Edited: 10/20/2014 for a title change and author's note.
Age 5: Part 1
"I remember this part. They made me carry you up the stairs... I was stuck watching you the whole day while they were taking care of everyone else. You were such a little princess."
"Hey, stop it! Don't tell them—I cut that part out for a reason!"
I would like to open this narrative with the declaration that it had never been my intention to kill the five-year-old girl whose body I now inhabit. This possession was totally and utterly out of my control. I do not know how this occurrence came to be and I have done nothing to abet its happening because I am not a baby killer.
That is all.
Well, no, it's really not. If that had been it, it wouldn't have been worth putting this all together. I want to accomplish more with this than just letting people know I don't murder children for fun. I have a story to tell.
But with all that said, you're probably wondering what I'm on about. What do you mean, "possession"? What was that about baby killing? Is there going to be context to the intentionally vague story summary at all?
Yes, there will be, don't worry. Though really, the summary is pretty self-explanatory: someone (me) woke up on the wrong (far left) side of a bed (futon, technically) that was not hers and found that she suddenly had the body of a stranger (the little girl). That part's easy to explain. What you really want, I think, is for me to tell you what happened after.
And I will. I'll tell you. This is a story that I want people to hear—my story. The story of how I grew up, of how I lived and loved and lost. The story of how I learned what truly matters.
Now make yourselves comfortable and let me tell you about this girl...
Sunday, January 25th, years before the birth of Naruto Uzumaki. Everything started on that day, and in all honesty, I wouldn't have much problem labeling it as the most important day of my life.
That was the day I became Misuzu Namikaze.
Little Misuzu—or just Suzu, as she was usually addressed—was a parentless child of the clan Namikaze. She lived in a quasi-orphanage that most of her kinsmen simply referred to as the "House," a large traditional Japanese home located in the center of the Namikaze compound. This House was the residence of seventeen other orphaned children, whose ages ranged from three months to seventeen years, and was headed by the fearsome Reiko Namikaze and her husband Souhei.
(I call her fearsome because she's a career mother, and everyone knows mothers are forces not to be trifled with—ninja mothers especially.)
The House was crowded, but clean and well-funded. As far as orphans go, Suzu had it good: she was well-fed and well-cared for, had lovely parent figures, an abundance of playmates, and, most notably, a marvelously stable home life. Not something to sniff at, not when ninjas were involved.
When I first woke up in her body, it didn't really register right away. It's hard to describe what it felt like. That's the thing about switching bodies; you don't realize it. It just works—if all of a sudden it's yours and you're in it, there's no reason for it to feel foreign. It's just you. My limbs functioned just fine—no stumbling due to shorter legs—and I spoke the local language just as well as you would expect a five-year-old to. In fact, everything went so seamlessly that I didn't realize anything was off until I was already sitting at the breakfast table, surrounded by small blond children.
The first thing that came to my mind when I blinked and became aware of my surroundings was Japanese. Though all of the people around me—wow, this place was crowded—were blond-haired and blue-eyed, their facial features were very East Asian. Almost everyone had angled faces and narrow eyes. The house, too, fit the bill: the table we were sitting at was very low to the ground, we were all sitting on dark blue cushions, and the floor was a distinctive tatami mat. I could tell from where I was that the doors were the sliding kind, and there was a large banner hanging on the wall that was covered in symbols I couldn't read. Kanji, I knew intuitively. But I didn't actually know any yet, it seemed, except for the one that read "heaven" near the bottom.
"Food's ready!" a voice announced, snapping me out of my observations. A woman in an apron approached the table, balancing two trays covered in black lacquer dishes—also very Japanese—in her hands, followed by a man and a teenager carrying similar burdens. They handed the food to the girl at the opposite end of the table, who took a plate and passed the tray down. The process was repeated for the rest of the food, and when all was done I was staring a breakfast of fish, miso soup, rice, some miniature omelet things, and something I somehow knew was steamed bamboo shoots.
Oh, yeah. Definitely Japanese.
There was a chorus of "itadakimasu" and then breakfast was underway. Everyone looked cheerful as they dug in, and I got the feeling that most meals here were chatty and relaxed rather than formal and quiet. I counted twenty people in total: two adults, three teenagers, four tweens, a whopping seven toddlers, myself included, and four slobbery babies. Eyeing the woman and the man who looked to be her husband in disbelief, I wondered how it was possible for someone to live under the same roof with such an insane amount of prepubescence. And four babies? I had had a new cousin a little while ago and just one of him had been enough send the whole household batty. How the hell were these guys managing?
But manage they did. I watched, awed, as the couple inhaled their food in record time and set to feeding the infants even as they were diffusing an oncoming food fight and happily replying to the children's screaming chatter. And they were laughing and talking together the whole time as if they weren't drowning in a mass of attention-seeking minors. It was astounding.
Good Lord. Ninja parents.
I froze with my food halfway in my mouth. Wait a moment. Had I just thought—ninja parents? Like, shuriken-throwing fire-breathing water-walking ninjas? I looked at them again.
They were a perfectly domestic pair. The woman's hair was bound in a messy bun, her face looked smooth and rather pretty, and she still had her apron on; the man was wearing a plain dark blue shirt and black pants. They didn't have crazy battle scars or anything, nor did they have tattoos: they looked like totally normal people to me. But no, there it was again—the very sight of them had my mind screaming ninjas.
And then, just like that, I suddenly knew. They were ninja, this was a ninja clan, I was in a ninja village, and they were all from the story Naruto.
I must have scared them when I plunged face-first into my food in a dead faint.
A/N EDIT: New author's note, because I didn't like the old one.
Welcome, everyone, to Glory, the story of a bumbling idiot who became a ninja and wrote a book about it. She has many inner monologues and can get quite meta; she will often address you to your face, directly. Bear with her and all of her quirks. I'm actually rather fond of her.
There's not much else to say, really. I won't tell you what to think, so... read on, friends. Form your own opinions!