Theme: ...only serving to show how uncreative I am with titles - Nightmare
Rating: T, pretty much for the violent dream sequence in the very beginning.
The blood red sky barely contrasted with the sickening and similarly colored ground, making what was simply the horizon a blurry presence as if the color of the earth was slowly seeping upward. Though, to the man running through the street, katana in hand, shirt soaked well and through with the deaths of his own people, it was hardly worth noticing. Every face he came upon was one he'd known all his life, and their expressions systematically turned from angry or fearful to lifeless. He wouldn't even look at the children; that at least was too much to bear as he felt the resistance of his blade pulling roughly through bodies.
Somewhere deep in the recesses of sense, a consciousness was screaming for it to stop, trying in vain to stop the arms from butchering any more of his Clan. When the murderer came upon who the consciousness recognized as his own parents, it was all he could do to scream his protestations, unheard in the mind of the killer despite the consciousness' horrifying awareness of the slick rending of his family.
It wasn't until the unrepentant murderer looked up that the consciousness saw the tear-stained and terrified face of himself as a child.
"Shit!" Shikamaru cursed as he realized the raven-haired man who shared his bed was thrashing in the throes of another nightmare. His second bedmate was already awake and attempting to still the sleeping man, her worried white eyes going back and forth between the two men while she held the fitful man down by his shoulders in an attempt to prevent him from hurting himself.
"How long has he been like this?" the Nara asked the young woman.
She pulled the slumbering man's clawing hand off her nightshirt and held him by the wrist. "N-not long. I only just woke up myself."
The two didn't even bother trying to wake up their suffering companion; they'd experienced this enough times to know using outside influences was impossible. They woke up merely to protect himself and wait out the worst of it.
"Hinata, help me sit him up," Shikamaru instructed. The young woman nodded and did her best to position herself behind their sleep partner, who moaned incoherently while flingling his limbs erratically. She pushed him up from the shoulders as the Nara grabbed him around the waist to assist.
"S-shikamaru," Hinata called over the sleeper's twitching shoulder as she hugged him round him middle to minimize his movement. "This seems like one of the more violent nightmares." She held fast, her bed-frazzled head resting against the sleeping man's bare back.
Dammit, Sasuke, Shikamaru thought as he gripped the flailing Uchiha's wrists to keep him from injuring all three of them. Though Sasuke was thrashing violently, his head fell limp on Shikamaru's shoulder. It made it much easier to keep the Uchiha from giving himself a concussion.
Long minutes passed as the Hyuuga and Nara held their companion in the darkness, moonlight streaming through the nearby window and highlighting their struggle. Sporadic mumbling and moaning gradually crescendoed to consistent wails and yells. Flailing limbs turned into frenzied and violent convulsions to the point where Shikamaru couldn't even keep the Uchiha's head safely still without risking his own head injury. Whether she knew it or not, Shikamaru always chose to be in front of the nightmare-suffering Uchiha because his arms couldn't reach Hinata when she held him from behind. It was one less thing to worry about.
When Shikamaru was sure he just barely dodged an inadvertent headbutt into oblivion he decided to pull their Ace.
"Hinata, time for the last resort."
She looked up, dark circles under her tear-shined eyes. The two silently moved into the position that proved time and again the most effective. The Nara held strong as he guided the other man's body back to a prone state. He quickly made the hand seals for his shadow jutsu, twining the dark tendrils around Sasuke's convulsing body to hold him down. When Shikamaru was sure the shadows had most of the grunt work taken care of, he leaned down to hold Sasuke's head still in a gentle yet firm grip. The small Hyuuga woman hiked up her sleep shorts and straddled the man's chest and used her knees to press his shoulders into the mattress to minimize the twisting of Sasuke's torso; what she was about to do required intense focus and concentration. After she exchanged a nod of readiness with Shikamaru, she activated her Byakugan and drew herself closer to Sasuke's face, sweat beading on his furrowed brow.
She lightly placed the tips of her thumbs' tenketsu down on his closed eyes, resting her fingers on the sides of Sasuke's face for leverage. His eyes were moving frantically under his closed lids and she dared not blink so she wouldn't miss her chance. Down, right, left, down, up, and back around. She waited patiently for his pupils to fall in line with her positioned thumbs. If she didn't get this angle right, she could permanently blind him.
There! It happened within a split of a split second, and she shot the thinnest possible streams of chakra through the tenketsu in her thumbs directly into the Uchiha's optic nerves. His body tensed for a moment, then quieted. Hinata dismounted him as he took in shuddering breaths, and she and Shikamaru took up their previous positions as they sat Sasuke up again, groggy in a lighter phase of sleep. This time, they held their companion to comfort rather than protect, the Uchiha's wet and racking sobs muffled in the Nara's shoulder, his shirt gripped for dear life and picking up wet splotches, while the Hyuuga held him close around his chest, stroking his hair and whispering soft assurances.
The nightmares were getting fewer and farther between, though they never got easier to deal with. Ever since Sasuke inherited his brother's eyes, he'd began having what seemed to be Itachi's visions of the past, which made the younger brother's already horrific nightmares even worse when seen from the elder brother's eyes with his role as the murderer of the entire Uchiha Clan. It was years before Shikamaru and Hinata's then-fruitless research resulted in their unique method of halting the nightmares. It was extremely risky and only used in the worst situations, and even then only when they were both present.
Since the three would never discuss the events of a nightmare-filled night the following morning, they weren't sure what Sasuke saw after the chakra charge debilitating the Sharingan's nightmare visions, but judging by how quickly he fell back to otherwise peaceful sleep, they imagined it had to be better than what he was seeing before.
Though, in the mornings following such events, it was always nice to find Sasuke had quietly made breakfast for them.