IMPORTANT!!!
Before you start reading this story there is something you should know. As you've might have noticed already, this story is marked as complete. I decided, that this 'Prologue' could very well be a one-shot story. However, the original idea was that this is the prologue to a much longer story. Yet, since I currently lack time and motivation, it's unsure if I will ever write the rest of the story down. Thus my decision to post this as a one-shot for now. It could be though, that some time in the future I might find my motivation and write everything down. If that happens I'll change this completed story to incomplete and start posting the next chapter right after this first one. So if you are interested to read more, you might want to check for some updates now and then. Oh and if there suddenly ARE more than one chapter, expect this story to be definitely Shonen Ai, maybe even Yaoi. So, if you don't like boy x boy stories, then you found the wrong one and can leave right now. Also, if someone happens to be a Sakura-hater, you are at the wrong place here as well. I LOVE Sakura and she will always be a supporting, caring main character in my Naruto stories. This said, you can now go and read the story, if I have not scared you off yet. ^^


Title: Changing Dreams
Part: (Prologue) 1/1(?)
Author: Usagi-Atemu-Tom
Warnings: angst, really frail hints of Shonen Ai, SPOILER for the current manga chapters
Pairings: Sasuke + Naruto
Feedback: Please, yes, I love critics! =^^=

Summary: In the end, the reasons didn't really matter. When the worst predictions come true and Sasuke attacks Konoha, Naruto reflects and realizes that in the end reasons don't matter. He'll just do what he promised to do.

Disclaimer: Nothing is mine I don't make money with it and write only for fun and to get better in English writing. ^__^

And not to forget, much thanks to Deb for betareading.

Translations:
Genin = under class ninja (Cadets)
Chuunin = middle class ninja (Commoners)
Jounin = full ninja (Elite)


In the end, Naruto reflected, the reasons didn't really matter.

They didn't know why Sasuke decided it was his idea of fun to act against Konoha. Everything the shinobi, everything Naruto had ever known about Sasuke's anger was his thirst to make Itachi pay for his crimes, no matter what. Secretly, when he first heard about Itachi being killed by Sasuke, he hoped that now his best friend would come home. But when he himself returned to Konoha and found time to reflect on his last talk he had with Itachi, Naruto already realized deep down that everything Itachi said was the truth.

'What would you do if Sasuke were to attack Konoha?'

The words told were not meant to spite him. They were a simple warning from a brother who knew his younger sibling too well. Never mind the fact that Itachi was supposed to be a horrible brother who failed in his role to protect Sasuke and thus was not supposed to still know Sasuke better than Naruto himself, who would do everything to protect his best friend.

Still, every time Naruto reflected on his conversation with Itachi he couldn't help but feel honesty and care, something Itachi never showed before. Even though the idea alone that Sasuke might wish to attack Konoha hurt like hell, Naruto knew for a long time that it would become reality. However, he was not given the chance to come to terms with what his heart already knew was the truth. Things went out of control fast the moment he learned about Jiraiya's death. He went to train with the old frog Fukasaku-sama, to become strong, to become the exact same being that he despised so much since it took away his best friend three years ago. He trained to become an avenger for Jiraiya, the man who was like a grandfather to him.

When Akatsuki attacked Konoha, he was ready. He fought against that guy Pain and his partner Konan. The battle was long and bloody. By the end of it, two more of Akatsuki's members were dead and Naruto was left bloodied and exhausted, more dead than alive. He'd never been forced to stay in bed for so long to recover like he had after that battle. Not since the horrible, devastating mission three years ago where he'd failed to retrieve Sasuke. And even then he'd only stayed in bed four days. This time he needed a full week before Tsunade even considered allowing him out of bed.

And during that time Naruto didn't get enough peace to think about Sasuke. There were always more pressing matters to consider. It was only when Sasuke suddenly stood in the middle of Konoha together with his new team, the black cloaks with the typical Akatsuki symbols speaking louder than any screaming would have, that Naruto was painfully reminded of Itachi's last words. Reality sank in, not only in his mind but also in the minds of everyone else living in the village.

Sasuke attacked Konoha. Together with his team and those two other Akatsuki members left. Together with a whole bunch of Rain shinobi that followed the word of the Akatsuki's leader without second thought. No, in the end it really didn't matter, what reasons Sasuke had. What mattered was that Naruto was willing to hold onto his promise without hesitation. He was in front of everyone when the Konoha shinobi gave their all to protect the village. He was proud to reflect on fighting against Sasuke, and this time the other could not look down on him. Naruto had grown. He had not become superior, but in the last weeks Naruto's training allowed him to grow equal in strength to Sasuke.

It was enough to prevent the village from being burned to crisp by Sasuke's dangerous new chidori technique. However, things went downhill when the strange Akatsuki leader suddenly interfered with their fight to attack Naruto himself. The blond Jinchuuriki was just able to realize that this stranger possessed sharingan and he was about to be caught by their dangerous mind technique, when suddenly something deep inside him seemed to snap.

It was the power Itachi instilled in him to be awakened when it was the rightful time. Maybe the sinister power of this particular sharingan was the trigger, Naruto didn't know. Fact was, Itachi's power fused with his chakra to aide his fight against the unknown Uchiha shinobi. The whole fight felt a little out of control for the blonde. It felt like he was not really there during the fight, more like watching while someone else fought. And the worst thing, he was not fairing well. The only reason he was still alive and kicking was because Akatsuki would not get Kyuubi if he died before the ritual had been performed. Naruto was not willing to give them that chance, so he found himself desperately fighting off every try his opponent used to knock him out cold.

For the village, the blond Jinchuuriki vowed silently again and again. For the village he had to stay conscious. Because if Akatsuki got Kyuubi it would be the end of Konoha for sure. That was when he noticed a group of ANBU sneaking up on Sasuke who was fighting against Sai. Naruto immediately recognized them as members of this Danzo guy's team. He had only learned about Danzo recently. When he was still bedridden Sakura and Sai had visited him one day and told him about that leader of that special ANBU squad.

It was proof of a great amount of trust from Sakura's side that she was willing to tell and discuss with Naruto about Danzo in Sai's presence. It was an even greater act of trust and friendship from Sai when he admitted that Danzo, for some reason, seemed obsessed with the idea of killing Sasuke. Since that day, team Kakashi knew if they wanted to save Sasuke no one from Danzo's men could be allowed anywhere near the missing Konoha-nin.

Therefore, when Naruto realized Danzou's men were sneaking up on the two fighting ninja, that Naruto both called friends, he knew it was finally time to prove that he meant what he said. He would not go back on his words. It was time to fulfil the second vow he made besides that of protecting Konoha.

Sasuke was starting to show exhaustion from his fight against Naruto. It was the only reason why Sai had been able to hold out against the missing Konoha-nin for so long. Even if the two fighters were able to detect the sneaking ANBU, it was already too late. Sai would be fine. Naruto knew that because even though the young man turned his back on the ANBU, he was still a respected shinobi, even in Danzo's eyes and therefore not worth of being killed by his own people. This left only Sasuke to take care of.

Naruto's unnaturally quick reflexes took everyone by surprise. The Akatsuki leader, who would not have been able to begin to anticipate that kind of move, as well as the ANBU who had only been concentrating on their chance to move for the kill. Sai, who was already resigned to the fact that there was no longer a chance to save Sasuke, when he noticed his old comrades and also Sakura, who just knocked out that girl Karin and was now watching, frozen to the spot with upcoming horror, what should have been the end of her former team-mate. None of them expected him to do what he did - especially not Sasuke.

No, the reasons really didn't matter, Naruto decided as he lay on the ground, his quickly tiring eyes watching the blood flowing down from his various wounds into the sand like little streams. From the corner of his eyes he noticed Sai and Sakura running up to him, eyes wide in terror and open pain while Tsunade, Kakashi, Yamato and the members of Team Eight, Team Ten and Team Gai fought with burning rage against the Akatsuki leader and Danzo's ANBU squad likewise to prevent any of them from coming any nearer.

What mattered was that he was able to hold on to his promises. He protected Konoha with all he had. And at the same time, he protected Sasuke. Sasuke, who was holding his limp body against his heavily breathing chest, here on the ground. Sasuke, whose eyes were wide in shock and – surprisingly - horror. Somehow Naruto felt happy to finally see something else other than cold indifference in his best friend's face, even though it saddened him at the same time that it was not a reaction of happiness.

Still, he felt strangely content lying on the ground in Sasuke's arms. Even though he had to admit he was not able to end the whole conflict so Sasuke and Konoha would stay safe, he could proudly say he did all he could to at least keep them safe to this moment. Regretfully he was not going to participate further. Naruto was dying, he was very aware of the fact. One of the deadly weapons meant for Sasuke punctured his lungs. He was taking in more blood than air with every shaking breath he performed. Naruto was even aware enough to notice the irony of the whole situation. He was going to die the same way Jiraiya did - stabbed through his lungs. It was the only really critical wound he received, even though his body was littered with the weapons meant for Sasuke. He took them all when he shielded the dark haired missing-nin with his own body.

Some of the kunai certainly hit an alarming spot, but none of the wounds were something Kyuubi's healing abilities couldn't handle. Just the lungs, that was even too much for the powerful fox demon. Especially since even now he was fighting the influence of the demon's chakra as much as he could. Admittedly the healing ability was the one thing his body had adapted to since the day of his birth when the demon was sealed inside him, but by now he had become sensitive enough to notice Kyuubi's chakra even in the healing process and he fought it out of habit. After all, he promised himself that he would never need to fall back on the demon's chakra again if he could help it. Not that he was able to stop his healing abilities altogether, but his tries to fight it off slowed the process down considerably.

Sakura and Sai arrived by his side and he watched Sasuke whisper something so low, the only reason he understood the words said was because he was able to read his lips.

"Stupid idiot!"

Naruto couldn't help it, he smiled. He smiled up at Sasuke and even though he was no longer able to talk, his eyes told the dark haired missing-nin more than anything else that he wished for Sasuke to stay safe. Finally there seemed to be no air left Naruto could take in, only blood. His eyes felt heavy so he closed them. He vaguely noticed Sakura's desperate attempts to heal him. Sai took one of his hands, squeezing it with surprising force and even Sasuke pressed Naruto's body tighter against his chest. He felt that strange power of Itachi pulsing inside him. It was kind of comforting. Well, it seemed there was still hope after all, he thought. Then, the voice of his friends and the noise of the fighting faded to silence. The last thing he was aware of was the sudden outburst of anger and desperation deep within him and then the explosion of red behind his closed eyes. Then, blissful oblivion.

***

When dawn approached the village of Konoha, five residents awoke with a start from their slumber. All of them were barely able to repress the scream that wanted to escape their mouths.

Owari?