My luck prevails. Why does my luck have anything to do with anything? Because of the fact that I have instant knife hacks.
It's a beautiful thing, visualization is. After I had felt out what exactly causes the specter knife to manifest, the reverse was rather simple. All had to do was visualize sheathing the knife, and poof, no more knife!
It was totally not because I was panicking when the nurses came in, and I was trying to think of everything backwards. Definitely not that. That would be an embarrassment.
Still, the prospects of instant knife were not as awesome as teleportation and regeneration that I'm fairly sure my parents had. Honestly, other than the beauty of it, the knife doesn't have much going for it. Not even a decent weight as it feels lighter than a feather.
I thought it might have some on-hit effect, so tried swinging it with all the force my plushy, baby arms could muster. Sadly, whatever I hit didn't even budge. Hell, the crib that I had tried to cut wasn't even scratched! Mysterious, scary specter I expected more from you. Who needs a knife that can't cut?
I apologize if he's listening, though...
Still, with something to distract me other than counting ceiling tiles, my mind was finally filled with something to do in between the times when I was asleep. With the suitable distraction, time seemed to pass fast too as I slowly began to process the movements of my body better.
It was quite weird getting used to my arms not being as far I expected, or my balance not being quite right in a certain position. My tongue was still quite stubborn even if I had no clue on the language as of yet. Still, I held the title for the fastest crawler of all the orphans. The masses adored me, and the other babies wish they could even touch the slightly carpeted, comfortable floor where I passed.
If anything, I think my lack of talking had led me to become slightly insane. I mean, I'm talking to myself for crying out loud! That's just not normal... Well, that doesn't stop me from continuing to endeavor to communicate with my fellow man.
However, the feeling of familiarity was also another pressing matter.
The lady with the angular hat had come once every now and then lately. She never walked into my area of absolute baby vision, but I heard her speaking to me. Though, her voice was rather deep. She always seemed to be apologizing, or some words that sounded a bit like it.
She was always saying things about a Minato and Kushina. When my name was tacked on enough, I belatedly realized that those were probably the names of my parents. Now the only question was if Minato was a girl or guy's name.
If only the talkative lady came more often to monologue in front of me, I would probably find out who Hiruzen and Jiraiya were. Sadly, my luck on that wasn't too great as the lady's visits soon dwindled to very little, and my ability to crawl grew ever stronger. Though, those two things didn't really correlate...
It was around the seventh month in baby captivity when things began to get weird.
The orphans, including me, were soon being sorted and moved out en masse. I felt like a herd of cattle as they sort of shuffled us away. There were caretakers that bundled maybe two or three orphans together as they moved us.
However, I noticed that I was being intentionally skipped. No one really notices the baby whose eyes are constantly roving around the room, saying it's only hyperactiveness. That gave me all the time I needed to notice multiple caretakers glance at me, throw a not so subtle look of disgust, and carry on with carrying the others.
I blinked at the multiple looks. Did I do something? Maybe they can sense that I'm a little insane? Or that I am more mature, and are making sure that the others get better care. That sounds more like it.
They're called 'caretakers' for crying out loud. Maybe I've been so starved of interaction that I'm seeing things?
I'm adding maybes to my hate list. Right next to unholy monstrosities.
The reason being? I was left there. Still in whatever now deathly silent room that was devoid of all small organisms but me.
The so called caretakers took special care to forget me.
I was only a little pissed off.
I had heard a small conversation that a caretaker had with a nurse, as well. Though, it was basically one that I had to parse together with my spotty approximation of the language. I could still get the gist of what she had said.
There's no one in there. They hadn't saved the best for last; they left me here. And if I didn't somehow find a way out then I'd probably have to wait for some nurse to stumble in on me.
My luck was beginning to seem quite subpar after the fourth hour of unchecked activity.
Okay, okay, don't panic. Totally not panicking! Oh, who am I kidding! Currently I'm crawling back and forth between the aisles of cribs in the closest thing to fretted pacing as possible. Panic was long gone. I'm in slightly vengeful, but quite maniacal right now.
Alright, first, take stock of what I have. Instant knife that has done nothing but look pretty. A baby body that had meticulously trained to achieve maximum crawl speed. Knowledge on how doors work!
Yes! That's it! My superior knowledge. No other baby knows what I do, and one of those things is doors.
Okay, all I need to do is crawl to the door, use my instant knife to finagle the door or lock and free myself! Then I can use my instant knife for revenge. I don't think it'll do much damage, but I can definitely take an eye if poked.
Er, maybe. I'm not too sure what my parents would say about it... Oh well, it's better to ask for forgiveness than to starve in a hospital. I think that's how the saying goes, at least.
I quickly crawled up to the daunting door, and summoned my beautiful knife in my hand. Now, how to get up to that door handle? Maybe I shouldn't have summoned my knife so soon?
Shrugging, I placed the knife into my mouth full of nicely growing teeth. I had a teething fugue like no tomorrow when the first sign of my teeth came up. Having no teeth for so long was honestly an odd feeling; like I had been an old grandpa, but as a baby. Baby grandpa?
The thought made me laugh more than I thought it would as I bit down on my knife and reached up to take the first step to my journey.
Then I saw double. My vision didn't really split, nor did it seem like some illusion was cast over my sight. I felt weird.
I was looking through two viewpoints at the same time. I looked down and up at once, and saw the cause.
Floating above me was a translucent version of myself. Or I think it was, as my fleshy baby self was laying on the ground, dumbfounded at the current predicament.
We both looked over each other, and slowly the differences became apparent. My baby body had little tuffs of golden blonde hair that sat above the clearest blue eyes I've ever seen. As expected of myself. However, what drew pause were the three lines, almost like whiskers, that sat on my cheeks.
Those quickly gave me cause for concern.
I quickly looked over my translucent self, and found the whiskers there as well. However, that body seemed to look like a teenager, but with similarities that trailed from my past life. Curly hair, large eyes, and thin arms and legs. Though, it seemed the specter had changed my color scheme to having white hair, deep, obsidian black eyes and skin a purple as its.
There were traces of some of my curly hair turning into spikes, and I slowly dawned on a small horror. Had I taken over someone else's body? That couldn't have been the case, right? Yes, I have more important things to worry about. Existential crisis for later.
I suddenly panicked when I realized my baby body no longer had my knife, but calmed down when I quickly found it. My knife's hilt was held firmly in the mouth of my phantasmal self. Exactly the same place that I had put it before I got ready to climb. It only took awhile to find because my baby vision still sucked.
I was seeing from the eyes of both physical baby me, and phantasmal teenager me. Odd, but totally useful. Phantasmal self's eyes were so much better, and using both pairs of my eyes was slowly getting disorientating. I closed my baby eyes, finding myself with only my one pair of perfect eyes to see from. Clarity really is a man's best friend. One that I had so sorely missed.
Odd situation aside, this makes everything so much easier! I can just open the door with this weird projection thingy, and let my baby self wander till someone sees that there's a baby left unattended in the hospital. The caretakers shall get executed for neglect and everything will be right in the kingdom. The plan is foolproof!
With the flawless plan in place, I reached out a hand to the doorknob with my teenager self only to yelp as my hand passed through the door. I quickly retracted the hand, feeling the odd sensation of nothingness, and stared at my translucent purple skin.
That was something...
Staring back at my baby self, still sitting there placidly, I didn't quite sigh as I don't think I needed air in this state, but I certainly disliked the feeling of nothing. I closed my eyes and threw my phantasmal self at the door, and blinked twice when I realized I had gone straight through the door and out the side of the hospital!
I was currently floating in the air like a ghost. Again, useful. Not needed at the moment. Looking down, I saw multiple nurses moving about, and I floated down towards them as slow as I possibly could. Which was still quite fast, all things considered.
Though, I didn't want to suddenly find myself underground.
I hovered into a pair of nurse's line of sight, trying not to scare them as I appeared. They didn't even acknowledge my presence even as they passed right through me. I tried to grab their attention by speaking, but I remembered my mouth was preoccupied with my knife. If I took it out, would this projection disappear?
I wasn't given time to think before the two started talking.
"Did you think anything was fishy with those orphanage caretakers earlier?" One nurse asked, as I totally forgot my my reason for being here.
The other looked perplexed as I floated over, unseen and undisturbed. "No? Why? They seemed to be very nice people. Sanna-san even offered some coupons for that new tea shop that had just been rebuilt."
"Really?" The first nurse said, still skeptical. I internally noted the name Sanna down for later revenge. That coupon was definitely to get them to leave their shifts faster, and forget about me.
Slowly, I realized that the nurses were indeed speaking, and I was also understanding them. Understanding them perfectly, in fact! Was this a side effect of this state? How interesting. What else is hidden?
However, my thoughts of various tests to try were put on hold as I needed to get out of my room fast. These two nurses seemed to least frantic to leave, and were the closest to my baby body currently.
I reached up to take the knife from my mouth from my phantasmal body, and suddenly my vision was blurry again. Idly, I knew I was in the hallway as I saw the blurry figures of the nurses leaving.
Shit! Cool powers later, I need to get their attention now!
Hurriedly, I shoved my knife back into my mouth and bit down. The sudden double vision wasn't as disorientating this time as I cried with my baby body while watching the two nurses with my phantasmal one. Controlling both bodies at the same time was confusing, but not impossible.
I saw as they turned to my crying self, gasped, then quickly dashed over to me. One nurse cradled my body as I slowly stifled my cries to sniffles, and the other seemed to be fretting over every hair on my head. I released the tension I held when I saw how panicked they seemed to be to find an unattended baby.
"How is he unaccounted for?!" The nurse who had been rightfully skeptical roared. I floated over to them while I closed my physical body's eyes to stymie the headache of seeing from two sets of eyes.
"I... I don't know! The caretakers, Senna-san, had said that they had taken all of the orphans!" The other nurse panicked.
The first nurse huffed angrily, adjusting my physical body in her arms. Her voice was a cold anger. "Well obviously there is someone lying. Whether it's this Senna-san or you; all that matters is that a child has been forgotten for hours. You're lucky he managed to escape or else you would lose more than your job."
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, please-"
"Stop." The angry nurse ground out low. "You'll wake to baby. First, what's his name? We need to get him to his assigned orphanage before anymore accidents occur."
"But... but what if the orphanage treats him like this?"
The angered nurse looked like her righteous fury had slowly ebbed away before she spoke, "It's the Hokage-sama's decision. He wanted all the orphans in that room distributed to several different orphanages. It's probably because some of the orphans had Shinobi parents who died in action."
"Well, what does that have to do?" The scared nurse trembled. I saw trepidation in her eyes at that mention of Shinobi, and slowly a fearful thought was worming its way into my head. Hokage, Shinobi, Hiruzen, Jiraiya all these had taken on a much deeper meaning suddenly. My previous confusion was slowly eroding.
I was given no time to further that line of thought as the other nurse spoke softly as if she was afraid of someone listening in. "Shinobi are known for attracting powerful enemies; if you heard that your sworn enemy had just been killed, and their defenseless family was left, what would you do?"
There was no words that needed to be said. The other nurse gulped nervously, and I couldn't help but share the same thought. The implication that someone would be vengeful enough to attack someone else's family for their own actions was a terrifying one. I, however, was looking over the nurse at the clipboard in her hands, my own information on the sheet.
Naruto. My first name. Uzumaki. My last name.
I felt like throwing up. What does it mean my name is Naruto Uzumaki? What is this sick joke?
Things like this don't happen! This isn't some work of fiction; this is my life that has been twisted into this parody of something else! No way can this be real. Had I really taken over someone else's life? Had I really killed an innocent child to live again?
I even shut out the nurses who carried my physical body out of the hospital, their destination some orphanage. Blearily, I remember following them outside as well, and suddenly looking up at a vague counterfeit of Mount Rushmore. Their faces stared at me, taunting as they screamed the truth in the most physical way possible.
Then all protests died before they began.
My name was Naruto Uzumaki, I had a stolen body, a stolen name, a stolen destiny, and the only thing I could claim my own was my mind. This was only the start of my life. And it only gets crazier from here.