Hello all! So, I know this is another story, but this one has actually been in the works for over a year. It's a bit of an odd one, but I think you'll enjoy it. A lot of this stuff will make more sense as we get further down the line, but all you need to know right now is that Wakame is the name I gave Naruko (it's a type of edible seaweed you top ramen with, so I thought it would be fitting) and that the dolls are important in more ways than you might think. Without further ado, let's begin!
Chapter I: The Witch
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Touhou Project, they belong to Masashi Kishimoto, Team Shanghai Alice and other respective owners. Enjoy!
"Look who it is. It's that creepy girl…."
"You know that she uses her dolls for witchcraft, right?"
"Just like a demon… It makes complete sense."
The girl whom many villagers of Konohagakure no Sato spoke of walked solemnly, as she passed by them on the streets of the Market District. Said girl, headed towards her first day of the Shinobi Academy, was six year old Uzumaki Wakame. She was of average height for her age and had sun golden hair that reached her shoulders tied in twintails by a pair of blue, lace ribbons tied in bows and bright, blue eyes. On her face she had three, whisker-like marks set on either cheek. Each step she took toward her destination caused the hem of her blue kimono to swish a little and the red obi around her waist to flutter in the wind. Around her shoulders was also a white capelet, void of any other color. Held tightly in her arms was a foot tall doll dressed in a grey kimono with curly blonde hair down to the middle of its back and blue eyes, with a large, red bow in her hair. Even though she heard everything they said, the girl didn't acknowledge them, but instead whispered to her doll. "Which way was it again…?"
"Keep walking forward, it's only a little farther." The voice was quiet and hard to make out in the crowded street that was only one of many in the bazaar which made up Konoha's Market District, but Wakame still heard her doll.
"Thank you, Kurama-chan." Wakame responded with a small smile that made the adults around her shiver in fear and step further away from her. The doll spoke the truth, as soon enough Wakame saw the iconic building that was Konoha's Shinobi Academy. Quickening her pace, the girl arrived at the entrance, feeling the eyes of every adult – both parent and sensei alike - follow her movements. She squeezed Kurama tighter, and made her way inside the school.
She explored the hall, in search of room 1-4, her class location. As she looked around, she found the room, but ended up having to stop. Another blonde girl was standing in her way, arms crossed with a frown on her face. Wakame looked at the girl her age that she knew to be Yamanaka Ino. Her platinum blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail that was no more than ten or twelve centimeters in length, with a stray bang hanging off her forehead on the left side. She wore a purple dress that ended at her knees, and a pair of geta. Her pale blue eyes sized up the doll carrying girl and giggled.
"Wow, you really brought that thing to school? Are you that much of a baby, Wakame?" Ino asked with a sneer of disapproval marring her features. "I mean, I know you take it with you everywhere, but this is an Academy to teach us how to be ninja. It's not a playground for kiddies or daycare."
As Ino spoke, Wakame looked at the ground before glaring back at her fellow blonde. "Be quiet." She commanded the heiress to the Yamanaka clan with such authority that she nearly did it, before she burst out laughing. Wakame seemed surprised at the reaction. She didn't do what I said? Everyone else always listens to me…
"Wakame, that only works with your friends, with us." Kurama whispered to the girl. "People… bullies, have to be made to listen a different way. She thinks dolls are for babies; Why don't you ask your friends for help to show her that she's the only baby?" Wakame nodded once, looking at Kurama instead of Ino.
"You're right, Kurama-chan. I should show her that the only baby is her." Ino looked at the girl strangely as she talked to the doll as if she was having a conversation with it. Wakame's kimono then twitched slightly. An intricate design just above the obi, on the right side of the garment, shaped itself with a bright, blue hue. Ino tilted her head in confusion until a tiny hand appeared out of it, grabbing the cloth of Wakame's kimono before pulling its body out and floating in the air in front of the girl. It looked exactly like Kurama in every way. It was then joined by another. And another. And another. More came out until a grand total of ten dolls identical to Kurama floated in the air right in front of Wakame. Ino's eyes were wide with fear, as she noted each of them carried what appeared to be rusty kunai and senbon that ninja in her clan would just throw away. These dolls carried them like swords.
Slowly, very slowly, Wakame shifted Kurama so that the doll was carried in her left arm and then raised her right one up, pointing her index finger at Ino. "Ino was mean to me, will you help me, my friends?" By this point, every student that was in the hall had their eyes glued to the scene. Even the sensei were watching from their classes in fear. This is why Wakame was known as a witch. All ten dolls rushed forward and grabbed Ino's dress or her hair, pulling her every which way as she screamed. Wakame snuggled Kurama closer to her body as she walked past the blonde and headed to her class. They wouldn't hurt her, but she didn't like when people were mean to her. Her friends always helped her though, because they didn't like it when people were mean to her either.
"We'll always protect you, Wakame. Don't worry too much about them. You just need us." Wakame nodded with a smile, holding out Kurama and looking at the doll.
"Thank you Kurama-chan! You're so nice to me!" She then proceeded to smother the doll in a tight hug as she entered the classroom. The hallway was silent aside from Ino's screams as dolls pushed her around and pulled at her hair and clothing. No one moved to help the girl until Wakame was gone, and when they did, the dolls flew into room 1-4. She was young, but no one wanted to upset the Witch of Konoha. They may have feared her for the Kyuubi in the beginning, but Wakame had her own intimidation factors now. Ones that weren't taboo to talk about.
"She's so weird…"
"Did you see what the Witch did to Ino? That was horrible!"
"Shh! Don't let her hear you or she'll send her dolls after you!"
"Or maybe she'll curse you. She is a witch after all."
"I'm just glad I'm not in her class."
"Man… I am though! I'm going to die, aren't I?"
"I feel bad for the sensei of that class. If they do anything bad to her, imagine what will happen!"
"Even the Hokage is afraid of her! Why do you think she's never punished? I hear she had hundreds of dolls waiting for an order."
"The way I heard it she has thousands that obey her every command."
"I don't care about that, the one in her arms creeps me out the most. She's always acting like it can talk, but no one can ever hear its so-called voice. She's mad on top of everything else."
Soon enough, class began. Wakame was rapt with attention at whatever the instructors were teaching. The intent with which she regarded the Chuunin, a newly promoted man named Mizuki, was absolutely terrifying for him. Still, he had to press on. It wasn't just the Witch that would do something if he messed up. The Hokage had personally asked him to ensure her education was top-notch and there was an ANBU guard up at all times around her. All of that together made him a very nervous individual. Still, he was here to do something, so he did it.
Wakame was sitting in the front row, all alone except for Kurama. That said, she didn't mind. The other children were scared of her, but her friends absolutely adored her. She adored them as well. As long as she was with them, and them with her, then nothing could scare her. She had joined the Academy in an effort to grow stronger, so that she could protect her friends. Her friends trained inside the seals on her clothing in an effort to protect her. They were a family, and they loved each other.
The first day passed mostly without incident for Wakame. Everyone left her alone and no one else was mean to her after Ino. She was glad for that, since she didn't like it when her friends got angry. They always got angry when people were mean to her. She didn't understand it though, since she didn't really care what others said. It was only her friends' opinions that mattered to her.
After school, the girl carried Kurama around with her, passing out the gate and traveled through the streets. It didn't matter how crowded the streets were, when Wakame walked. The moment anyone – it didn't matter how old or young, whether shinobi or civilian, clan-born or clanless, no matter the rank – saw a blonde girl carrying a doll, they moved to the side. Their fear was palpable in a way not dissimilar to Killing Intent was. She didn't mind, it meant she didn't have any trouble traversing the streets wherever she went.
"Watch out, there she goes. It was nice not worrying about her during the day since she started the Academy today."
"Speak for yourself! My son is a third-year there. Now I have to worry about him during the day and about the whole family during the afternoon. No one even knows where she goes at night."
"Oh yeah, that's right. Isn't your boy kind of bad though? What if you tell him at night that she'll come and get him to turn into a doll if he doesn't stop misbehaving?"
"Don't even joke that that! I wouldn't want to traumatize him like that! That's horrifying!"
Wakame squeezed Kurama as she left the Market District and made her way to the familiar, and quiet, Training Grounds District. Most of the shinobi were either done training or eating at this time. She always came by after the sun started setting so she could scavenge anything that might be useful. She didn't like having to give her friends things second-hand, but until she had more money its all she could do.
As she stepped onto the first Training Ground, one that seemed to be mimicking a lake and surrounding plains that gently rose into small hills. Several shurikenjutsu targets, taijutsu posts and human-shaped manikin targets were stationed around the area. The blonde smiled as she noted the scattered ammunition around the field. Shuriken, senbon and kunai lay in the grass, half-buried in the ground. Happily skipping over to the first shuriken, she picked it up even as several dolls flew out from her clothing. "Here you are!" She handed it to one of the dolls, who nodded gratefully before taking it. The others headed out to grab whatever they could before flying back into the seals they lived in. Each one that went inside was followed by two more heading out into the Training Ground. Every ninja tool was picked clean. Ninja wire that was wrapped around a manikin dummy, shuriken and kunai stuck inside the targets and even particularly sharp sticks that lay on the ground. Wakame's friends weren't picky.
When Wakame was content with her work, she traveled on to the next Training Ground. She didn't notice that her leave was followed by the arrival of a nervous group of Genin. They had left to eat and came back to the sight of Wakame and her dolls gathering the tools they had left on the grounds. "What do we do about the stuff she took?" One of them wondered, but the look of fear on the other two made her nod. "You're right, she can have them. We can always get more. Let's… let's just continue until sensei gets back from his meal."
Wakame had continued to gather supplies for her friends until dusk. When the sun was nearly gone, the girl had made her way towards home. First, she found her way to one of the forest Training Grounds. There was a gate that was in the way, but Wakame had long learned that it was easy enough to get over it by allowing her friends to carry her above it as they flew. They were so amazing!
After she was on the other side, she made her way towards a particular cave. This cave was actually a tunnel that led outside the village into another forest. From this forest, she traveled until she found a river and followed it north, against the flow of water. Finally, she saw her house.
Two stories tall with a plain, oak door and a set of stairs on the outside that led up to the second floor patio. The entire thing was brown and unpainted. She wasn't able to find anything to make paint from, so there wasn't any solving that problem. Four windows – two to each floor – looked upon her from the front of the house like the eyes of a doll. The roof itself was slanted and covered in clay tiles – the only thing she could think of for a roof. Of course, she didn't actually do any of the work in making the house. Her friends had helped her, with advice from Kurama-chan. It wasn't anything fancy, but it was much better than the orphanage and it had more than enough room for all of her friends. Speaking of which…
"We're home everyone!" As she spoke, thousands of dolls appeared from their hiding spots behind trees, rocks, the riverbank and from inside the house itself as well. Wakame grinned as the dolls inside of her clothing came out as well, easily numbering several hundreds. They dropped off the loot from their scavenging the Training Grounds near the house and her other dolls quickly dove down and grabbed what was brought. They took everything elsewhere, and would sort through the boon of today's activity on their own. Wakame just looked on smiling, glad she could do something for her family. It wasn't much, but it would do.
"Welcome home, Wakame." Kurama spoke softly, causing the girl to happily squeeze the doll tightly.