Chapter 35 Notes

Chapter Notes

• The poem — We cannot tell now, But let us try a small test: If we both survive, Will it be I who forget Or you who fail to visit? — The Heian era, from 794-1185, was a golden age of courtly arts in Japan like music, art, calligraphy and poetry. This poem was likely written by a courtesan, and would have been left for her love. I thought the words were fitting for Katsuro and Sakura from this point forward, because Katsuro failed to visit and Sakura appears to have forgotten.

• About Sakura losing desire to practice healing/medicine – I thought it would be interesting to put Sakura more squarely on Tsunade’s path. Not just as her apprentice, but as someone who has to deal with the loss of focus and drive to work like Tsunade had to grapple with before she returned to the village.

When one of their team went down, she could heal them and they’d be back up again. Not so for other teams. Sakura added the asset of endurance. — So, the chapter title is Stolen Assets. It refers to many things here — precious items that are taken — Katsuro most importantly, and the stolen items Team 7 is chasing, but also Sakura. Sasuke even refers to her as an asset early on. In the end, we can only imagine that Katsuro feels something has been stolen from him as well.

Who in their village was that powerful, to be considered an asset…a weapon worth stealing? Sakura had no answers. She quietly closed the door behind her. — Of course, Naruto. But like puzzle pieces, Sakura only holds one piece of the bigger picture. So she doesn’t think to share her info.

•  “That I haven’t changed a bit, and there must be something else about me, otherwise why would someone like you waste time on someone like me—“  Katsuro stopped suddenly as another reason just occurred to him. He shuddered. Itachi ignored him. — This is a little play on all those times Naruto freaks out over Sai’s little yaoi-ish jokes, etc. So it’s just a little bit of manga-Naruto seeping through.

Sasuke nodded soberly. “It’s not weird.” Her eyes locked on his for a moment, turning exceptionally green in the flamelight, and for the first time, Sasuke felt like she was someone who understood him. Not the way the village saw him, but the complicated person he really was. And she accepted him. It was a connection he’d never been able to make with anyone. — Couple of things here. Sakura’s eyes and their specific color. Katsuro remembered them, and Sasuke really sees them for the first time. And in acknowledging her, he is also acknowledging that he’s made a connection. So he is less like manga-Sasuke here and more like manga-Naruto.

She was like a finely wrought weapon, an elegant sword on the waist of a regally dressed samurai. She was a killer, hidden in plain sight. — So Sasuke recognizes her in terms of skill, power and prowess. He likes that she’s a hidden killer, because he really couldn’t relate to her life as a medic. His view of her is very different from Katsuro. They both like her, but for different reasons.

Warmed by the fire and his discoveries, Sasuke thought he was getting the hang of this conversation thing. — A little bit of a parallel from Sakura and Katsuro’s days together. They are sitting by the fire, being warmed by their conversation and companionship. But the content of their conversation is very different. Katsuro didn’t want to hear about anything but Sakura and her village life. But Sasuke is happy to sit up half the night talking about ways to kill someone. Lol. They’re different!

All alone, he had to be so strong. Itachi robbed him of so much. Without his parents, he would have missed out on everything. Even the smallest things. Like just…skipping stones. — Sakura is talking about Sasuke, but there is an underlying parallel to Naruto too. Itachi has robbed Naruto of the life he would have had in Konoha.

Spoiler Notes:

• This story is firmly NS! If you don’t like SS, then don’t worry, this is the only part there is. Like getting a shot, just breathe and tell yourself, “this won’t hurt a bit…it’ll be over before you know it!” 😉

“But Tsunade-sama, what did he mean about stolen assets? And kidnapping? Is it something to do with Sasuke?” — so just to recap, everyone has been led to believe that Sasuke is Konoha’s jinchurriki. It’s a falsehood that simply sprung up as a way to account for why he wasn’t killed. And Konoha has done nothing to dissuade the lie because they lost their own jinchurriki years ago. And admitting that loss would make them incredibly vulnerable to attack.

• About the Uchiha pride — trying to keep some cohesiveness among Uchihas, they are both pretty arrogant, but as flips sides of the coin. Itachi thinks he personally is the best there is, and takes his pride in having being better than the other Akatsuki and having Katsuro as his secret weapon. Sasuke takes pride in his group, not just in himself anymore, and doesn’t want anyone encroaching on that. He’s loyal and protective of Sakura and Sai. So Sasuke’s pride shows how much he’s changed from the manga version, where when he was a kid and left the village, his pride and interest became about himself only.

They tracked enemy nins across borders, spied on their outposts and infiltrated their ranks when they could, all in hopes of gleaning some information about plans of attack. And there were no illusions that the enemy wasn’t doing the same to them. — Though there has always been a lot of distrust in the ninja world, there is a lot more since Naruto’s not there.

• And when he smiled back, it was like the sun breaking through clouds. That he could transform and let go of his past to let a new relationship bloom was amazing. Maybe it was time to let go of her past, too. — So the idea of sun breaking through clouds is a good theme for this part. This is a moment of happiness for Sasuke and Sakura. This is a moment where they connect as teammates, friends and a little something more. But it’s just a calm before the storm for all three of them.

Finished writing, she re-rolled the scroll and performed the hand seals to clone it. One each for Kakashi, Asuma, Genma, Rado, Kurenai, Inoichi, Iruka, Shikaku, Guy. — This is the group tasked with retrieving Naruto. We will be seeing more and more from them, but wanted to introduce them here.