Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Warnings: Yaoi. Shounen-Ai. SasuNaru. AU. Links with the canon timeline. Watch out for spoilers for the whole series. Spoilers about the latest manga chapters will come in the later fic-chappies XD;; Violence, language, OOC? I will also make another speculation on the future happenings in the series XD This is rated M for safety. Huge chunks of things in italics mean dreams or flashbacks.
Authoresses' Notes: Sorry for the delay. Announcements and explanations at my profile page :) Thanks to everybody who email-ed, PM'd, IM'd me. Special thanks to: StarsofYaoi, Wing It, Gonrie and Konoko89 for giving suggestions, opinions and criticisms on my fics and plot bunnies :D
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Hope you enjoy reading :)
He gingerly lifted a tanned hand to his face. The pads of his fingers felt rough, firm, against his skin. He closed his eyes tightly, blocking the pale white light of the lampposts outside, blocking the irritating twinkling of the Christmas lights of his neighbors' decorations.
Toss, turn, turn.
His ankles dangled from the side of his not-too-big bed. He opened his eyes wearily. He couldn't see his annoying alarm clock from his position, but he knew that the time must be god-awful. His azure eyes felt smudgy, felt tired.
Turn, grumble, turn.
He needed to sleep. He still had work tomorrow, because shifts during the holidays pay double. Not many people would want to work during the festive days, when it should be spent cuddling with loved ones and enjoying in parties.
It's not like he had a family to celebrate with; it's not like he had enough friends, or loved ones, to party with. Iruka-sensei would welcome him with open arms to his apartment, but he knew that the pervert Kakashi would be there. As much as he loved his two former mentors, it's just not right to interrupt them.
Grunt, turn, turn.
Old Lady Tsunade would most likely beat him up mercilessly for breaking her make-up kit last week, so that option is out. And then, Jiraiya would also be there, most probably. The two had been hanging out more often lately.
He couldn't sleep.
He was tired. He wasn't an insomniac.
He couldn't sleep.
Toss, turn, toss.
The fluffy people tumbled to the bedroom floor without a sound. The blankets pooled around his thighs and his legs. His hands were thrown over his face. His eyes were closed, and images were already dancing from behind his closed lids.
He couldn't sleep. Because, if he slept, he'd dream of that again.
Of a world where he was a fighter, where a certain group called Akatsuki was after him, where he was friends with Sakura-chan and that bastard Sasuke, where it was different.
He would always dream of a world that felt like a lost reality.
Dreams Of A Lost Reality
The clouds were gloomy, and the atmosphere even more melancholic. There was an insistent dull thrumming of a waterfall.
He looked down on his hands. They were covered with grime, scrapes, bruises, wounds, blood.
There was another sound, something so familiar, something that he felt like he should never forget.
There was somebody talking, and the voice reached him, despite the heavy atmosphere weighing down on him, despite his own heart beating in terrible beats.
"There's no coming back for me."
There was a sound of wood breaking, of wood splintering under a greater force.
"If that's the case…" His own heart felt heavier, lonelier. "Then I shall break those bonds!"
There were waves beneath his feet. He felt as unsteady, if not more, than the water beneath him.
"Break them?" His voice sounded terribly hollow to his ears. "Then why did you wear your forehead protector?!"
"I acknowledge it." The person's voice sounded awfully familiar, and the tone was deadly cold. He didn't want to hear such painfully blank words from this voice. "You are strong."
He felt himself gasp in surprise. Even when paying compliments to him, the voice sounded patronizing, aloof. It hurt him. He was losing the unknown person.
"It's because you know the same pain of loneliness that I do," There. The voice felt closer, closer, closer…
Sweat formed thickly beneath his long golden bangs. It made him uncomfortable, but undoubtedly, the dream was even more frightening than the heavy smell of sweat.
The dreams have been increasing in their frequency in the past few days, and it irked him. He disliked not knowing what was happening. He was curious by nature; plus, he wanted to know about the thing that was causing him to be almost-always-late for his part-time jobs.
At first, it had only been brief whispers of words, unaccompanied by any sinking feeling alike to desperation. His initial dreams didn't have images of blood, of bruises, of Sasuke, of all people.
He knew there was something wrong with him when he saw the most insufferable person in his whole life, Uchiha-freakin-perfect-Sasuke, in the content of his dreams. Some of his friends appeared, too. Sakura-chan, Iruka-sensei, Kiba, Shikamaru…
But none of them appeared –and affected- him as often as Sasuke.
And the Sasuke that he kept on dreaming about said so many things. Amongst the many taunts, insults and nicknames, he could strongly remember one thing, one phrase that made his heart beat faster than it did when he was talking with Sakura-chan.
"You have become my most important person."
The irritated tone of the voice rang inside his head. Startled, Uzumaki Naruto whipped his head up, only to see Tsunade-obaachan's murderous expression. The hustled-and-bustle of his fellow employees returned to his senses. Naruto offered the older blonde a sheepish smile.
The blonde's look softened at the sight of eyebags circling Naruto's eyes, and at the overall look of weariness that embraced the blond's face. "If you're feeling unwell, you should just go home, brat," Tsunade said firmly, but it was laced by her motherly concern towards Naruto.
The blue-eyed teen summoned a reassuring grin. He didn't know if it worked; there was a doubtful glint in Tsunade's hazel-hued eyes. "I'm fine… Just… a little tired, that's all," Naruto said softly, before he bowed to the store's owner, and went on to help taking orders from the incoming customers.
Restaurants were always busy during the holidays, and Naruto was a bit grateful for the excessive noise and chatter of the customers. It gave him no time to think about the unsettling dreams. But then again, the sight of families and friends laughing together, enjoying themselves, always elicited a jolt of jealous ache in his chest. It was very unpleasant.
A few more hours of work, and Naruto was walking out of the restaurant, moving quickly to avoid Tsunade's concerned questions. The teenager knew that Tsunade meant well, but he couldn't confide to anyone yet. He still didn't fully understand his dreams, and they felt private. Moreover, he didn't want Tsunade to send him to a mental hospital or something.
He kept walking, hands shoved deep into his jacket's pockets, in an effort to avoid the winter coldness. His eyes were bedazzled with watching the countless lights and shimmering decorations that fluttered overhead. The shopping mall was heavily crowded by people having a good time, by people still scrambling to buy presents for their loved ones.
He felt alone, in that crowd, but he painstakingly pasted a cheery smile on his whiskered cheeks.
Naruto was preoccupied with gazing at the decors and attempting to not feel so isolated, and he neglected to pay extra attention to his surroundings. He bumped into a person, soundly, and he heard the other utter a whispered curse beneath his breath.
He quickly summoned an apology and a sheepish expression. He hastily picked up the necklace that fell out of the person's pocket. The necklace felt familiar, awfully familiar. He offered the necklace back to its owner, and Naruto lifted his eyes to give an apology.
"I'm sor—" He stopped, and he felt his eyes widen. There stood before him was Uchiha Sasuke, a smirk etched on the aristocratic face, charcoal eyes dancing with sick amusement and a bit of surprise at seeing him. Naruto felt an odd mix of irritation and sadness.
"You have become my most important person."
Naruto remembered the dreams, again, and he shook his head resolutely, deeming the dream ridiculous. No, Sasuke would never say those words to him.
"Ch, stay out of my way, bastard," The blond muttered tersely, before Naruto tugged his jacket close with his free hand. Naruto tried to keep from shivering from the brush of fingers that occurred between him and the bastard as Sasuke reached out for the necklace.
Sasuke looked as though he wanted to say something else, but Naruto was already pushing his way towards the mall's exit.
"Come with me," A silky voice whispered into his ear. Hot breath washed over his earlobe, then to his cheeks. He held back the urge to squirm at the discomfort. His navel tingled with uneasiness, and the fox inside of him screamed wordlessly. He may not be best buddies with the Kyuubi no Kitsune, but he could feel the anxiety curling around the feared monster.
Naruto didn't say anything, didn't move, but he fervently wished that he could fight back. Chakra-absorbing robes bound his arms and his legs, while the Samehada was conveniently placed on his back. The blond could hear the greedy churning of mouth and teeth from the large blade. Naruto held back the urge to shiver at the malicious sounds of the Kyuubi's chakra being devoured.
Uchiha Itachi was leaning painfully close towards his prone form. Naruto wondered if he could still escape from this. He hoped that the Old Hag could figure out where the Akatsuki members took him. He hoped that Shikamaru could devise a perfect plan to save him. He hoped that Sasuke-the-bastard was somewhere nearby.
Naruto shot the older Uchiha a look. Itachi really looked a lot like Sasuke. With the room's almost nonexistent lighting, Naruto couldn't see much difference between the last two Uchiha. Then again, he hasn't seen his ex-teammate in a long time. Maybe Sasuke looked more like Itachi now?
"Come with me, Naruto-kun," Itachi whispered again, voice filled with blankness, plus a tinge of unmasked anticipation. It was almost creepy to hear emotions from Itachi. Naruto was used to hearing the older male speaking with utmost detachment from everything, after all.
He knew he was practically kidnapped and his life was at this person's mercy, but he could still be defiant and stubborn, couldn't he? "You wish," Naruto snapped, hoping that his voice sounded terrifying enough.
One of Itachi's gray eyebrows quirked questioningly at his defiant tone, but it was unseen in the dungeon's shadowy darkness.
The handseals that the S-rank criminal were also unseen by the Kyuubi's vessel.
"Come with me," Itachi repeated, but his voice sounded like the hissing of snakes, and the thought of snakes reminded him of something, of somebody, and…
Naruto also didn't see the vicious glint inside those eerie maroon eyes, as he became dizzy, and fell forward into the sinking darkness.
The hours slithered by with almost irritating sluggishness. The Christmas lights merrily twinkled outside, and if he strained his hearing enough, he could hear the distant choruses of children singing. He closed his eyes tightly, trying to block the sounds, the lights.
He didn't get much sleep last night—okay, so he was asleep, but he couldn't really get enough relaxation from visions that threatened to spin his head in confusion. Plus, those dreams tended to issue a heavy feeling that curled around his chest.
He was known for his cheerfulness, for his pranks, for his grins. Without his classmates, without anybody to watch him cover up the gaping hole inside him, he didn't have the need to summon the joker's mask. He sighed heavily, and rolled to a sitting position. The bed was awfully comfy, but he didn't want to see those dreams again.
He reached for the rectangular gift –still wrapped- on his bedside table. It was from Sakura-chan, and he was thrilled to receive something from her. The pink-haired girl tended to view him as someone who was way beneath her; it was incredibly nice, to see her giving a present to him, for a change.
He carefully unwrapped the gift, because it was from Sakura-chan, and it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get something from her. And, he could feel that the gift was something important. Really important.
What he uncovered, though, was something he'd never expect from her. It was a book –hardbound and thick- but it wasn't an ordinary book.
Documentaries Of Travels Through Dimensions.
Blue eyes were dilated, and his hand trembled. The thick book fell to the bed's cushions, and Naruto's heart stopped.
"I'm going to follow him," A voice, a male voice, firmly stated, blatantly ignoring the scandalized and concerned looks that he garnered. The speaker's cream-hued robes were slipping off his pale shoulders, a sign of his exertion. It also revealed a mark –a mark of sin- that rested at the junction of his neck and shoulder.
One of the head medic-nins, a pink-haired female, suppressed a shuddering sob at the sight of the seal. It was inactive at the moment, but it seemed to taunt her cruelly, reminding her of the things that happened that she was unable to stop, of the things that would forever separate the two of them.
"It is not a wise thing to do," A more authoritative voice cut through the assembly of powerful ninjas. Her blonde hair fanned around her in a youthful look, but her eyes spoke of errors and deaths and trials that she witnessed in her long life. "It's unwise—just like the jutsu you did to throw him away," The blonde added almost thoughtfully.
The male's scarlet eyes flared, but he flinched visibly. The Godaime's statement stung, apparently. One of the jounins, a male with a high ponytail, muttered something low as he slapped his face. Another jounin, sporting pearl-white eyes, summoned a ruthless glare to focus to the traitor that was in the middle of the assembly.
"It was the only thing I could do to save him," Uchiha Sasuke gritted out, hands shaking, with conscience, or with the urge to eliminate them, nobody was sure.
The Hokage sighed deeply as she mulled over the possible modes of action. The Akatsuki, they all knew, wouldn't be sitting around and waiting for their last target to reappear. One of their members, Uchiha Itachi, seemed really dedicated to capturing Naruto, after all.
Seeing the former traitor to the village, Uchiha Sasuke, also added a brain-breaking spin to the occurrences. The Hokage was still unable to discern whether this was just a trap that Orochimaru spun for the fall of Konoha. No matter what the younger Uchiha's reason for helping them regarding Naruto, Tsunade knew one thing.
Sending Naruto off to another dimension was the only thing they could do to save him.
To Be Continued
Special dedication to Gonrie, for making a nice oneshot based on this plot bunny :) I already have a the major points of this story planned out, but of course, opinions, guesses, ideas and suggestions are still very, very welcome :)
The flashbacks in this chapter are based on Episode 133 and 134 of Naruto. Damn, I always felt like crying (or kicking Sasuke XD;;) whenever I watch those episodes T.T;; This chapter was meant to be confusing and vague, especially the last two scenes. It has a lot of hints, though XD;;
Thank you, everyone, for your support:)
Please review :)