Bound by Choice @mikathesupremeoverlord
Standing together

"... He really stuck his hand in your chest?" Percy gaped at his friend, forgetting his Katas for a moment to look at Naruto's bare chest firmly, seeing no sign of injury or scarring of any kind. " How are you alive, lighting is dangerous alone but putting it in your chest... you shouldn't be alive."

Naruto smirked a little, then patted the seal on his belly. "If it wasn't for the furball, I wouldn't be. His powers healed me entirely. High speed regeneration, a perk of being a Jinchuuriki... and apparently, since I am an Uzumaki, I heal faster anyway. Mix that together and well, you get the idea."

"Wow, that's some serious power. Why do they hate you for it again? I am still having trouble getting that, you should have been worshipped as a hero."

"I guess, but I would have settled for being treated like a person. Or not ignored, isolation is horrible. Being shunned is a nightmare, but others had it worse. My friend Gaara had assassins' sent after him by his father many times. Sasuke lost his entire family at the hands of his brother... Tsunade lost her brother and boyfriend."

That made Percy stop. "Is that why you aren't mad at him, Sasuke I mean?"

"I... to be honest I am not sure what I feel about him. I know that he is broken and like me no one helped heal his mind. I mean just getting care for my ADHD here and making friends has made me change a lot. I am more serious, calmer and focused. I am meaner too, or so I've noticed ever since I fought that thing. Sasuke never had that kind of help, he just stewed in his own pain day after day. I guess that broke him, changed him, and he decided that my life was worth getting that revenge. I wouldn't know, I've never had anything that matters to me so much."

Percy nodded. "If I lost my mom like that, I can't say I would be any different."

"See what I mean, it's complicated. But don't mistake it, I am not happy with him nor do I really consider him a friend anymore. I realized, through having you as a friend actually, what friendship is. I never had that with Sasuke, we were not bound together with or through anything. Even pain or loneliness like I thought we were. So what I do now with all of that is beyond me. I guess I have time to figure it out."

"Yeah... so, you mentioned before that you were the worst in your class. If so why are you so good now? Is it the ADHD treatments and meditation or is there a trick behind it with this cool chakra stuff?"

"Oh... no, no chakra stuff. Just healing my mind I guess. My Godmom sent me a letter, when I was refusing therapy. She said that it would help me with my emotional problems, then bribed me with a new sword if I went. After a few sessions I realized it really was helping. The therapist knows some of my life story, what I could tell him around my chakra and being from another world that is. She said that being around a loving environment, having friends and whatever is helping me with my compulsion to be liked and thus I'm acting more like myself instead of what I want others to see. I am not so desperate to act out for attention" Then he stopped. "Well, there is also the fact that I can use shadow clones and still remember their knowledge so I am able to be a little lazy."

Smiling about that, Percy turned back to his Katas. He had been practicing them for a few weeks now and had actually made significant progress no matter how foreign they felt to his body. It was showing too, his body had started to change. He had always been scrawny but now he was starting to get some what cut and he liked that. It made him feel good, like he was actually progressing and becoming better.

Naruto started him on basic Katas for the academy style Taijutsu, and wouldn't have him sparring for at least a month. Percy was looking forward to that, but also not at all since he had seen just how powerful Naruto's kicks and punches were.

""'

Naruto watched Percy go through his Katas with a sense of pride, just as he had felt with Konohomaru when he taught him the Rasengan. Percy was progressing fast, faster then Naruto himself had, a cost of having a teacher that actually cares he supposed. Percy might actually become a dangerous force all his own in this world without chakra, especially if he controlled that watery power he clearly had. Depending on his upper limit, Percy might even be a threat to Naruto himself, though he doubted it. He simply lacked the speed, strength and other perks that came with chakra.

'If only the therapist could help you like they've helped me.'

Unbidden, the memories of Naruto's first day in therapy came to him.

'... and Mizuki told me the truth, why everyone hated me. Why I don't know about my parents, why I grew up alone and in such disarray. The truth was the on the day I was born something butchered a lot of people and it took the life of someone they loved to defeat it. My face, my birthmarks, reminding them of the beast and their losses. They hated me because of it." He fell back, exhausted, his story at the end for the time being. He had never shared it all like that, but the words kept flowing even though he had to snip and tuck the words to be appropriate for those in this world that didn't know the truth. His therapist really seemed interested, her eyes wide and willing and almost excited as she took in his tale.

"That... is... a lot." She said, leaning back and blinking. "You have been through so much Naruto, I almost cannot believe it. I don't want to believe it, but I do." She smiled. " Your godmother said your life was hard. I have known her for a long time, many, many years, and in that time I never knew her to lie. She said you were trustworthy and that only breaks my heart more." She leaned towards him, her eyes filled with sadness. "With all of that, what do you really feel towards your home, your friends... it sounds to me, and I am just spit balling here, that you haven't had any positive forces in your life and it has affected you more then anything."

Naruto frowned. "I had Iruka and the Old man."

"Iruka was a good man, but he only really came in late and was more there to berate you. Did he really help you since your graduated from your Academy?" Naruto couldn't help but shamefully shake his head. "That's what I thought. The Old man allowed you to live alone at four years old, giving you money and expecting you to function by yourself at a young age. That is disgraceful, no matter who you are. Children need families, caretakers, loved ones. It allows you to thrive, to learn how to be a person. You have never had that. I think a lot of your struggles, the issues you mentioned, come from that.

Your inability to focus is definitely a form of ADHD but the rest of it, your struggle with authority and your need for attention. Your grasping onto people for a sense of purpose... it all seems to originate from your lack of role models and people to connect you. It may have gotten better, I haven't heard the rest of the story yet, but from what I can tell the issues are not only present but ingrained into who you are and that needs to be addressed if you are to grow and become happier and more productive."

The words hit hard for Naruto, all he could do was nod as the women laid out his life for him like that. It was a strange feeling but not entirely unwelcome. His godmother said it would be vital for him to do this, to grow. She had done so much for him so far, so he decided to trust her. It wasn't easy though and he doubted it would remain or become easy as things went on.

"So how do I fix my issues? I mean you can't just change everything." No matter how much you may want to.

Her smile was warm but pained. "Through sheer effort, time and a lot of therapy. It is my job to guide you through the issues you face, to help you find the source of each issue and overcome it together. We work at your pace and that means we do things as you need them. To start lets work on meditation, a wonderful technique that will help with calm, focus and patience so we can help your day to day life. I know it is boring but it really will help. So let's get into position..."

Naruto let out a long sigh, wondering just when he started to change. It wasn't immediate but at some point he realized how different he was. How different he felt. He was a different person now, but he just didn't entirely understand why. Nothing really changed him before, he was the same person start to finish in his old world but something about this one had molded into a person he actually liked.

It was almost painful... realizing that he actually hated who he was before, but that was the truth of it.

And now he was happy, with himself, his life and just the way things were going. He hoped it would stay that way for a while.

'Enough of that, I don't have time to wallow. Time to practice my archery.' Summoning his bow from the seal on his forearm, Naruto turned and summoned three clones. "Your my targets. Stay still."

Each one of them gulped, and he felt their pain when he made his shot, realizing his aim was just fine.

"Percy, take out the pen. I think we to start working on your swordplay. I cannot teach you how the Greeks wielded their blades but I can show you how to wield a Kunai. The principle has to be similar."

"""

Time passed swiftly for Naruto and Percy both, training nightly and studying daily to maintain their averages. Percy started to show signs of being really skilled with the swordThey had exams coming swiftly and neither of them were looking forward to it. Since they had lost all trust for Grover or Brunner, they had made a point to totally separate from both parties entirely. Percy almost never spoke to Grover, who took in quite badly and spent a lot of time forlornly looking at Percy from the cafeteria seat he was now at, getting extra bullied by Nancy and her sycophantic friends in between attempts to talk to Percy in any fashion. Mr. Brunner spent a lot of time trying to approach Percy, maybe for the Pen but probably for other things. He never got close as Naruto made a point to guard Percy and literally growl at Mr. Brunner whenever he got too close. It was kind of fun to be honest.

As for school, things actually got better despite the oddness about no one remembering Miss Dodds and the sudden appearance of Miss Kerr. The new math teacher was actually not bad and was rather respectful. Percy figured out keeping his mouth shut about Miss Dodds was a good thing, especially when Naruto told him about similar the changes were to genjutsu. Together they made a point to keep their heads down, and that oddly helped Percy to finally start making more friends. Not a lot and nothing special about the friendships but it was enough to help with losing Grover. That had hit Percy pretty hard even if he tried to hide it... Naruto convinced him to keep ignoring Grover, his lies were clearly a sign he wasn't to be trusted. The stories about the village hiding the Kyuubi were exactly what was needed to convince Percy.

Percy and Naruto had both been invited to return to Yancy's academy the next year, Naruto as the top student and tutor, Percy as the most improved Student in both grades and behavior. Without Miss Dodds he never got another detention or ISS again, learning meditation from Naruto helped with his aggression and ADHD so he could ignore Nancy far easier so that helped with many of the confrontations that hurt him before.

Overall all it was just a rather satisfying experience and a good half of the year both boys enjoyed.

Eventually it actually came time for the Latin test, the final exam. Naruto was out first and Percy was second, both of them smugly glaring at the various idiots who had mocked Percy at one time or another. It was very satisfying to be entirely honest. Both of them would later ace the test.

When it came time to leave the school Naruto had a clone pack both of their belongings, so they could stick together and not get cornered by either Grover or Brunner. However that was not to be as Grover ended up on the bus with them as they moved back into the city. During the whole bus ride, Grover kept glancing nervously down the aisle, watching the other passengers. It occurred to Naruto, who had long learned how to read people, that he'd always acted nervous and fidgety when they'd left Yancy, as if he expected something bad to happen. It was actually quiet alarming, reminding Naruto of his first trip out of the village when they went to Wave...

Just as twitchy.

It was so distracting that Naruto rolled his eyes. "Spit it out Grover, you look ready to jump out of your own skin."

Grover actually nearly did just that. "What?"

Percy took over. "Your just about ready to run screaming down the bus, you flinch every time some one so much as coughs or adjusts their legs. It's pretty obvious you are on the lookout, what are you looking for."

Grover all but shrunk into himself before letting out a sigh. "Nothing, there's nothing to worry about." His voice was low, but pained.

"Your a terrible liar Grover, you wonder why I am refusing to talk to you."

That seemed to be the ticket and Grover actually sat up a little. From his shirt pocket, he fished out a grubby business card. "Just take this, okay? In case you need me

this summer.

The card was in fancy script that annoyed Naruto and must have killed Percy.

Grover Underwood

Keeper

Half-Blood Hill

Long Island, New York

(800) 009-0009

"What's Half-"

"Don't say it aloud!" he yelped. "That's my, um ... sum-mer address."

"Okay," Percy said glumly. "So, like, if I want to come visit your mansion... "

He nodded. "Or ... or if you need me."

"Why would I need you?" Percy's voice was cold, mean and it made Naruto smile.

'That a boy, don't let his cute face get back in your good graces so quickly. Make him earn it, your worth being treated like a person.'

Grover blushed right down to his Adam's apple. "Look, Percy, the truth is, I-I kind of have to protect you."

All year long, before Naruto had gotten Percy to break away from Grover, the sweet boy had gotten in fights, keeping bullies away from him. To suggest that Percy would ever need Grover for any kind of protection was down right laughable. Besides, that was Naruto's job. Percy was his to protect and he enjoyed doing it.

"Grover," Percy said, "what exactly are you protecting me from?"

There was a huge grinding noise under their feet. Black smoke poured from the dashboard and the whole bus filled with a smell like rotten eggs. The driver cursed and limped the Greyhound over to the side of the highway.

After a few minutes clanking around in the engine compartment, the driver announced that we'd all have to get off. They filed outside with everybody else. They were on a stretch of country road-no place you'd notice if you didn't break down there. On our side of the highway was nothing but maple trees and litter from passing cars. On the other side, across four lanes of asphalt shimmering with afternoon heat, was an old-fashioned fruit stand.

The stuff on sale looked really good: heaping boxes of blood red cherries and apples, walnuts and apricots, jugs of cider in a claw-foot tub full of ice. There were no customers, just three old ladies sitting in rocking chairs in the shade of a maple tree, knitting the biggest pair of socks anyone had ever seen. These socks were the size of sweaters, but they were clearly socks. The lady on the right knitted one of them. The lady on the left knitted the other. The lady in the middle held an enormous basket of electric-blue yarn.

All three women looked ancient, with pale faces wrinkled like fruit leather, silver hair tied back in white bandannas, bony arms sticking out of bleached cotton dresses. The weirdest thing was, they seemed to be looking right at Percy. Naruto knew immediately that they were not human, they radiated the same kind of power the the Kyuubi did. That all present power that boiled against your skin only whatever they were it eclipsed Kyuubi by many many times.

Percy and Naruto looked over at Grover to say something about this and saw that the blood had drained from his face.

His nose was twitching.

"Grover?" Percy said. "Hey, man-"

"Tell me they're not looking at you. They are, aren't they?"

"Yeah. Weird, huh? You think those socks would fit me?"

"Not funny, Percy. Not funny at all."

The old lady in the middle took out a huge pair of scissors-gold and silver, long-bladed, like shears. It was impossible to not notice Grover catch his breath.

"We're getting on the bus," he told me. "Come on."

"What?" I said. "It's a thousand degrees in there and I refuse to be alone with you."

"Come on!'" He pried open the door and climbed inside, but Percy and Naruto stayed back. Naruto swore they looked familiar, he just couldn't remember where... but he knew that he had seen them before.

Across the road, the old ladies were still watching them. The middle one cut the yarn, and Naruto swore he could hear that snip across four lanes of traffic. Her two friends balled up the electric-blue socks and it was then that Naruto realized, with some horror, that he knew them.

'The fates from Brunner's class... do they exist in my world too or are they... what are they exactly, not gods but something more...'

At the rear of the bus, the driver wrenched a big chunk of smoking metal out of the engine compartment. The bus shuddered, and the engine roared back to life.

The passengers cheered.

"Darn right!" yelled the driver. He slapped the bus with his hat. "Everybody back on board!"

A few moments later, when they had gotten going, Grovr was shivering and his teeth were chattering.

"Grover?"

"Yeah?"

"What are you not telling us?

He dabbed his forehead with his shirt sleeve. "Percy, what did you see back at the fruit stand?"

"You mean the old ladies? What is it about them, man? They're not like ... Mrs. Dodds, are they?"

His expression pissed Naruto off. It was just like the Old man, whenever he asked about his parents or why people hated him... pure obstinance and a refusal to be honest. "Just tell me what you saw."

"The middle one took out her scissors, and she cut the yarn."

He closed his eyes and made a gesture with his fingers that might've been crossing himself, but it wasn't. It was something else, something almost-older and Naruto felt it's power once again.

He said, "You saw her snip the cord."

"Yeah. So?" But even as I said it, I knew it was a big deal.

"This is not happening," Grover mumbled. He started chewing at his thumb. "I don't want this to be like the last time."

"What last time?"

"Always sixth grade. They never get past sixth."

"Grover, What are you talking about?"

"Let me walk you home from the bus station. Promise mAH!" He yelped as Naruto reached over and grasped his hand, squeezing tightly. You could hear the crunching of Grover's bones between Naruto's fingers.

"Start talking or I kill you here and now. Trust me, I can get away with it and I will."

Grover, to his credit, said not a damn word the entire way to the bus station...


Chapter end, tell me what you think in the reviews.

I worked really hard on this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it.

Love, your Ninja Overlord,

Mika.

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. Chapter 1 1245 1 0 2. To School we go 2070 0 0 3. Changes of time 2205 0 0 4. Fighting a Fury 2531 0 0 5. Standing together 2738 0 0 6. First mission in the new world 1873 0 0 7. To Camp 2425 0 0 8. Learning the Truth 4100 0 0 9. Seeing the Camp 2026 0 0 10. Proving a point 2214 0 0 11. First Day of Camp 3092 0 0 12. Duels and Dancing 1945 0 0 13. Discovery of Relations 2468 0 0 14. Weighty Proclamation 961 0 0 15. Missions 3359 0 0 16. To the bus they go 1892 0 0 17. Into the Forest we go 1764 0 0 18. Talk and what else? 1925 0 0 19. Trains and A Devil's Advocate 1524 0 0