Unbeated again, sorry guys. My beta is unable to get easy computer access at present. Will re-upload at a later date when things are better for her.

Just so you know, I'm going to mess with canon more than usual this chapter. My advice is to just go with it and have fun :)

Dash.

Dreams Aren't Real

Part 3

Chapter 4 (15)

Dreams About Not Letting Go Without A Fight.

Five Weeks Ago...

They were all packed up and ready to move on. They both stood by the entrance to the hideout, looking out and the fields in front of them, careful not to look at each other.

They hadn't spoken any more about what had happened in the last dream. Surprisingly Sasuke had apologised, sort of, in a very Sasuke way.

They had what may well be their last time together and then fallen asleep in a tangled exhausted heap.

They had woken, Sasuke did his cat stretch and Naruto felt that moment of contented happiness of waking up next to him again and not feeling the familiar loneliness of waking up alone.

And then they had packed up their things and departed for the surface without a word to break the thick silence between them. But then…

"I will stay with Madera," Sasuke told him abruptly.

Naruto couldn't help but feel crushed by the news. Of course he would. He'd warned Naruto that nothing would change no matter what happened. He wasn't breaking any promises but Naruto still felt hurt and shocked by the statement.


Now...

Naruto could sense the chakra build and flow inside him as he and the Kyuubi's chakra combined, covering his body in a flame like aura. And like real flames the chakra as always burned as it flowed through his body, but it was a dull feeling compared to the feeling of being filled up, completed and whole. He felt his limbs grow stronger, his until now flagging chakra reserves become refilled and another presence inside his mind like never before. No restraints, no fight and surprisingly no anger or hatred. It was an exhilarating feeling. He felt like nothing could defeat him now, he felt it in his very soul. Nothing could make his determination falter.

Well nothing could of course but one person. But he had yet to come, and that confrontation had to be pushed out of his mind for now. If he wanted to win, his concentration had to be in the here and now, not off daydreaming on the what ifs.

But it was a hard fight even after combining with Kurama. Even with his new strength and his new body it was a tough battle. Whoever Tobi really was, he was as tough as ever and it had taken both his and Bee's combined strength to hold off the first wave. But Bee wasn't with him now, he still had others to fight with Kakashi. Now it was only Naruto and Madera or Tobi or whoever he was. Perhaps his feeling of absolute victory had been nothing more than the rush of the chakra inside him and the surge of adrenaline that came with it.

He'd used a lot of chakra already before even getting to this point. He felt powerful still, but beating Tobi would have been uncertain even if he'd met in him battle fresh and ready.

Perhaps he still could lose.

Perhaps he wouldn't need to worry about who might show up now because the fight would be over before he got here.

Although…he could be wrong.


One Week Ago...

A figure hidden by the darkness of the night crept through the hideout silently going from room to room until he found the one he was after. Easing the door open, careful to keep it from squeaking, he slipped inside and across to the bed.

He leaned over the figure, who for some reason never took off his mask even while asleep and very carefully drew the mask down just enough to touch his finger gently to the sleeping man's forehead.

Even with the light touch the man woke up just as the mask went back into position and blinked up at the figure leaning over him, sleep hazy and taking a few moments to properly focus on the eyes above him. The meagre light coming from the spluttering candle across the room showed him two red eyes staring down at him with focus. For a moment his head felt a little heavy and then just like that it was gone.

"Sasuke, what do you want?"

"I want to know when we will begin," Sasuke asked evenly.

"And this question couldn't wait until morning?" The question seemed to have no impact on the young Uchiha and the masked man sighed. "Soon. Don't be impatient."

Sasuke nodded, straightened up and left without another word. Truly, that boy was getting stranger and stranger by the day. Oh well, soon enough it wouldn't matter anymore.


Now...

Naruto pulled his body back to its feet after a devastating attack that had hit him square on after he'd been distracted badly by another familiar chakra signature.

"Focus," Kurama warned.

Naruto wanted to say it was nothing he couldn't handle but lying wasn't going to solve anything at this point. He couldn't handle it, he was anxious about this confrontation and Kurama knew it.

"Naruto, don't falter now. You talked me into this, you'd better see it through."

"I will," Naruto said to Kurama trying to sound optimistic and failing badly.

"I know what happened between you and Sasuke. I know why you are so anxious. But you know what will happen, you must trust in what needs to be done. You can't be weak, he will know and that will not be a good sign."

"I know that," Naruto replied harshly. He didn't need the pep talk but he had to admit that Kurama was right. If Sasuke felt his resolve was weak it was over.

And then there he was standing by Tobi's side. One minute he was just a chakra signature in the wind, the next he was really standing there beside the enemy and watching Naruto without a trace of emotion.

"Sasuke…" Naruto whispered.

Evidently Sasuke had seen his lips move with his Sharingan.

A feral little half smile graced his lips when he saw that. "Naruto, you look…different."

And the understatement of the year went to Uchiha Sasuke. Really was that all he could think to say at a time like this? Apparently not.

"Are you ready for this, Naruto?"

Naruto nodded and swallowed a big lump in his throat. In a way he felt relieved to hear Sasuke speaking, it eased his mind and bought him back to another time under a moonlit sky in a desert, in a skeletal forest filled with mist, in a green field sprinkled with red flowers, a cold cave overlooking the snow capped mountains, a small sunny coastal inlet filled with bright coloured fish and a forest filled with large trees and little tiny frogs living their lives happily in their little water filled flowers.

He felt his mind ease and relax.

"I'm ready Sasuke. I've been waiting for you."

He watched Sasuke walk toward him, his hair being blown around in the wind, the determined look on his face. Naruto watched him closely, ready for it to begin.

But he couldn't help but smile when Sasuke winked at him.


Five Weeks Ago...

"I will stay with Madera," Sasuke told him abruptly.

Naruto couldn't help but feel crushed by the news. Of course he would. He'd warned Naruto that nothing would change no matter what happened. He wasn't breaking any promises but Naruto still felt hurt and shocked by the statement.

"Sas-"

Sasuke held up a hand to stop him before he could continue. "I will stay with Madera for the moment. And then when we face one another and Madera tries to tear the Kyuubi out of you I will turn on him and we will defeat the bastard together."

Naruto thought his ears had betrayed him for a moment. He couldn't have just heard what he thought he'd just heard. Sasuke would never give up his vengeance for anything. But then last night the dream had basically told him that he was doing it all for the wrong reasons. He'd previously felt Itachi had been wronged, and he had, but his brother obviously hadn't wanted Sasuke on the path he'd set himself on. It wasn't what he'd sacrificed himself for in the first place after all.

"You really mean that?" Naruto asked. "It was what the dream said to you wasn't it, about Itachi and everything?"

"About Itachi, and about you. I am losing myself, I am driving myself insane because I think I know deep inside myself that what I am doing is wrong. I feel better now, everything is clearer and for once I have something I care more about than revenge."

"Really, what is it?" Naruto asked stupidly.

Sasuke just smiled and rolled his eyes at his moronic friend. "You really are very stupid sometimes aren't you?"

"Shut up teme! So you're going to help me defeat Madera, and then what? You're not going to disappear again are you?"

"No dobe. If I did that what would be the point? C'mon," Sasuke said to his shocked friend, "We'll walk as far as we can together and work out a plan of attack."

"Uh sure Sasuke. Hey, wait up!"


Now...

Quick as a flash, Sasuke turned and let fly with his kunai directly at Tobi, the blade of course going right through him. While he was distracted, Naruto launched himself forwards, raking at the ground where Tobi had been standing moments before. He had disappeared from there already and Naruto's head snapped over to the left when he heard the sound of laughter echoing across the clearing. He was only just within shouting range but his laughter was bright and upbeat despite just being betrayed.

"Really, that was unexpected! Never did I think I would be betrayed by you, Sasuke. What about the vows you made to avenge your brother, does that mean nothing to you now?"

"Itachi never wanted this," Sasuke shouted back to him. "I can see that now."

"Oh. And what bought on this change of heart?"

Sasuke glanced back at Naruto for a fleeting second before his eyes snapped back toward their quarry. "You could say I've gained some perspective."

"Oh how my insane little avenger has fallen," was the fake lament returned. "Well top points for fooling me. And though it's a disappointment, it doesn't mean you still can't be used. You don't need to be conscious for what I have planned and then it won't matter what your tiny little brain thinks or that black shrivelled heart feels."

Tobi didn't seem worried and really, who could blame him? He was next to invulnerable simply phasing out every time anyone struck out at him with any sort of attack. The only thing the pair of them seemed to have going for them at the moment was that because there were two of them they could attack simultaneously. The plan, well, the hope, was to be able to keep the bastard too busy to fight back. Or at the very least to fight back with any great attack or teleport away.

And it seemed to be working to for the most part. Because of their training together weeks beforehand they had no trouble learning to predict each other's moves, follow through on each other's attacks and work together. Training to fight the Dream Monster had taught them more than just to understand their own deep buried feelings, but how to read each other and gave them the will to work together again. And they were, better than they ever had.

Naruto's fist flew through Tobi's midsection but as it passed through the other side he pivoted and ducked down just as Sasuke's sword passed over head, sweeping harmlessly through Tobi's neck.

Tobi wasn't even trying to dodge, not really, he didn't need to. He made to dodge a few times but the two-pronged attack he was facing didn't give him much chance to avoid the hits. He would dodge Naruto only to run into Sasuke's sword.

With his Sharingan, Sasuke was able to predict Tobi's moves almost perfectly. But just to make doubly sure, Naruto called in a few clones just to add numbers to their side and not let up.

To the outside observer this fight seemed to be going nowhere. While it was true, Sasuke and Naruto ducked and weaved around each other's attacks with apparently effortless ease, they never made contact with their enemy who remained uninjured while the pair of them would just wear themselves out.

But the fight was only about four minutes in and Sasuke was fresh to the battle and was in no way getting tired. Naruto however had been fighting for a long time and even his impressive chakra reserves were beginning to flag.

He was exhausted too and didn't dodge entirely quick enough to avoid a strong hit to his side. Pain flared along his ribs and he figured at least two had been broken in one impressive hit. His short grunt of pain must have been heard by Sasuke who, distracted, missed his mark and was kicked into the dirt next to Naruto.

Tobi took a few steps back and Naruto got the impression he was smirking at them, like a wave of smugness radiated from him. Naruto glared at Tobi, crouching and clutching his side while Sasuke rolled back to his feet and levelled his sword at the enemy.

"You two are capable of doing a lot more than this. You're resorting to hand to hand, I'm a bit disappointed," Tobi remarked.

"We have to start again," Sasuke told Naruto without looking at him, ignoring Tobi's words entirely. "Five minutes, can you move?"

Naruto got to his feet and gingerly felt his side.

"You keep hurting yourself like this and not even I will be able to heal you," an annoyed voice in his mind told him.

But despite Kurama's warnings Naruto knew he would be in more pain right now if he wasn't already beginning to heal a little bit. It was still going to be very painful, but he had to push through it.

"There you go doubting me again, teme. Let's get this over with."

Sasuke nodded and sprang to attack once more. Naruto followed up Sasuke's strike with thrown kunai and the battle was joined once more.

Replacement clones made up for Naruto's flagging speed, not that it seemed to matter. Sasuke must know as well as he did that this was probably their last chance. If they didn't succeed this time, Tobi might well actively try to kill the both of them, or suck them in with his teleport technique or whatever he did. The only thing they had going for them at the moment was keeping Tobi too busy to use his teleportation ability and the fact that he needed them both alive for the time being. But if they kept pushing it, he could very well just change his mind.

But this time it was working. Just a couple more seconds…


Five Weeks Ago...

"Five minutes, that's all it will take," Sasuke told him as they walked. They'd been going over battle strategy since leaving the hideout.

It wasn't like Naruto doubted that Sasuke believed this, but it seemed stupid. For someone as powerful as Madera it seemed strange that his ability to phase would have such a short time limit.

"Are you sure Sasuke? I mean, he's really powerful right?"

"I'm positive. We keep at him, force him to let our attacks pass through him and then we trap him. No big ninjutsu, do you understand?" Sasuke said sternly. "There's no point doing something big and draining your chakra if it's not going to impact. Just focus on hitting him and you can save your chakra in case we really need it. I won't be able to use hardly any chakra anyway, I will need everything I have to strike the final blow."

"Yeah, about that," Naruto began, still having issues with this part of the plan.

"I will have it set up," Sasuke interrupted confidently. "It won't fail."

"But he's an Uchiha. There's no way-"

"It's been done to an Uchiha before, it can be done again."


Now...

Just after the estimated five minute mark, Naruto landed a blow. It wasn't much of a blow but the fact that it made contact was victory enough. Tobi had started to get a little more frantic in his attempts to fight back in the last minute, apparently just starting to realise his position in this fight. But neither of them let up. Seeing him start to look for possible ways out gave Naruto renewed energy and Sasuke was so quick with that sword it was almost scary. But all of their attacks were designed to either kill or greatly wound. If Madera considered blocking any one of them in order to regain the upper hand and buy himself some time, he would only be taken down by the next already incoming assault. He couldn't risk it, just as Sasuke had predicted.

The hit that finally struck had not been so deadly in itself, Naruto had simply swept his foot low to take Tobi's feet out from under him. The fact that it connected meant Tobi fell and Sasuke, after slightly adjusting his incoming blow, followed through with his sword, driving it through Tobi's shoulder and into the ground beneath him. He immediately let go of the hilt and wrapped his hand around Tobi's neck quicker than the time it took Naruto to blink, and stared into their adversary's eyes.

Naruto watched Tobi's eyes widen for just a moment before Naruto took a cloth from his pouch and pulled the mask up just a bit to reach his hand inside and hold the cloth soaked in the very strongest sleeping potion over Tobi's mouth and nose.

It had happened very quickly and although Tobi managed to push Sasuke away so harshly that he end up on his back in the dirt, pull the sword free and roll away from Naruto, he only just managed to get one leg underneath him before he had to stop and put a sluggish hand to his head.

"What did you do to me!" He ranted at Sasuke who hadn't gotten up, merely raised his head to watch Tobi's attempt at standing.

Sasuke smirked at him. "Nothing I wouldn't unknowingly do to the person I love."

Tobi made one more attempt at rising but it failed. He ended up face first in the dirt, his mask askew and his breathing slow and even.


Tobi looked around the darkened woods unsure about what had just happened or where he was. Had he managed to teleport? What had that punk done to him? He couldn't believe that such a simple tactic had almost undone him. It was ridiculous that all he had lived through, all he had planned for, could be destroyed by two boys in a punch up.

But here he was away from those two. He must have managed to escape before passing out. But the fact that he didn't recognise where he had materialised had him a little worried. Those dead skeletal trees, the mist snaking its way around his feet, the full moon bathing the place in grey light and producing eerie shadows…

Someone stepped out of the shadows behind a tree in front of him and stopped underneath the pale moonlight. Dark hair framing his face, deep blood red eyes boring into his and sarcastic smirk plastered on his face.

"Sasuke," Tobi hissed.

"Broadly speaking," Sasuke replied. "We've won, you know that right?"

"You think you can still best me?" Tobi asked with mild surprise.

"You don't get it," Sasuke mocked him. Tobi then watched as the shadows began to swirl around Sasuke. They seemed to detach from the trees around him and mix with the mist creating a steadily increasing cloak of darkness around him. "You've already lost."

Tobi tried to teleport but couldn't. Nothing worked, no matter what he did. All his abilities were gone and with that realisation came the knowledge that Sasuke was right. He'd won, whatever they had done to him had him trapped.

Tobi watched as the last of the shadows covered up Sasuke and then the shadows began to reform into something more animalistic in shape.

"I was going to give you your chance at revenge. It's what you wanted most," Tobi told him.

"Apparently it wasn't what I wanted most. I care about something else more than that," a deep gravely voice replied.

"Well congratulations to you and your epiphany," Tobi replied with bad grace. "What happens now?"

The shadow monster started inching towards him. "I get to torture you. You're trapped in here and you can't stop it from happening."

"This world isn't real, I get that, it's just a genjutsu. So what can you really do to me?" Tobi mocked him.

"Considering what I was capable of doing to two people I actually like, I'm not sure you want to know. But we have at least three days I guess before your body dies in the real world. No resurrection, no coming back and you are no longer capable of stopping it."

Tobi looked into those oncoming red eyes and suddenly didn't doubt a single word.


Naruto prodded Tobi with a toe, just to be sure. When Tobi didn't react he allowed himself a big sigh of relief.

"Well that was easy."

"Speak for yourself," came a muttered reply.

Sasuke was still lying in the dirt, eyes closed and looking incredibly exhausted.

Naruto got onto his knees and leaned over Sasuke, concern etched into his features.

"Are you alright?"

"That took more chakra and energy than I imagined it would," Sasuke admitted.

"So I guess this means you figured it out."

Sasuke half smiled. "Obviously. Once I worked out how Itachi did it the tricky part was to start the trigger without him noticing. I had to do it beforehand of course, just like Itachi did. I'm surprised he didn't notice actually, but I made it as subtle as I could. Even an Uchiha didn't recognise what I was doing when he looked into my eyes. Activating it again, despite what it just took out of me was the easier part actually."

"Not that I'm not really impressed and everything, but why didn't we just kill him?"

"He might have sacrificed another eye to keep himself alive. I didn't want to risk that. If he had lived to carry out his plans, you would have died."

"So you reactivated the dream with Tobi. I guess we could kill him now and he couldn't do anything about it."

"No, leave him. I think he deserves a little time to really enjoy where his life decisions have bought him."

Naruto frowned. "You put him in there with the Monster version of you, didn't you? Doesn't this mean you're going to share the dream with him?"

"I guess I'm in for a few sleepless nights then."

Sasuke might have looked exhausted but he reached up and grabbed Naruto, rolling them both till their positions were reversed and Sasuke was grinning down at a surprised and slightly pained Naruto.

"Care to help me stay awake?"

"That really hurt! I think the bastard broke some of my ribs." Naruto let out a huff. "And you're still as perverted as ever."

Then Sasuke looked at him with an actual genuine smile on his face. It was like in the dream when Naruto had mastered waking himself up. He hadn't seen a smile exactly like that since that dream. It was almost like being back in it during those rare times when Sasuke seemed sincerely happy.

Sasuke had been wrong, when it all came down to it, it didn't have to be so complicated. He could be happy, he could be himself and he could have those things he'd wanted in the dream now that he'd chosen to follow a different path of his own free will.

"I missed you," Naruto said honestly. He could have been talking about his dream Sasuke, but actually it was the same person now after all.

"Well, that shouldn't happen again."

"Damn straight! If you run off again it's not going to take a dream to beat some sense into you, it'll be me!"

Sasuke leaned down till his lips were mere inches away from Naruto's.

"What makes you think it wasn't you that really got to me this time?"

Naruto didn't know how to reply to that, but it wasn't like he had to. Sasuke had followed that up by pressing his lips against Naruto's in a soft almost chaste kiss.

Unfortunately it was interrupted by the sound of a throat being cleared. Loudly.

They both stopped what they were doing and looked over to see Kakashi standing by the fallen body of Tobi with a single raised eyebrow while Bee stood a little behind him, fight weary but still with a weirdly pleased look on his face.

Naruto felt he should be very embarrassed but for once his face didn't feel like it was going to burst into flames as Sasuke helped him to his feet and they stood shoulder to shoulder in front of their former teacher.

"Did you two do this?" Kakashi asked as though he hadn't just caught them making out in the dirt.

"Sure Kakashi! He's asleep and wont wake up. Sasuke trapped him."

Kakashi looked at Sasuke for the longest time without comment before eye-smiling at the both of them and turning his back.

"Well, we better tell the others and take him back to headquarters," he called over his shoulder. "We have a lot more fighting still to do though before the enemy will realise they've lost their leader. I hope you two are ready for this."

"You can count on us Kakashi!" Naruto said enthusiastically, happy that at least one possible confrontation hadn't happened.

Bee hauled Tobi onto his shoulder and the four of them started heading out.

"So did your master plan of bringing me back include them cutting my head off when I step back into the village?" Sasuke asked Naruto as they walked.

He didn't seem hesitant about going, but it must have been on his mind.

"Are you kidding me? I'm the nine-tails Jinjuriki. If they lay a hand on you they'll be fucking sorry. After all I went through to get you back no one in the world is gonna have the power to take you away from me now. And besides, you practically handed them Tobi on a silver platter. What are they gonna do, imprison you for winning the war?"

"Do I get a say in this?"

"No!"

Sasuke smirked at him. "Real life complications, I told you so. You must miss the dreams at times like this, I do."

"Sometimes," Naruto admitted. "But you know, if you ever remember where that little cove was I think that might be a cosy place to revisit one day. Sun, sand…"

"Swimming naked."

"Well there's that too. Reality doesn't have to be so different, not anymore."

Sasuke looked at him and gave him one of those smiles.

"Dreams aren't real, you told me that. Twice I think."

"Of course not. But reality is gonna be a whole lot better, you'll see."

Naruto felt Sasuke's fingertips brush against his as they walked.

"I already do."

TBC….right now!


Epilogue.

Two Weeks Later...

Naruto was lying on his back in the water letting the salty water buoy him up and enjoying the gentle lift and dips in the slight swell.

"So, out of every place the dreams could take you this was the place you most enjoyed?" Sasuke asked him treading water beside him.

"That wasn't the question you asked before we came. I liked the forest a lot, those little frogs were awesome. The caves were…" Naruto paused here to turn his head and give Sasuke a significant look, "pretty interesting too. But I gotta be honest, I like this one the most."

"Is it because we started talking to each other again, or because I kissed you here."

Naruto grinned. "Actually it's 'cause I liked looking at the coloured fish," he joked.

Sasuke watched him for a few moments before lunging forward and dragging him under the water with a big splash. Sasuke held him tight as he dragged him under the water where he held him for a few moments, looking into eyes that were even bluer than the water surrounding them before closing his own eyes and kissing waiting lips.

Until of course he felt himself be playfully pushed away and Naruto struck out for the surface for some much needed air. Sasuke broke the surface a few seconds later.

"Gah, teme! I mean not that it's a bad way to go, but you could always kiss me when you have less of a chance of killing me at the same time."

"I could," Sasuke answered with a smirk. "But I can kiss you whenever I want, that's the whole point. And if you don't want to be drowned, you shouldn't mock me.

"I'll keep that in mind. Boy, it sure is nice here though."

"Really, is this the only place you wanted to go?"

"Of course not. I want to go everywhere, revisit everything. The Monster, well you, told us that all the places we went, it was from your mind right? We found this place didn't we, we should be able to go visit them all."

"That's a lot of places."

"We have time," Naruto said confidently. "The village will still be there when we get back. Right now we can do whatever we want."

Sasuke swam up closer to him, using his legs to keep himself afloat while his hands rested against a warm tan chest, feeling the heartbeat beneath his fingers beat just a little bit faster with his touch.

"Sounds like a plan. Sounds almost like a dream itself."

"Yeah," Naruto agreed, but then, "Except this is real and so much better."

The End.


Notes: Well…. I'm not entirely sure if I should be ducking or not at this point. I'm not happy with the fight, it was perhaps too simple and too short, but I am happy with the little conclusion. Both of them. Anyway, it took me a while to work this chapter into my head so I hope you enjoyed it and it was a fitting end to the fic.

Now before I get blasted about cannon stuff, please understand that when I started this fic and also when I started adding bits to the chapter, the manga was still quite a ways from where it is now. Hence the huge difference. Like I said, best to just go with it :)

Anyway I want to thank you all so much for reading and especially those who took the time to review. I've had a lot of fun talking about and discussing all the aspects of the fic as it was written and please don't underestimate how much I appreciate it.

Oh and as a little add-on I must have mentioned how much I use music as inspiration for fics and which songs I listen to and so on because I've had a few people now ask me about it. So I decided to include a special mention for a song I was listening to when doing my re-read which I think is amazing and fitting. The song is called 'No Light, No Light by Florence and the Machine' so if you get into the mood, have a listen and think back on all those lovely dream moments :)

Hugs,

Dash.

Unsigned Reviews:

Yu-chan – I know, I'm bad for cliffies sometimes. But at least this time you didn't have to deal with one lol.

Well Blackie was probably the good Sasuke out of the two as it turned out but at least that showed that some part of Sasuke could be good. I don't know if I am able to help with positive decision making but if I did in any small way I am very glad :)

Wow, top 2? I will have to create some more Ocs (not that blackie was technically one) or other crazy personalities to make your list and see if I can beat that lol. I loves a challenge.

You might have told me you love me, but I am confused as to why that might make you want to burn me. But for you Yu-chan I will take it as a compliment :)

I hope your graduation was fun and I hope you enjoyed the last chapter. Many hugs to you Yu-chan!

Segment thought – haha, yeah bet that would have been a shocker for Itachi that his little dream world set up turned into a convenient place for the boys to get all cosy with one another lol.

Anyway I hope you enjoy the last chapter ST, hugs to you too!