That was her name. She picked apart the language the best she could in her current state and, once she began attempting to communicate with the characters by copying the sounds that they made, she was met by multiple amused chuckles. It was only a matter of time before she started testing out the boundaries of her new body and was soon able to move with a modicum of competence, despite her size.
"She's really active, isn't she?" she heard the redhead, Kushina, say rather admiringly as she squirmed out of her grasp and crawled over to the other side of the room.
"Ma!" she burbled, taking one pudgy hand and knocking a scroll off the drawer and onto the floor. It was only after she pointed at the squiggles on the soft paper and started screaming when the woman ignored her that Kushina seemed to understand what she was trying to convey and began to read to her.
The adults seemed to get used to her rather strange desire to hear them read so she didn't have to try as hard the next times to be understood. Slowly she began to match the characters to the sounds and, although she didn't understand most of it, her mind was active and so she was content. During her whole time there she only came into contact with three different adults, all of whom she recognised: Kushina, Mikoto and, very rarely, Fugaku Uchiha.
He was a stocky man, with chin length choppy hair that made his nose look too tall and his eyes too narrow, and every time she had seen him he had always been in an awful mood. If he was her father she was not impressed with how he treated her. Whenever she brought a scroll to him, he was the only one who pointedly ignored her.
Itachi, however, he showed ridiculous favouritism to, carrying the toddler often and answering any questions he seemed to have. She didn't really care but she was definitely scornful of the petty actions of what was supposed to be a grown man.
One day she decided the way that she firmly distinguished her new body and her old mind as two separate identities was unhealthy and made a resolution to merge them - after all her mind was now in control of this body.
It was coincidentally the day Kushina brought some brushes and paper on her visit and tried to teach her how to write.
Emphasis on tried.
Her new body lacked the muscle control needed to make the fine lines the redhead seemed to have no problem drawing and the fact that she was using a brush was not helping either. Once Mikoto arrived she did not look pleased in the slightest at the mess and promptly replaced said brushes and ink with pencils. It was quite amusing to see Kushina's usually bright demeanour wilt in shame at all the spilled ink and handprints across the wooden floor. Thankfully the Uchiha matriarch didn't seem too angry and had simply sighed, ruffling her hair and starting to try and scrub at the ugly black marks streaked across the floor.
Of course the ink had already dried so it didn't come out of the mahogany flooring and, once Fugaku arrived, he had exploded in absolute fury. The air around her turned cold and the glint in his coal black eyes sent an icy shiver down her spine. He didn't bother speaking to her but simply pointed to the marks and then proceeded to slap her across the face.
She was absolutely aghast at his behaviour. The sharp sting caused tears to automatically well in her eyes and before she knew it she was wailing, crying out for Mikoto, Kushina, anyone to remove her from this bastard's proximity. It was insane, for this grown man to strike out at a child, a baby, younger than his own. She remembered from her old life that this sort of action would have been reported to the police immediately…but she smothered her indignant feelings. She wasn't in that world anymore. This sort of discipline was probably normal here.
"Urusai!" he barked and, although he didn't strike her again, he shouted some more and he threw a rag at her before slamming the door shut and leaving.
She was left there for at least the whole night but she didn't touch the rag. Perhaps it was her adult mind screaming injustice but she hadn't been the one to find the ink nor was she the one to initiate using the brushes. No, those decisions had been made for her by an adult and she was going to stand by those as not her own and, therefore, not her fault.
Still, her left cheek burned and quiet sniffles accompanied her throughout the night. It hurt.
The next day she was woken from her huddled position by the quiet movement of the door. Mikoto stood there in her usual sleeping clothes and she realised that the woman had been home during the disciplining the night before.
She had been there and she hadn't done anything about it. Tears welled up once more but this time it wasn't because she was hurt nor was it because of relief, it was due to the unfamiliar feeling of burning rage.
She didn't talk to any Uchiha for the next week or so, ignoring Itachi's offers to play and Mikoto's gentle enquiries. The next time Kushina visited, which was a long time later, she threw herself at her, bawling into the redhead's trousers. During the whole time she was there she clung to her tearily, not allowing her to let go and promptly ignored the raven haired woman's coaxing.
"She's been like this since the painting disaster." she heard Mikoto say rather sadly as she lay contently on Kushina's lap, with the woman's hands running soothingly through her hair.
"Aw poor baby. That's quite a long grudge to hold." the redhead cooed gently.
"She hasn't apologised and Fugaku's still furious because of it." the Uchiha matriarch continued.
Wait. Apologised? Unknowingly, the child tensed at that word. And at that name.
"Why does he want an apology, wasn't it my fault? I've said sorry. I've also offered to pay for the floor if that's the problem. " Kushina frowned, her hands pausing. She watched as Mikoto shrugged helplessly.
"You know that's not the problem." she sighed.
What was the problem then?
"That's no reason to take it out on the child, she's barely two for heaven's sake." Kushina growled and Ama snuggled into her protective hold.
"Exactly. She's two now and would be fine in the clan orphanage but she's still with us. I'm waiting on her brother because -" the Uchiha's gaze softened as she paused, staring at the small frame.
Ama strained to hear what was said next.
"because that place is an absolute — and you know it! You're the one that's always complaining about the — caretakers and the children and how —awful it is! You can't Mikoto, not Ama!"
She didn't understand some of the vocabulary used but she could take a pretty accurate guess from the redhead's infuriated tone.
Regretfully, Ama did end up in the orphanage not long after that conversation and her time there was strangely eye-opening. Kushina protested so viciously she had to be removed from the Uchiha compound but there wasn't anything she could do about it because it was a strictly clan matter.
She learnt many things at that orphanage.
One, that her full name was Amaterasu, as it was scrawled on a piece of cardboard and given to her to hold on the first day there. Not like anyone bothered to look at it or cared what she was called.
Two, since clan orphans were widely discriminated against and were pitted against each other at the orphanage, they were incredibly distrustful and were all very…alone. From what she could see, everything and anything was a competition there. To actually consume the measly amount of food you were given you had to protect it. To get clean water you had to get there first. To prevent sleeping outside you had to finish your chores... but finishing chores was incredibly difficult as everyone tried their hardest to sabotage each other. Knocking over that pail of soapy, grimy water, throwing the clean pans lined up in the kitchen outside into the mud, jumping all over made beds with muddy shoes etc. etc.
Three, the caretakers favoured the strong ones and squashed the weak themselves even though they knew of the dirty tricks used against them. It was probably in their job description. They seemed to strangely enjoy giving out punishments and Ama recognised sadistic tendencies in them. They probably all needed a therapist. Any normal caretakers quitted the job after a day.
All in all, to survive there you had to be big, strong and most of all heartless.
To say Amaterasu had been appalled was an understatement.
But slowly, she began to understand. She worked out that this was how the clan made most out of their orphans. Instead of giving them that extra care in place of the lost parents, they weaselled out the weak and shoved the stronger ones into the academy so that they'd be out of their hair as soon as possible. She guessed funding was a problem. This method also meant the children would already be used to the 'better you than me' mentality that would inevitably help them when they made their first kill as shinobi. Furthermore, she would even take it as far to say that it was incentive for parents to not get themselves killed.
It was sick and backwards, even for Naruto times, and what was strange was that she found herself caring...for the first time since she had been reborn into this world.
She realised that she had never viewed the people around her as real people. For some reason it was imbedded into her mind that they were just characters. Perhaps that was the reason why she didn't care so much when Fugaku hadn't acted even just a little like a father figure. Perhaps that was why it had been so easy to ignore the whole family after the painting incident.
To some extent she hadn't fully comprehended that this was real now, this was her world, people here could feel pain and that this was their lives.
Those tiny, weeping kids shoved outside into the biting cold weren't just characters drawn to pull at the hearts of TV watchers.
That girl, no more than four years old, would have felt every brutal contact she made with the sharp edges of the stairs that she was shoved down.
And that boy, who was just a tiny bit older, looked so terrified of the large woman coming in brandishing a rolling pin that he was currently hyperventilating.
That was when Amaterasu Uchiha realised that, no matter what life she had before, no matter how she had viewed this world in that life, this was her universe now and for some reason she had been given another chance to live. That chance meant she could change things, she wasn't just a spectator watching behind a screen. She was going to change things because she had somehow been gifted with knowledge that no one else had in this world. She was going to stand by what she thought was right, and she wasn't going to waste this gift.
"It was me."
The woman's advance on the young child stopped and the whimpers lessened.
It's changing, Ama.
"What did yer say, brat?" she asked quietly, the type of quiet that was often used to make children more unsure with themselves, more intimidated.
Shame for this woman she wasn't a child.
"I said, it was me. Gee, is your hearing getting worse already auntie? I heard that's one of the first signs of ageing you know?" the raven haired girl told her cheerfully, observing the woman's face slowly reddening in fury. "I'm sorry about the mess in your kitchen auntie, I really am. I'm just too clumsy. I'll make it up to you, I promise."
"An'how," she spat, "are yer plannin' on doin' tha'?"
While the woman's attention was focused on herself, Ama caught the little boy's shocked gaze and meaningfully glanced towards the door.
"I can clear up this mess by tomorrow?" she tried hopefully, watching the boy tiptoe out of the kitchen in the corner of her eye.
"Yer think that'll be enough? You lil' kids never learn." she roared right in her face and Ama tried very hard not to gag at the smell of the garlic and onion that she had undoubtedly had for dinner.
"I'll take your delivery around the compound tomorrow! For the next week! For the next month!" she tried once more, acting more and more scared the further the woman advanced.
The woman stopped, a grin leering on her face. Ama's heart dropped at that expression.
"Alrigh' lil' twit. Every day for a month yer'll be deliverin' to anywhere I want you to or I'll thump ya into next month, ya got it?" she snarled and Ama nodded. Thanks to that she got away with only a sharp kick to the back that sent her tumbling out of the kitchen.
The head caretaker was called Tami and she was quite the baker. She ran a delivery service around the Uchiha compound, and received many orders for her goods.
The slight problem with this was that the food smelled so good, and it didn't help that she was constantly hungry. She was given a small trolley to carry the food in, but good Lord the temptation was so great. She was eyeing one particularly tasty looking dango set as she loaded them into the trolley when thankfully a voice snatched her from her thoughts.
"The o-other guy went m-mi-missing after eating o-one."
Ama turned to see the boy she let escape yesterday sitting on the stairs. With a twinge in her heart, she noticed how he was sporting a new bruise on his pale cheek.
"What do you mean 'went missing'?" she asked curiously while continuing to load the goods. When she didn't hear an answer she looked over to see that the boy's lower lip was trembling.
"Anyway, I don't blame him." she continued hurriedly. "That crazy lady is nuts but she sure can cook." she said with a sigh as she tried to knot the top flap of the trolley correctly before giving up. The quiet boy watched her with large brown eyes and her heart clenched at just how thin he was.
"Y-you arrived quite re-recently, right?" he mumbled, getting up and deftly tying the knot with surprising ease.
"Mhm. Two weeks ago. Thanks." she said with a small smile. "How old are you?"
"Five." he murmured. That explained why he was quite a bit bigger than her even if he was stick thin. She soon learnt that his name was Arata while he accompanied her to the rusty orphanage gates and that he'd been here since he was three.
"W-what do you want?" he suddenly asked when they reached the exit. She glanced at him, startled, and at her confused expression he frowned.
"...for helping me." he told her quietly and she grinned cheerily, reaching up to pat his shoulder.
"See ya later, Arata." she waved before turning her back to set off down the empty, dusty street and leaving the poor boy confused, awed and scared all at the same time.
Hello! It's me. I was wondering if after all these years -
...ok never mind. That song is still plaguing my mind and I love it.
What do you think of Ama-chan so far? Did you expect an awful Uchiha orphanage? The idea just came to me and it'll hopefully tie in really well with what I have planned in the future (remember Obito anyone?) but if anyone gets it now I'd be very surprised haha.
Leave something to say you've been!