just shook her head, vision becoming blurry. It seemed there were more tears, after all. "I can't."

Sasuke – with a surprising amount of strength for someone who'd just been in a coma for weeks, pried her hand away. "Please," he begged.

All Sakura could do was stare, sobs wracking her entire body in spasms. "Why? Why do you want to leave me again? I tried so hard to bring you back…"

A rush of dizziness overcame Sasuke, and he found himself dropping to his knees unstably. Sakura sunk down with him. "I want…to be with Itachi…" he managed slowly.

But Sasuke you can be with me! With Naruto!

The edges of his vision were becoming black, but he could still see her bright green eyes staring worriedly back at him. If he'd had a heart at all, it would have broken at the sight. But she had to understand, there was nothing leftfor him here. He wouldn't, couldn't be happy. There was nothing her or Naruto could have done.

"…Why wasn't I enough? Why can't I ever be enough…?"

Her face buried itself in the crook of his neck as she clutched his body to hers. For a moment, Sasuke was content. He hadn't been held like this since he was a child, and he found himself relaxing in her embrace, resting his forehead against her shoulder.

He turned his head so that his lips touched the shell of her ear. "This isn't your fault, Sakura…"

It was becoming more difficult to talk by the second. But he knew he had to hold on long enough to give her closure. She deserved it. In a fevered desperation, Sakura pulled back and clutched his head between her sticky, bloody hands. She pressed her lips to his in one final, bittersweet goodbye, because damnit she at least deserved this much from him!

All these years of her trying to bring him back…all these years of loving him…

She felt him exhale into the kiss, his head suddenly becoming heavier to hold, and Sakura pulled away, alarmed.

Sure enough, his eyes were closed.