The Fourth Dimension

Hey! This is the first Naruto fic I've written in a while. This is officially a one-shot, but the ending leaves room for a lot of story afterwards. I have a lot of things planned that occur after this fic, but I'm not great at finishing stories, but this is finished and works as a stand-alone. Right now it's a one shot, but I might expand on it someday. I hope you like it! I'm extremely particular about spelling and grammar so please don't hesitate to let me know if I missed something! It's 3:17 and I basically just sat down for a few hours and pounded it out so I'm sure there's something somewhere.

For those of you to whom it matters: this story contains bits of slash. In my opinion, this isn't a romance, but the first half of the story does contain two men doing very, very NOT graphic romantic things, which is necessary for the plot of the fic. If this is going to be an issue for you please do not read it.

There really shouldn't be anything triggering in here that I can think of. There are some parts that could potentially, if you squint really hard, be construed as someone trying to coerce a character into intimacy, but there is no sex whatsoever and I don't think anyone should have issues with it. Still, if you're sensitive to that stuff be forewarned (although as I mentioned in the tags the intimacy is PG at most).

Prologue

The sun was shining brightly over the Village Hidden in Leaves. True to its name, the Fire Country tended to have summers that were almost stiflingly hot and humid. Travelers from milder nations, like Tea Country or Rice country often complained about the weather, preferring to visit Konoha in the autumn when the temperature was milder and the leaves displayed an impressive array of colors. Izumo had always been partial to summer though. Maybe it was because he'd grown up in the village, but he always felt like Konoha was far livelier that time of year. When one knew the right ways to use their chakra, the intense rays of the sun weren't as punishing. Plus there was something cheerful about the way the light glinted off the many streams and rivers throughout the village, and the ancient Hashirama trees almost seemed to strengthen and become more vibrant under the summer sun.

"How you can be so damn cheerful when it's this miserably hot baffles me year after year."

It didn't hurt that Kotetsu always whined about the heat. Izumo got a sense of perverse pleasure, being able to rub his comfort in his partner's face. It was a sort of sadistic revenge for always having to drag the lazy man around.

Izumo shielded his eyes with his hand, and then glanced up from his desk. The spiky-haired brunet was staring down at him, exasperated. Kotetsu's hip was cocked, one hand resting on his waist while the other wiped at his brow. Izumo couldn't keep his eyes from tracking an errant drop of sweat making its way down the other man's collar.

"You're late, Ko'," he chimed brightly. "And it's not my fault that you don't have good enough chakra control keep yourself cool."

"Izumo, you're the only ninja in the whole village who can rouse himself on time for gate-duty in the middle of a heat wave," Kotetsu sniped irritably. He pointedly ignored the jab at his skill with chakra.

The chunin narrowed his eyes up at his friend from his seat. "Oh? So we should have just left these sitting wide open, unattended?" Izumo waved at the enormous wooden doors that served as the main entrance into Konoha. "Guarding the gate is one of the most important jobs a chunin can be assigned. It shows that the Hokage trusts us to be the first line of defense into the-"

"First line of defense into the village, watching out for the merchants whose trade we rely on, Will of Fire, protect our home, blah, blah, blah," interrupted Kotetsu. "Yes, I'm familiar with this lecture, intimately. I've heard it at least a hundred times since we became chunin, and I wish that was an exaggeration."

"Kotetsu!" griped Izumo, "You know I hate it enough when you show up to your missions late. Belittling our job isn't exactly getting you out of the dog house here."

Rather than look contrite, the other chunin grinned, and placed his hands flat on the table in front of Izumo, so that he was leaning over him. "C'mon… you're not too mad at me, are you?"

Izumo leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. He adopted his best 'unimpressed' look and stayed silent, knowing that his partner was far too skillful at twisting his words. The silent treatment tended to yield the best results when he needed Kotetsu to do something.

Unfortunately, the other man was stubborn. He leaned even closer, so that their noses were almost touching. The grin slipped off his face, instead replaced by a small, coy upward quirk of the corners of his mouth. His eyes darkened with intent. "Really Izumo?" Kotetsu whispered, drawing his name out slowly, each syllable separated so that he felt three puffs of air against his lips. "There's nothing I can do to make you forgive me."

Flustered, the chunin put his hands on his partner's shoulders, intending to push him away but not quite managing to muster up the willpower necessary.

"Kotetsu! We're on duty! You know I can't- mmmph…"

Izumo was cut off as his friend's lips met his own. His hands tightened on the man's shoulders, grip painfully tight half in punishment for distracting him and half out of a desire to pull him closer. Kotetsu's eyes flashed with mirth, knowing that he'd won. Really, the overgrown child was insufferable every time he got out of trouble through a kiss…

Every time?

He must have frozen, because Kotetsu backed up, and looked at him with concern. "Hey, do I have a funny taste in my mouth or something?" he tried to joke, but the seated man could still detect the worry in his tone.

Izumo paid him no mind however, rising from his chair and glancing around frantically.

"Something's not right Ko'… there's something about this that's… wrong."

"Wrong how? 'Zumo everything's perfect. It's miserably hot- which you love. We're on gate duty- which you also love. And I don't think I need to tell you that you're with the person you love."

"Of course I love you," he frowned, distracted, "but…" Ignoring Kotetsu's confused glance, he brought his hands together in a Ram seal. There was no way that this-

Izumo smirked at the Akatsuki member stuck in his Syrup Trap, unconscious. Upon first glance, his technique looked like a normal water jutsu, sprayed harmlessly over the ground; however, anyone who stepped foot on it would become helplessly entangled in the viscous fluid. Only those who knew the trick to traversing over it (a secret that was limited to himself and his partner) could escape it unscathed. The technique is what had made him and Kotetsu known throughout the Elemental countries. Very few opponents could avoid it, and in combination with his partner's expertise with various weaponry, they were a duo feared by missing nin all over the world.

"I feel bad for him you know?"

Izumo glanced over Kotetsu. The man hadn't resealed his conch mace, and the giant shell-like bludgeon rested harmlessly on top of the Syrup Trap.

"Why's that?"

"Well, he was already out cold before you kicked him in the ribs. I think you might've broken a few."

Izumo huffed, but couldn't quite keep his grin off his face. "Well, if that Akatsuki bastard wanted to be treated nicely then he shouldn't have threatened my home."

"Woah! Cursing from our little goody-two-shoes Izumo Kamizuki?" the other nin whistled, "Now I really know he pissed you off."

He didn't rise to the bait, instead glaring at the figure on the ground, particularly his black cloak adorned with crimson clouds. "After what their leader tried to do to Konoha? The very existence of that organization is an insult to every one of us."

Kotetsu placed a placating hand on his shoulder. "Yeah," he smiled, "But we drove him off. Konoha's still standing strong, and as long as we're around it's going to stay that way, alright?"

Izumo relaxed a bit, grateful as ever for his friend's support. "Somehow you always know what to say to make me feel better." The other man looked skeptical, so he continued. "Alright, alright. So all the times where you're not driving me totally insane with your laziness, lack of gratitude, and lecherous ways… then you always know what to say to make me better."

The brunet started to laugh, but quickly cut himself off when a masked Anbu member dropped down from the branches above them.

"Sir! We're ready to transport the prisoner. Should we take him or do you want to oversee it yourselves?"

Kotetsu glanced his way, deferring to his judgement as always. Izumo frowned in thought. The woman in front of them, clad in the gray, sleeveless vest common to all Anbu members as well as a stylized rabbit mask didn't move a muscle while she waited for his answer.

"No, we beat him up pretty well. You all should be able to handle it from here without any issues."

"Yes sir!" she acknowledged, before signaling to her team.

He could feel Kotetsu practically vibrating with impatience next to him, but the man waited dutifully as Izumo dismissed his Syrup Trap so that the Anbu team could gather up the unconscious Akatsuki member. It wasn't until their chakra signatures ventured to the edge of their perception that his partner made his move.

"Ugh," Izumo grunted softly, surprised at how fast Kotetsu had pinned him up against the nearest tree. While he was the more skilled of the two of them when it came to ninjutsu, the other man was definitely physically stronger than him due to all his practice with his weapons arsenal. He couldn't help but be thrilled at the fact that his friend could pin him down.

"Kotetsu…" he chided, but they both knew his heart wasn't in it.

The shorter man (only by a centimeter and a half! As he would always insist) captured both his wrists and pinned them against the trunk above their heads.

"Izumo," he breathed, and Gods but the man's husky voice always made his resolve weak, "Can you give me the lecture about mission professionalism when we get back to the village? You know that watching you beat up on bad guys always makes me so fucking hot."

"Shit," Izumo cursed as Kotetsu pressed their bodies together. There wasn't even an inch of space in between them, and he ached for his partner's touch. He'd always wished-

"I want you so badly Izumo." His friend ground their hips together, and his eyes closed in pleasure, almost involuntarily. "Won't you let me give you what you want?"

It was perfect. Everything was perfect. It was like all of his dreams come true. The two of them, elite ninja… Konoha's finest, and head over heels in love. Still, there was something nagging at the back of his mind, like an itch between his shoulder blades that he couldn't quite reach. He turned his head away from Kotetsu's, although the man just took that as an invitation to kiss his neck. It almost succeeded at distracting him.

"Wait, Ko', something's not right."

"What do you mean something's not right?" Kotetsu frowned. "This is what you want, Izumo. I know that this is what you want."

Izumo pushed at his friend, and was surprised at the amount of resistance Kotetsu put up. Still he managed to free his hands from the other man's grasp.

"Of course this is what I want. I love you. It's just that… Gods something just seems wrong."

Kotetsu leaned a little closer to him, resting his hands on the bark behind Izumo's back, like brackets around him. "Please," he pleaded imploringly. "Just let me make you happy. You can be so happy."

The itching feeling grew stronger, until it was almost like a buzz in his ear, strange and foreign.

"No, Kotetsu, I think…"

It was like he couldn't verbalize his thoughts, like there was a block on the words, but his instincts honed over years as a ninja kicked in, and he brought his hands together in a Ram seal. Kotetsu's expression appeared, strangely, almost panicked for a moment. He felt a twinge of regret for causing the look on his friend's face, but he had to-

Sunlight streamed gently through the open window. It was summertime, Izumo's favorite part of the year, but the oppressive heat that was the trademark of Fire Country summers hadn't quite appeared yet, due to the early hour of the morning. A gentle breeze caused the bedsheets to flutter, but he held them down so that they wouldn't rouse Kotetsu sleeping next to him. He just hoped that the pile of dirty laundry stacked precariously on the chair in the corner of the room wouldn't fall and cause a ruckus. Kotetsu really was a slob.

Izumo couldn't help but laugh quietly at the state of his friend's bedroom. He'd spent years when they were teenagers trying to instill some discipline in his partner. The fact that the clothes were stacked on the chair, semi-contained, rather than spread haphazardly all over the room was the only testament to his efforts.

"What'chu laughing at, huh?"

Izumo turned to look at Kotetsu, letting the wind ruffle the bedsheets since the man was apparently already awake.

"Just reminiscing," he said quietly, before his breath caught in his throat.

Kotetsu was looking up at him fondly, a soft look on his face. For once the other man didn't have that ridiculous bandage strapped across his cheeks, covering the bridge of his nose. Sometimes Izumo could hardly believe how handsome his friend was, or how much he wanted him. The sheets were pooled at their waists, and his partner's naked torso was on full display. He had more than a few nicks and scars, evidence of over a decade of work as a ninja, but it didn't detract from his beauty. He had the physique of a ninja, hard muscles and sharp planes. Izumo couldn't help but run his fingers through the hair on the other man's chest; he loved the contrast between the softness of the fluff and the solid musculature. Gods, he was such a sap, waxing about Kotetsu's chest hair of all things.

His friend knew what direction his thoughts were taking, as evidenced by the indulgent expression he was wearing. However, he didn't say anything, placing a hand on top of Izumo's on his chest, and glancing over him as appreciatively as he was looking at the other man.

Days like these were the best, lazy mornings where the two of them could spend all the time they wanted in bed, without worrying about duty or obligations. As much as Izumo loved his village, and loved serving it, he wished that he could spend all his time just lounging around with Kotetsu, and if his partner had any say it in that was probably all they'd do. He laughed at the thought.

"There you go, laughing at me again," Kotetsu grinned, before drawing him in so that they were lying down next to each other, barely any space between them.

Gods but it was perfect.

"I love you so much, Izumo. I want to stay like this forever."

"Ko' I love you…" I love you too, he wanted to say, but he couldn't help but feel a strange nagging feeling, like an itch between his shoulder blades.

"Izumo," Kotetsu said insistently, leaning in to kiss him.

"Just wait a second."

"No, Izumo, c'mon I just wanna make you happy."

"Yeah I know," he replied, distracted. "There's something wrong." There was no hesitation in his tone. This time he was sure… This time?

"Why do you always do this Izumo? Why can't you just let yourself be happy?" Kotetsu begged. He looked desperate. The expression just made the feeling of dissonance grow stronger.

"What do you mean, 'always'?"

"Izumo!" the other man cried, ignoring his question. "Why isn't it ever enough for you? Don't you love me? Don't you want this?"

"Of course I want this!" he protested. "This is all I've ever wanted. I love you more than I've ever loved anyone, but…"

It hit him like a punch to the stomach, although an actual punch would have been preferable. The realization that his brain had been trying to make all this time (all this time?)…

"I love you Kotetsu, but you don't love me."

"What are you talking about?" the man before him cried. "Of course I love you. Why would I be here if I didn't love you?"

Izumo shoved him away, springing up from the bed, heedless of his nudity. "No. Kotetsu doesn't love me, not like this. You're not him… I don't know who you are."

Izumo had always known that his friend loved him platonically, like a brother. He'd wanted… in all of his fantasies they'd been together, but he knew there was no chance. Kotetsu just didn't have feelings for men like that. It had been hard to swallow, but he'd come to accept that they'd only be together in his dreams.

The room around him flickered, like the lights were being flipped on and off, before it righted itself.

"Don't be ridiculous," not-Kotetsu attempted, but it was clear that the thing in front of him wasn't his friend.

"This isn't real," Izumo breathed, and then like a door swinging open in his mind, he understood. It was like he'd been reaching for knowledge, constantly just out of range, and then it smacked straight into his hand. "This is… this is a genjutsu!"

"No!" the thing cried, abandoning all pretext of being Kotetsu, but it wasn't fast enough. Izumo slammed his hands together.

"KAI!"

The world burned. This was hardly the first time that Izumo had been stuck in a genjutsu. He was pretty good at them, and even better at getting himself out of them. Normally it felt like an oily film over his eyes, slipping away over his head. Releasing himself from an illusion was a relief; it made everything make sense again.

This wasn't like that. This was like the dispel technique had reached into his brain and ripped something out of his head. His eyes, for some reason, throbbed the worst, and he squeezed them shut tightly to ward off the pain. It felt like every nerve in his body was on fire. He felt simultaneously keyed up, on edge, and utterly exhausted, like his very essence was being drained from him.

"Shit, Gods, shit," Izumo muttered almost unconsciously. He'd never experienced anything so horrible, and the sharp sting across his face was almost a relief.

On reflex, his eyes snapped open in response to what he belatedly realized was a slap to the face. The chunin tried to jump away from his assailant, only to find that he was completely restrained. He forced himself to calm down. He'd been trained to deal with these situations, and Izumo desperately tried to recall the protocols in order to ground himself. What was first again? Oh right! Analyze the surroundings.

There was a man directly in front of him, and judging by his raised palm he'd probably been the one to hit Izumo. He was wearing a tattered, sleeveless but high-collared shirt. His hair was short, black and spikey, and the right half of his face was marred by painful looking scars, like it had been rearranged the painful way. Finally, Izumo saw what he probably should have noticed first: the pair of bright red sharingan eyes.

"Uchiha… Obito?" he gasped. Suddenly he remembered. The fourth shinobi war. The ten tailed beast. The last he'd seen of the man in front of him had been when the Uchiha was forced by the strange black thing to revive Madara, and their plot to ensnare everyone in the world in…

Izumo jerked as much as he was able, and examined his bindings. As he had feared, but half expected, he was encased in what appeared to be some twisted form of tree roots. That meant that Naruto hadn't been able to stop the Moon's Eye Plan…

"Hey!" Obito snapped, shaking him roughly. "How did you free yourself from the Infinite Tsukuyomi?"

Izumo blinked, dazed. "What..?"

"Answer me!" the man in front of him demanded, sharingan eyes spinning with malice.

"I don't know! I just dispelled the illusion. Are you saying that you didn't help me?"

"No, I-" Obito jerked his head up, glancing at something over Izumo's shoulder. "Shit, we don't have time for this. She's coming."

The Uchiha swiftly cut him loose from the Shinju, and the chunin collapsed to his hands and knees. His chakra was extremely depleted. He'd never really experienced chakra exhaustion. He was such a stickler for the rules that he'd never let himself get so close to the edge during his training, and most of his career had been during peace times. Izumo was pretty sure that this was the lowest his reserves had ever gotten.

"What happened? Why's my chakra gone?"

"The God Tree sucked out your chakra and used it to revive Otsutsuki Kaguya. Just be glad that you didn't end up like them." Obito gestured to a figure hanging from the Shinju, and with a start Izumo realized that it was one of those strange white creatures, the ones that they'd been fighting before the Ten Tailed beast had been revived.

"Is that…?"

"A white Zetsu. It used to be a human."

Izumo blanched. "That was a shinobi? Wait! The tree was trying to do that to me?"

"Yeah," the Uchiha confirmed, before burning away the vines that were slowly creeping forward, trying to reclaim their freed victim.

"Am I… am I not human anymore?"

Obito spared him a glance. "You look human enough to me. Well… there is a little- whatever. We have bigger problems."

Izumo wanted to protest. As far as he was concerned there wasn't any bigger issue than the fact that his body might be turning into an evil plant monster, but he didn't really feel any different. "What do you mean? There's a little what?"

"Shut up," the Uchiha growled, grabbing him by the collar of his vest and pulling them face to face. "And don't resist."

Izumo wanted to ask him what he meant. Resist what? However, he was captivated by the sight of Obito's eyes transforming, changing from the standard sharingan into something different. The mangekyo, he realized. The other man's pupils seemed to spin before Izumo realized the entire world was spiraling around him.

When his surrounding stabilized, the chunin gaped. Everything was eerily dark, and rather than trees and dirt, there were large, rectangular almost-buildings on every side of them. It was kind of like being on top of a cityscape, and looking at the horizon. A quick glance off the side of the platform Obito had dropped them on revealed that he couldn't even see the bottom of the strange domain.

"Kaguya hasn't been in my dimension yet, but she has the ability to jump between worlds. I've bought us some time, but not much."

Izumo's head was spinning, and he didn't think it was just from the chakra exhaustion. He was barely keeping up with what was going on. One moment they were fighting the ten-tails, then the next he was struggling with the illusions of Kotetsu, and now he was in a whole other dimension?

"I don't understand. Who's Kaguya, what are we doing? Are you on our side now?"

Obito glared at him and grimaced. "It turns out that Madara was Kaguya's pawn all along. The Moon's Eye Plan was never meant to bring peace to the world. It was just supposed to keep everyone docile long enough for Kaguya—that's the Sage of Six Path's mom, by the way—to absorb all the chakra in the world and revive herself. She killed Madara in the process."

Madara was dead? Izumo was just more confused. "Does that mean she's good then?"

"No!" The 'you idiot' seemed to go unspoken. "What part of her enslaving the entire human race and turning them into mindless soldiers did you miss?"

"None of it!" Izumo protested. "It's just… we're changing enemies so quickly. I can barely keep track of who I'm meant to be fighting!"

The Uchiha didn't look happy about it, but wasn't yelling at him anymore at least. "You and me both," he muttered. The chunin didn't think he was meant to hear it.

Izumo centered himself. He was a shinobi of Konoha, and his job was to protect his friends from whomever… or whatever this Kaguya person was. "Alright, so Kaguya. How can I help? What do we do to beat her?"

"Beat her?" Obito laughed bitterly. "There's nothing we can do to beat her. She makes Madara seem like a genin. Naruto and Sasuke were the only people who had the ability to seal her away."

That made sense. Those two were impossibly powerful. Izumo had seen them fighting against Obito and the Ten Tailed beast, and they were probably the strongest shinobi alive.

"Did they get captured by the World Tree? Is that why you rescued me, so that I could dispel the illusion?" Izumo wasn't sure how he'd gotten out of the Infinite Tsukuyomi, but he would do whatever it took to help Sasuke and Naruto.

Obito averted his gaze downward for a moment, his jaw clenching tightly.

"Naruto… Sasuke… They were never caught in the Infinite Tsukuyomi. Kaguya killed them."

Izumo felt the blood drain out of his face. "But- but…" He worked his jaw silently for a moment before the words sprung out from him. "But you said they were the only ones who had the power to defeat Kaguya!"

"They were!" the Uchiha yelled. "They were," he repeated, this time in a broken whisper. Obito turned away from him, running his hand through his hair before grabbing at his head in what looked to be a painful grip.

He stared at the other man, almost unwilling to make the obvious conclusion. "If they're… gone… then what are we even doing? What's the point of even freeing me?"

His companion put his hands down at his sides, making tight fists that betrayed his anxiety. "I have another- there's another way, maybe. This place, this is my dimension. I'm connected to it through my Kamui, my eye technique. It doesn't exist in the same space as the world you're used to. I can enter it from any place in that world and exit it anywhere as well."

"So…" Izumo mused. "We can go somewhere that Kaguya can't find us? What good will that do for everyone who's trapped?" he asked, thinking for a horrible moment about Kotetsu, bound and slowly losing his humanity.

"No," Obito refuted, "There's no place in this world or any other that Kaguya couldn't find us. My eyes have the power to take me anywhere. I can go to any longitude, latitude or altitude, anywhere in three dimensions, and maybe even somewhere in the fourth dimension."

"The fourth dimension? You mean… time?" He'd read about the fourth dimension. It was simple in theory. A point was the zeroth dimension, and an object moving forward in a line would be in the first dimension. The same object could keep its orientation along the first line, but then move left or right- the second dimension. If it wasn't moving left, right, forward, or backward, it could still go up or down, which made altitude the third dimension. Where it got harder to conceptualize was higher levels. The object could stay in the same place, not moving up, down, right, left, forward, or backwards, but still change its position in time, which was why scholars called time the fourth dimension.

"You can open a portal to any longitude, latitude, or altitude, so you think that you can go to any point in time as well?"

"I know it sounds crazy," Obito protested, "But you don't understand what it's like to have these eyes. There's no guide or manual, you just have to feel your powers, to intuit them. Everyone's mangekyo is different. I've always felt that my sharingan has the power to send things back in time."

What the hell had happened to his world? Izumo was a chunin. He didn't deal with things like all-powerful bijuu, ancient world-destroying women, or time travel. He guarded Konoha's gates and ran errands for the Godaime.

"So you want to go back in time and prevent this from ever happening?"

"Not me," Obito grimaced. Izumo was beginning to feel like it was the only expression the Uchiha could make. "You think I haven't tried to go back before? That was the first thing I did once I got the hang of my abilities," the scarred man scoffed. "It's complicated though, not like opening a normal portal. When I tried going through time I couldn't alter the other dimensions. I had to put myself in the exact same physical location I'd been at some point before, to take the place of that Obito, so that the only thing that changed was time itself."

"I… guess that makes sense," he responded. It didn't really. None of this made any sense but the chunin didn't want to think about it too hard. "What was the problem then?"

"I can get the path open," the Uchiha responded, "But as soon as I try to step through I create a paradox. The moment I touch the portal I exist in two places… in two times at once. In the future, I'm opening a portal to the other dimension, but in the past I'm not. I'm in a state of both opening and not opening the portal, and the paradox causes the doorway to collapse before I can get all the way through." Obito huffed, irritated. "If I opened a portal, in the past, to the exact same point in the future that I was trying to travel back from, it might work, but once I realized that I couldn't use it to save… Well, let's just say I lost interest."

Izumo's greatest strength wasn't his combat abilities, or even his skill with ninjutsu, but rather his quick wit and meticulous nature. "So you need to stay in this time in order to keep the portal open…" he mused, "But, someone else, someone who isn't controlling the portal from either side might be able to step through without creating a paradox."

"Exactly" Obito agreed, finally looking at Izumo like he wasn't entirely hopeless.

"And that's where I come in," Izumo continued, excited. "If we go back to our dimension I can free the Kages, and we can send them back in time to better prepare for the War! They can prevent all this from happening!"

The sick feeling in his gut that had been present ever since the other man explained their predicament finally lifted. Even with the gloomy surroundings in the Kamui dimension, Izumo felt his spirits rising. He didn't know how he freed himself from the Infinite Tsukuyomi, or how he'd help someone else out of it, but he'd figure it out. He had to.

"You don't understand," Obito cried, grabbing him by his arms. "There is no escaping the Infinite Tsukuyomi."

"What are you talking about," protested the chunin. "If I can escape, the Kages can definitely get out."

The Uchiha jerked his head to the side in one sharp motion. "No. No human power is capable of resisting the Rinne Sharingan's illusion. It's cast by the most powerful person in all of existence, fueled by the chakra of the ten tailed monster. The fact that you escaped is a fluke, a one in a billion chance. For all I know, you might have been partially shielded by Sasuke's Susanoo, or maybe by some freak coincidence you missed getting the full brunt of the light of the moon. All I know is that you definitely won't be able to free anyone else. The only one who we can send back is you."

The sick feeling Izumo had experienced before returned full force. "Me? I'm… I'm just a chunin. I'd get crushed by any of the regular Akatsuki," as if any of the S-ranked criminals in the organization could be described as 'regular.' "Let alone the monsters like Madara or Kaguya. I can't help. You're better off looking for someone else who escaped the full force of the Moon."

Obito's grip on his arms tightened, and the man shook him. The Uchiha's sharingan were burning into his own eyes, the desperation in them shaking Izumo to his core. "Listen to me! There is nobody else. I was able to feel it when you regained your consciousness, and believe me when I say that no one else in the entire world did the same. You and me… we're the only people in existence who aren't dead or enslaved by Kaguya."

Izumo Kamizuki… was the only person who could save the world? Izumo wasn't the kind of ninja that you gave missions like this. He was decent at what he did, and he used to tell Kotetsu that they'd make jounin one day, but he never really believed it. He was the kind of ninja that spent his entire career quietly in the chunin corps before retiring at thirty and spending the rest of his life pushing forms in Administration.

"What the hell am I supposed to do that would make a difference? I'm not even close enough to the Hokage to convince her that I'm telling the truth!"

"I don't know!" Obito yelled. "All I know is that you're the only one who can do anything and you can't exactly make it worse than it is right now. Hell you'd probably do better than me. All I do is make things worse."

Izumo's eyes widened. "You! You in the past. I can tell you about this and you can stop it-"

"Whatever you do," Obito interrupted, "Don't approach me. I'd definitely kill you if I thought that you were going to interfere with my plans, and Madara still had a mind control seal on me. There's no one else you can rely on but yourself…" the other man trailed off as if in contemplation.

"You're thinking of something," Izumo said cautiously, aware of his companion's somewhat violent changes in attitude.

"Itachi," Obito said finally. "He'd help you if you could explain yourself in private, and he might be crazy enough to believe a story like yours."

"Itachi Uchiha?" Izumo questioned, confused.

"Yeah," the sharingan wielder confirmed, looking hopeful for the first time in their conversation. "He's loyal to Konoha. The Uchiha massacre…" the man trailed off, looking to the side in growing horror.

"No! I thought we had more time!"

Izumo had never had much talent as a sensor, but somehow he could feel the malevolent chakra emanating from the space to his left. It started as a single black dot (zero dimensions, a voice in the back of him mind lectured) then it grew to a line (the first dimension) and finally expanded into a plane (two dimensions). Finally, something breached the infinite blackness. An object moved forward through the portal (forward- the third dimension). The first thing he saw was an eye, the same eye he'd seen reflected on the moon's surface before everything went to hell. The Rinne Sharingan. Eventually he was able to see that it was set grotesquely on the forehead of a woman (if she was even human enough to be called a woman), with a vertical slit for an 'eyelid'. In the place where a normal human's eyes would be, she had blank orbs that Izumo recognized as the Byakugan. From the sides of her head, two long horn-like structures protruded. Her white hair fanned out behind her like some strange facsimile of a peacock.

It was unmistakably Kaguya, and she was horrifying in every sense of the word. Her chakra pressed down on him, commanding him to submit, to give in, to bow down to her. Madara hadn't felt this powerful. The Ten Tailed beast hadn't felt this powerful. Izumo understood fully now, why Obito had told him that fighting her was hopeless.

Kaguya stood… hovered, rather, motionless as the rift in space closed behind her. "My children…" Her voice was a strange dichotomy of melodic and discordant. Izumo wouldn't have thought it possible if he wasn't hearing it firsthand. It just added to the overall feeling of terror she inspired. "Why are you fighting me? Why won't you just let me make you happy?"

Hearing those words again reminded him of the Infinite Tsukuyomi, the oily feeling of wrongness that pervaded his entire experience, especially thinking back on it now that he was free. He'd die before he went back under its spell.

As if she heard his thoughts, the apparition turned to face him. The burning feeling of the Rinne Sharingan's focus on him instantly made him sweat, and the pressure of her chakra increased. "Izumo, don't you want to be with me? Don't you love me?" Even though he could see her, see her lips moving, it was Kotetsu's voice that came out of her mouth. He could only tremble.

Obito broke out of her spell first. Izumo saw him form a familiar hand sign, one that he was used to seeing a certain blonde-haired jinchuriki make.

"Shadow clone!" the Uchiha snarled. The clone took their place as the other man grabbed him, fleeing backwards.

"My clone will engage her as long as possible. You've got to go back now. It's our only hope!"

Obito's hands came together in the Ram seal to focus his chakra, and his eyes swirled into the shape of the Mangekyo sharingan. Maybe there was something different about the Kamui dimension that made him more perceptive, but he could feel the massive amount of chakra the other man was forcing to his eyes. Izumo had no doubt that Obito was using every last bit he had on this jutsu. If he Kaguya didn't kill him, then he'd certainly die of chakra exhaustion.

"Kamui!"

Contrary to Kaguya's dimensional travel, Obito's technique was like a spiral warping through the air in front of them.

"Go!" the Uchiha cried, shoving him forward. Izumo made the mistake of looking back at him, and saw Kaguya—awful, immense—looming behind them.

"Obito look out!"

It didn't make a difference. Izumo watched in horror as Kaguya extended a hand out towards the Uchiha, and a bone-like blade grew out of her palm. Obito didn't budge an inch as the weapon impaled him. He was too focused on the portal, staring at it and shaking with exertion. The chunin felt frozen to the spot, seeing the area around the man's wound start dissolving into ash.

"Izumo! Go!" Obito cried, heedless of his mortal injury.

Jerking himself from his stupor, he fought everything his primal instincts were screaming at him, and turned his back on the monster behind Obito. He was their only chance now. The fate of the entire world was in Izumo's hands.

Izumo jumped through the portal.