Third Person Pov
That was all Orochimaru needed to say. Kiku once again started to run, she grunted as she went through the obstacle course. She bumped into some of the walls as she ran at full speed.
She had no idea how long it had been since she had been taken from her family home and to be honest she missed it.
Some days she spent her days following Orochimaru around in the lab. Other days she was part of some of Orochimaru's experiments. She wasn't outright abused nor tortured, but she wasn't treated like a person but instead it was like how you would treat a lab rat.
Today Orochimaru was running a few test, there were a few seals on her body where he was measuring her heart rate and other vitals. From what he had told her they had a special guest that would be observing her so she needed to do her best on all of the tests.
She panted as she climbed up on the obstacle course and swung herself across the monkey bars making sure to avoid falling and slowing down.
Quickly she jumped down and stepped to the side to avoid a few projectiles. The kunai flew right past her as she side stepped.
Something she had noticed was that because knives and sharp metals didn't penetrate her skin, Orochimaru was willing to use live weapons in the testing.
That didn't mean that the flying projectiles didn't hurt when they made contact or that the sharp metals didn't dig into her skin uncomfortably when she had to hold onto the bars or she bumped into barbwires.
At first she had been quite vocal about not wanting to run the obstacles because she did get hurt but Orochimaru had been quite crossed when she complained about it and made her run it more than once because she had complained. It didn't take long before she realized that it was better not to say anything.
Kiku panted as she ran down a hall, the floor was becoming uncomfortably hot and whenever she slowed down a deal on the middle of her back sent slight shocks to make her speed up.
She could feel tears prickle the corner of her eyes as she as fast as her little legs could take her.
The second she crossed the finish line she nearly collapsed but through sheer willpower she kept herself upright as she tried to catch her breath. Orochimaru had warned her about throwing herself on the floor while the visitor was there.
How he saw her was a mystery to her since she didn't see them anywhere around her.
Hiruzen nodded as Kiku made it to the end of the finish line. He stood alongside Orochimaru and Kushina Uzumaki in the observation booth.
"She definitely has potential. Kushina you have the seal correct?" He glanced over at the red haired woman.
The woman took a few seconds to compose herself as she watched the small little girl pant. "Yes, Hokage-sama. I have the seal prepared. I can... I can apply it at anytime." Kushina forced herself to say.
The girl was small, and to be honest she looked feeble and pale. Kushina could feel guilt build up in the pit of her stomach as she stared at the young girl.
"I have been training her in the basics. And she is quite obedient as well so I don't believe we will have any trouble conditioning her completely." Orochimaru grinned as he looked down at his test subject.
"Alright then I guess we can go ahead and proceed with the sealing." Hiruzen stated as he smoked his pipe.
Kiku stared at the door waiting for them to take her out of the testing room. Usually she went through the obstacle course and when the alarm rang once she had to turn around and go through the obstacle course again but backwards. But when the alarm rang three times consecutively that meant that testing was over.
The door opened and Orochimaru stood at the doorway. "Come we have a few more things to do today." He stated before he walked away. She quickly hurried behind him.
Orochimaru wasn't necessarily kind to her, but he didn't go out of his way to be cruel to her. So she wasn't really afraid of him. But being that he was the only adult she really saw she had become attached to him.
He led her down the hall and into a room she had never been to before. She bit her lower lip as she took a deep breath preparing herself to ask where they were going, but all it took was one glance from Orochimaru to shut her up.
She blushed in embarrassment and twiddled her fingers. She was well aware that Orochimaru did not like when she asked 'unnecessary' questions. She preferred his uninterested blank expression rather than an annoyed one anyway so she kept her mouth shut.
As she walked in behind him she took a quick look around. The room was white and there was a metal table along with many bottles of ink and a ink brush set.
"Well hello!" A loud boisterous voice rang from behind her. Kiku squealed in shock as she turned around.
Kushina grinned as she looked down at the small girl. "I'm Kushina, you must be Kiku."
Kiku looked up to see a woman with the brightest red hair that she had ever seen. She was slightly taken back by Kushina's demeanor and a part of her became giddy. "um, hello." Kiku managed to stammer out. She slightly glanced over at Orochimaru to see if he was okay with her talking to the red haired woman.
Orochimaru gave her an uninterested look and turned away to talk to an old man that she hadn't noticed before.
"It's nice to meet you... Kushina-san." She bowed politely and Kushina squealed. "Aren't you a cutie pie." She chuckled but kept a small distance.
"Get on the table kiku." Orochimaru ordered as he handed a file to the old man and Kiku bowed. "Excuse me." She stammered before she hurried to do what Orochimaru told her.
Experience had told her that Orochimaru was not a patient man and she was not willing to risk upsetting him.
It took a bit of effort but Kiku was able to climb on the table and laid down. "She's quite obedient." The hokage stated as he held kiku's file.
"Of course, obedience is key. Otherwise I would loose a lot of valuable time." Orochimaru chuckled. Kushina on the otherhand tried her best not to frown as she looked at the small girl scamper off.
"This woman, Kushina Uzumaki, will be performing a seal on you. With this seal you will be allowed out more often. She will also be your sensei from now on. And this, this is our esteemed Hokage. I expect you to be most courteous with him. Understood." Orochimaru stated as he walked over to the table.
Kiku wiggled slightly as she settled down ontop of the table, she glanced over at the Hokage and then at Kushina.
Orochimaru quickly helped her take off her shirt and her shorts, before making sure that she laid down and he then began strapping her down. Kiku was quiet but she was wiggling slightly as she was being strapped down.
She couldn't help but stare at both of the newcomers. She had lots of questions but she was to shy to voice them.
"This should be good enough." Orochimaru stated as he took a step back.
Kushina glanced at him and nodded. "I can take care of it from here." She stated and the older men nodded and left the room.
"You okay? The straps aren't too tight?" Kushina asked and the small girl just blinked and stared up at her. "I'm... I'm very sorry." Kushina whispered lowly as she made sure that the straps were secured.
Kiku was confused but she didn't say anything. Kushina bit her lower lip and grabbed a bottle of ink and a brush. "I'm going to need you to be very still okay. It's going to be cold and it is going to tickle." She stated and the small girl nodded.
Kushina gripped her brush tightly. 'she... she is just a child. She's just a child!'. she closed her eyes and took in a deep breath and slowly exhaled.
"So, kiku-chan what kind of things do you like to do?" Kushina asked as she began to work on the seal.
Kiku was quiet for a moment, her eyes scanned around the room before she opened her mouth to speak. "I like to play, I really really like running... well not as much anymore, cause it hurts sometimes." she whispered out before quieting down.
Kushina paused for a second before taking in a deep breath. "Oh, did you use to play a lot back home?" She asked softly.
"No, back then I couldn't walk, but now I can. My mommy used to sing to me though and she'd tell me lots of stories." Kiku mumbled out as she watched Kushina work.
"Oh, what kind of songs did she use to sing to you?" Kushina asked and kiku softly smiled.
A few hours had passed and Kushina made sure to keep Kiku entertained. The small girl had stopped whispering at somepoint and was now calling her Kushina-nee.
Kushina had managed to draw the entire seal and was opening a few scrolls and laid them down on the table.
"Okay I think this is it." Kushina sighed as she pulled away and observed her work. Kiku wrinkled her nose. "Does that mean I can go?" She asked and Kushina paused for a moment and shook her head.
"We still have a bit before I can let you go." She stated calmly as she walked toward the door and pushed a button. "Call for Hokage-sama." She stated after the buzz.
"Oh." Kiku frowned as she looked up at the concreate ceiling.
It didn't take long for the Hokage to come in.
"So it's ready?" He asked and Kushina bowed. "Of course Hokage-sama." She stated as she glanced over at the small girl that was covered in symbols.
"I just need some of your blood and then we can begin the sealing process." Kushina stated and the old man nodded.
Kiku watched as he bit his thumb and smeared the blood on the middle of her chest. She grunted and squirmed as she felt the ink become a bit hot. Kushina began to instruct the Hokage about where to place his hands and how to pour his chakra into the seal. Kiku didn't really understand and she wasn't really listening, she was too busy squirming. "Kushina-nee, I don't like this. It hurts." Kiku voiced out as she looked up at Kushina.
Kushina paused mid sentence and glanced over at the small girl. The ink was starting to turn a dark red and it was blistering her skin. "Kushina-nee, I really don't like this." Kiku began to squirm even harder her breathing becoming heavy as she did so.
"Shhh, it's okay. Just bare with it. It will all be over soon. I think it's best we start now." Kushina turned to the Hiruzen and he nodded.
"Take it off." Kiku squirmed and tugged on the straps trying to take them off. The two ninja wordlessly placed their hands on the seal. Kiku looked up at Kushina her dark colored eyes looking up her in fear and in pain. Kushina couldn't maintain eye contact. "Im very sorry. This is going to hurt. Please bare with it." Kushina repeated and she nodded. "Go."
As soon as those words stumbled out of her mouth the seal began to glow.
The ink became a bright red and started to burn kiku's skin. White hot pain filled Kiku's senses. The ink seemed to be seeping in through her pores. Kiku's entire body began to tremble as Kushina and Hiruzens chakra began to seep into her skin. Kushina's chakra was blue with light specks of red, Hiruzens was a dark blue but both chakra's mixed together.
Kiku immediately began screaming as the corrosive chakra began to engulf her. Her muscles began to spasm as white foam built up on the corners of her mouth.
Kushina narrowed her eyes and gritted her teeth as the small girl screamed loud enough to make her flinch slightly. There was a strong scent of burning flesh and kiku screamed so loud that her voice seemed to crack.
"It's okay, it'll all be over soon." Kushina tried to comfort her but it fell to deaf ears and the girl arched her back in pain.
"MAMA! MAMA!" Kiku screamed out calling for her mother as her eyes began to roll to the back of her head. Kushina bit her lower lip as she watched the seal burn deeper into Kiku's flesh. The small girl spasmed and her Kagune formed breaking through the metal table beneath her.
"Just a bit more." Kushina muttered as Kiku lost consciousness, Kiku's entire body continued convulsing as foam started to pour out of her mouth. Her kagune began to whipping around breaking the table causing both the Hokage and Kushina to have step back slightly. "Don't stop pouring the chakra in." Kushina yelled as she ducked slightly to avoid being decapitated .
Black veins spread across Kiku's cheeks, the white of her eyes turning a pitch black as her head repeatedly slammed down on the metal table.
This continued for a few more seconds before the seal started to glow brightly and shrunk down to a large diamond shape on her chest with a thick line that went up her chest and wrapped itself around her neck.
Suddenly the light vanished and the seal stopped sizzling. All across Kikus body there were bright red burn marks from where the seal had burned her flesh.
The Hokage stepped back and let out a breath he didn't even know that he was holding. "It... It worked." Kushina spoke up after a moment of silence.
The old man looked up at her a slowly nodded. "That's... good." He replied as he forced himself to look at the small child they had basically tortured.
"It's for the good of the village." Hiruzen cleared his throat as he spoke and Kushina flinched.
"For the good... of the village." She slowly nodded as she clenched her fist.
Kiku slowly opened her eyes, she was covered in bandages and her skin felt sticky from the ointment that was on her body.
The small girl curled up in a fetal position. She only felt phantom pains and her mind was muddled. Her throat felt raw and it hurt to swallow. She was breathing a bit heavy as well.
"You're awake." She heard a deep and familiar voice as she slowly opened her eyes. The light was bright and her vision was a bit blurry but it quickly cleared up.
Orochimaru was wearing a labcoat and working on a project. Kushina was also in the room as far away from Kiku as possible and hidden behind Orochimaru.
The small girl slowly sat up, her throat hurt to much to speak up. "There's food right there, eat so you can regenerate." Orochimaru stated with a hint of disinterest.
"Kiku-chan." Kushina spoke up and the girl jumped and began to push herself against the wall. Kushina pursed her lips at the girls reaction and Orochimaru smirked.
Kushina walked forward and the small girl whimpered as she whimpered slightly. "I am very sorry, I did not mean to hurt you." Kushina tried to say but the girl curled up against the wall to try to put as much distance as possible from Kushina.
Orochimaru didn't say anything as Kushina stepped back. "Thank you for letting me stay a bit longer in your lab, Orochimaru-sama." Kushina bowed and glanced back at the small girl once more before hurrying out of the room.
Kiku stayed in the corner for a while longer watching Orochimaru work meticulously from afar. She quietly climbed out of her futon and hurried to the pile of human flesh Orochimaru had left out for her.
She crouched down and quickly began to eat. Kiku ate greedily and groaned as her injuries were healed.
"You shouldn't be mad or scared of Kushina-san. She will be the one to take care of you on most days." Orochimaru spoke up suddenly as Kiku was finishing up her meal.
The small girl slightly jumped as he spoke up, but she didn't say anything in response. She simply licked the blood off her hands and hummed. "Are you finished?" He asked as he stopped working. Kiku turned to look at him and then back at the empty large plate. She slowly nodded and Orochimaru set down his equipment and removed his gloves.
"Then let's get you cleaned up." He sighed as he walked toward her. Kiku lifted her arms and let him carry her away. He didn't say anything as she nuzzled against the crook of her neck and held onto him tightly for comfort.
Days seemed to pass by quickly, Kushina was starting to come around more often, Kiku still coward away from her but not as much.
"Kiku-chan I've brought coffee." Kushina smiled as she held up a bag of freshly ground coffee.
Kiku looked up from her seat, she was still a bit nervous around her but at least she wasn't hiding anymore. Orochimaru glanced over to see Kushina barging into his lab holding a bag of coffee beans and rolled his eyes.
"You do realize this is a laboratory, not a hang out spot." He sighed as he placed a hand on his hip. Kushina blushed and huffed. "Well I am suppose to be teach Kiku-chan. And she I don't think going out is the best choice right now." Kushina grumbled as she glanced at the small child.
Orochimaru rolled his eyes and turned to Kiku. "Why don't you go out with Kushina-san." He says and Kiku shuffles her feet slightly. She didn't say anything being that was to speak out against him.
"It's okay if you don't want to. I know you are still upset about last time." Kushina says sheepishly. Kiku didn't say anything but instead stood up to do as Orochimaru suggested. Kushina's eyes widen slightly as the small girl hurries to her side.
Orochimaru didn't even glance at her as she waited to see if she approved of what she was doing. "I guess we can walk around a bit. I have to start teaching you anyway. Do you like reading Kiku-chan?" Kushina asks and Kiku nods.
"Then I guess I can start teaching you." She says as she leads her out of the lab.
A few weeks went by and Kiku was no longer afraid Kushina. Being that she was still a small impressionable child and that Kushina hadn't done anything to harm her since the seal had been applied, she had managed to win her trust back.
That's how Kushina found out that Kiku was actually quite the chatter box. Unlike when Kiku was with Orochimaru, when she was with Kushina she asked plenty of questions.
Orochimaru was technically her main care taker, he would feed, dress and wash her. While Kushina was her teacher and taught her how to be a shinobi. That didn't mean that she was allowed in public. The only people Kiku had contact with throughout her training was Kushina and Orochimaru.
Kushina was able to take Kiku out a few times but only if she wore a muzzle. The Hokage still didn't trust Kiku enough not to go on a rampage or hurt a bystander so he had her muzzled.
But they both made the most of it, by training and at times playing games together.
Soon enough Kiku would need to be reintroduced to public settings, although contact with civilians would be strictly prohibited due to the threat level Kiku possessed.
"Kiku-chan! Get your mask because there's someone I want you to meet!" Kushina squealed as she rushed into Orochimaru's lab.
Orochimaru stopped writing and glared at Kushina as she yelled and slammed open the door.
"Kushina-nee!" Kiku stood up from her futon. "Would it kill you not to do that every time you come?" Orochimaru snickered as he placed a hand on his hip and Kushina blushed I'm embarrassment as Kiku hugged her. "Sorry Orochimaru-sama." She stammered out.
"What use is your apology if your going to do it anyway." He sassed back as he grabbed Kiku's mask and tossed at Kushina who caught it with ease.
Kushina caught the mask and bowed awkwardly before hurrying out of Orochimaru's lab with Kiku in tow.
Kiku followed behind with a smile and giggling at how Kushina had been scolded. "Who am I going to meet?" She asked and Kushina smiled at her.
"My boyfriend has a student named Kakashi he's about your age and is a ninja. So I was thinking that It'd be great if you guys became friends." Kushina grinned and Kiku smiled slightly.
"A friend?" Kiku muttered to herself and Kushina smiled widely.
"Yeah, a friend." She grinned and ruffled Kikus hair.
I'm sick with the Covid. Sooo shorter chapter than usual.