The Dragon Dilemma

I don't own Naruto and Zoids

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"Talking"

'Thoughts'

/-- Scene change

)-()-( Different point of view

?-? Flash back

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Chapter 1

His arm feels numb as he stumbles through the forest. He just didn't want to be around people right now. He's only six years old but that doesn't stop people from beating him up. He doesn't know what his done to earn his beatings, but for now, he doesn't really care as he tries not to flinch as he's breathing. It's foggy and he couldn't see much that's in front of him, but it would help if his left eye wasn't swelled shut as he trips on something.

He groans and begins to cry silently as he picks himself up to sit up right. He holds his one arm, trying not to bump it too hard on his legs. He whimpers softly, trying to stop himself from crying. He scans the area, fearful of someone finding him and beating him up some more.

He gulps as he hears a branch break to his left. He swallows as he looks in that direction. He doesn't see anything and he only tenses up as the silence continues. After some time, he finally gathers up some courage and asks, "Is anyone here?" He hears an odd growl coming from his left side. He looks and stares at the blue eyes looking down at him. His mouth opens as he gasps as the fog moves, revealing a black head that's attached to the glowing blue eyes. "What are you?" He asks softly, not sure if whatever this thing is friendly.

"Shadow." His mind translates the odd roar. "Is that your name? Or is that what you are?" He asks. "Name. I'm an Organoid." His mind translates once more. "Cool. I'm Naruto." He tells Shadow and begins to note the rest of Shadow's body. "You look kind of like a dragon." He says out loud. Shadow makes an odd snort sound and he smiles sheepishly. "I guess you already know that, huh?" He says once more and then he asks, "So, where are you from?" He gets the feeling that Shadow's smirking, even though Shadow's snout didn't seem to pull upwards.

/----

It's been six years since he first meet Shadow and he he's changed quite a bit. For one thing, he has long since stopped caring what every villager thought about him, he no longer seeks out attention like he use to. He actually goes out of his way as so avoid the busiest streets and places, he didn't want people following him. He often meets up with Shadow in deserted places, even within the village.

He has to admit that he finds it funny that in a village full of ninjas that Shadow has remained undetected during half of his life. Not that he's complaining, he's learnt a lot from Shadow that might not be relevant now, but that doesn't mean that it's useless. Shadow was of the opinion that if he's here, then some Zoids are also here on this world as he had. He didn't see why not, for though Shadow is an Organoid he's still a Zoid.

He sits down at his regular seat in the back of the classroom. He's about fifteen minutes early, though Sasuke still beat him here. 'Not that Mr. Brood and Gloom has anything better to do.' He thinks as he grins softly. It also turned out the reason for his beating that day when he met Shadow had to do with all of Sasuke's clan dying. Either Shadow or him had been able to figure out how the villagers linked Sasuke's clan's murder to him, but it did explain the beating he had received.

He leans on the desk, his arms folded under him to form a pillow. He smiles softly as he watches as students begin to drift into the classroom. Shikamaru and his buddy Choji sit to his right. He nods in their direction and they nod as they sit down. The three of them weren't overly friendly, just on better terms between them then with anyone else in class. If push come to shove, he would admit that they might be friends, if he knows that the definition of a friend is.

He focuses in on the crowd of girls that seems to be trying to figure out which of them will sit with the ice king, Sasuke Uchiha. Soon it's left to a blond girl by the name of Ino and her rival Sakura the pink haired girl. He didn't know what's worst, the way they fawn over Mr. Stick-up-his-butt or the way they were always wasting energy fighting each other to be close to him. Soon the blond did something worthy of a fox, Ino slid right into the seat as soon as Sakura was distracted by Kiba insulting Sasuke's demeanour.

"I thought for sure that Sakura would win this time." Choji says between bites. He smiles slightly and answers, "There's no understanding the workings of the world, Choji. Especially when there's a girl involved." They didn't expect Shikamaru to add anything, knowing that the Nara is already asleep. Usually Choji and him keep each other company while the shadow user slept. Choji nods in agreement as people settle down as their teacher, Iruka, comes into the room.

Soon they're reviewing what they know for this afternoon's examine. He's not nervous as he would have been a few years ago, for Shikamaru had helped him learn the water clone Jutsu, for the regular clone was just too difficult for him to do it correctly. He finds it hard to do any Jutsus that require the least amount of charka, he just doesn't have that kind of control over his charka and might never will.

The morning seems to fly by, soon they're heading out of the classroom for lunch. Shikamaru and Choji head off in another direction as he heads off to find Shadow's hiding place. He heads a soft growl and follows it until he finds an alley. He sits down and grins as he glances at Shadow. He picks up his lunch that Shadow brought, he stopped taking lunch with him when kids at school use to either steal or ruin his lunch. Also, he couldn't find a shop that would allow him to buy fresh food without charging him an arm or a leg. Also, Shadow usually steals his lunch from some restaurant so he knows it'll be great.

They remained in comfortable silence during him eating his lunch and after. He day dreams a bit about what'll be like to pilot a Zoid. He's startled as Shadow moves deeper into the alley and he watches as a pair of his classmates walk pass, he sighs and says, "See you later, Shadow. I got a test to pass." Shadow roars out, "Good luck." He nods and soon disappears out of view of the alley.

/----

He studies the head band he received. He is both happy and proud at passing, but also can't help but feel cheated too for either of the teachers asked what kind of clone he mastered or gave him a positive comment. He sighs and pockets his head band. He looks up at the four heads carved on the face of the cliff. His eyes lingered on the four's head. He sighs and looks away. The only real reason why he's even trying to be a ninja had to do with exploring the lands beyond Fire Country for Zoids. As a kid, he use to dream about becoming Hokage, but as he learnt more about Shadow's home world, his dreams have shifted and he didn't want to make a living within this reality, but on Zi.

Instead of being the greatest Hokage that the world has ever know, he simply wants to be a great Zoid pilot and warrior. The idea of killing people had helped to change his direction in life, it also help that in defeating other zoid pilots he would earn money and rank. He knows that Shadow would most likely carry him until he learnt how to pilot the Zoid, but he's willing to learn as quickly as he can and as soon as he can. He smiles as he walks through a run down section of the village.

)-(Sasuke)-(

He's sitting in his usual seat. He hears someone walk in and out of the corner of his eye he notices that it's that kid, Naruto. He sighs silently as he kind of hoped that someone other then girls would sit to his right. He's getting tired of those girls, for they're not just annoying, but also so very weak. He also refused to move from his seat just because a bunch of girls bother him.

He shifts a bit and looks over to where the blond is sitting. He notices that instead of wearing the head band around his forehead, Naruto has it hanging around his neck. He notices the short green shirt that reveals a mesh under the shit as well. He notices that the blond boy has a gazed look in his eyes, which means that Naruto was thinking about something. If it had been a few years ago, he might have figured that Naruto was thinking about pranks and reman, but that was like when they were six year old. He didn't really remember just when Naruto started to withdraw from the spot light, for he just wasn't interested in those around him. It wasn't until this year did he begin to pay attention to his male classmates did he find that yes indeed the Naruto that he remembered growing up was gone and in the loud mouth's place was someone who seemed to hide in shadows. A deep part of him found that kind of sad, but he ignored that part as he considers if he should asks Naruto for a spar one of this days.

Soon people began to enter and he turns right back around to face the desk and black board. He didn't need anyone to see his interest in Naruto, especially his so-called fan club. He doubts that Naruto would agree to a friendly spar if he's being bugged by those girls.

He groans within his mind as the swarm of girls begins to gather around him. He tries his hardest to tone them out as well as to think of other things too. With what seems to be years, Iruka finally enters into the room and things settle down. He sighs mentally as Iruka begins to lecture them about their duties. He just wishes that Iruka begins on who's on who's team very soon.

He was ready to kill someone as Iruka announces that he'll give out the teams after lunch. Soon he's among the last ones out of the classroom. He blinks as he notices Naruto is still has that gazed look in his eye. He pauses and considers something that is until Naruto snaps out of it and gets up off the seat. Their eyes meet and he turns and heads out the door. He can hear Naruto follow behind him. He wonder's if just what's keeping him from asked Naruto to spar with him later. 'It's not like he's going to shout it from the roof tops. He's trying to remain unseen, so he wouldn't do anything to alter that.' He thinks as he heads off on his own, hoping to find a route to his usual lunch spot without anyone finding him.

)-(Shadow)-(

Its night time and he knows that something's happening. He takes one last look in the direction of Naruto's apartment before heading to where his scanners are picking up something. He're curious as to what it is, for it's coming up on his scanner. It takes him a while to make it there without using his wings to jet through the air. He didn't want to be found out just because he's grown impatient.

After about two hours, he watches as a bunch of ninjas move a Hellcat Zoid through the gate, along with what appears to be a Command Wolf. 'Neither is good enough. I guess we'll just have to wait until Naruto gets an assignment outside of the village to search for a suitable Zoid.' He thinks as he watches the humans finish getting the two Zoids pass the wall.

He doesn't like these humans, for they don't seem to like the child he has chosen to partner himself up with. He can see bits of his old partner in Naruto, for both Naruto and Raven were orphans and they both had a rough upbringing, but Naruto seemed to be more resilient towards what life throws at him. It also most likely helped that nobody around here were trying to warp him into a monster, though it seemed that they already see him as some kind of demon or monster which was just plain illogical from his stand point. He turns away and heads off towards his usual spot to rest.

To be continued …