Ch 36 Notes

Chapter notes

•  The Last Goodbye — Song inspiration for this chapter comes from the Jeff Buckley song, “The Last Goodbye.” Go listen to it and break your heart.

• He breathed in, as if seeing her again had awoken some part of his soul from a deep, colorless winter. — So, language here that Katsuro’s life is like winter without her, colorless and cold. This theme will be touched on again.

• For an instant, his heart still knew hope…. Hope that she really saw him. Hope that it was all some horrible mistake. — Another moment where the pieces of who he once was are slipping away.

• Somewhere along the return trip his fiery rage had given way to a chilling numbness. It lodged deep into him, like a shard of ice into his heart. — So Katsuro is battle between frozen emotions and fiery rage this chapter, neither of which are good options. But the language reflects that inner battle. The idea of “a shard of ice” lodging into him is a reference to the fairy tale “The Snow Queen.” There are many versions, but the one I know features a boy who is touched by the Snow Queen. She puts a shard of ice in his heart, turning him cold, cruel and heartless, and takes him back to be her companion in her frozen castle. The girl who loves him has to travel long and far, accomplishing many impossible tasks until she rescues him, thaws the ice in his heart and they can return home together, now as young adults. As I wrote this chapter, with Katsuro’s battle between icy despair and fiery rage, I kept thinking of this tale.

• Konan: “You have a second one,” Her voice was flat. It was not a question. A cloud of breath hung in the air. Pain: But Pain did not move. No breath, no rise of shoulders, no movement. He just stood in front of him, like a wall. — So, writing this chapter, I realized that you could write a whole novel about Konan, Pain, etc. They are so tragic and terrifying, at the same time. I tried to write Rain authentically, like the images from the manga, dreary and very much like a Dementor’s world. Where it sucks the hope out of everything. And I tried to imagine Konan as being strong while ruling a destroyed country with the reanimated corpse of her lover. Past the daily, if not hourly, emotional trauma, there would be other differences between a living human and a dead one. She has a breath of fog, he has nothing. Pain’s fingers are freezing when he brushes Katsuro’s hand. Their immediate surroundings must be frigidly cold to prevent decay (my invention), which also adds to the intimidation factor. Konan hears/feels the squelching sounds of piercings that Pain does not notice. She has kept her humanity in a nightmare world. Tragic, tragic.

• The flock circled by again, and Katsuro realized they were all paper. White paper birds. — The birds are shown in the Rain images in the manga, but it never says what they are. I just figured it would be cool if they were paper and used as Konan’s messengers and watchers.

Konan’s extended her hand again into the drizzle. “And the package has arrived at the shoreline.” — So the Rain is chakra-infused and monitored by Konan. So when Katsuro has the feeling he’s being watched…well, it’s because he is. And that’s why no one comes to greet him or chaperone him, yet they know when to meet him on the shoreline.

“Hey there!! All-you-can-drink special going on right now!!” Katsuro jumped at the booming voice. “Come on in to Club Frog!! You look like you could use a drink!!” — Woo-hoo! It’s Jiraiya! From his infiltration of the Rain in the manga, when he swam in and transformed a frog into a house/bar. He’s there gather information, but really he’s searching for you-know-who. 😉 And their paths almost cross. Ah, so close! (ps. He doesn’t die in this story! Woot!)

• “At 21,” he said firmly, “the kyuubi’s chakra will fuse with your own. Only then you will truly become the ultimate weapon. Not just a mere vessel.” — Because this is an AU story, not all of the details of Naruto’s life in the manga line up with this story. This is one of those instances. Just like Itachi, Pain has chosen a different path to get to his goals. And that path involves Katsuro. More to come on that.

Spoiler Notes

• That was no fisherman. He was another soldier. That was no fishing village…. It was a military outpost! — This moment is a marker for later on, to show how much Katsuro has changed. Now, he’s surprised/dismayed. But in the future, he will become hardened, and see it just like a Rain soldier. So it serves as something interesting now, but more importantly it sets up a contrast for later on.

• Katsuro rose and looked straight into his eyes, mentally contradicting him. Yes, I do. I’ve got nothing left to loose. That’s why I’m not interested…. — Foreshadowing for next chapter. Katsuro doesn’t yet realize but, yes, there are a few more things that he can loose before everything is said and done. Katsuro is only thinking of Sakura, but Pain’s loss is all-encompassing. Katsuro will come to understand this.

• “You have done nothing on your own,” Pain said, face darkening. “Itachi has carried you. And he has only gotten so far because I have carried him.” — So there are some hints at friction between Itachi and Pain. They both are seemingly moving toward the same goal, but they have different ideas on how to get there.

• “At 21,” he said firmly, “the kyuubi’s chakra will fuse with your own. Only then you will truly become the ultimate weapon. Not just a mere vessel.” — Okay, so the story hinges around this fact. At 21, Katsuro will become a master weapon. But does that mean that he will gain ultimate control of the demon…or that at 21 they can take control of him? More on this plot point to come.

Walking around the table, breath coming in little puffs, Konan clasped her hands in front of her to keep them from shivering, and waited. — Maybe this is why her hands are always clasped over her stomach in the manga? Maybe she’s just really cold. lol

Without warning, Pain drove the spike sideways through the man’s nose, filling the air with the sound of crunching bone and cartilage. Konan was unable to stop herself from cringing. The spike punctured the other side with a wet pop. — So this scene sets a point at which Katsuro’s behavior will be contrasted, and Konan’s humanity will be reinforced. I don’t want to give too much away, just point it out. It will come up again in a few chapters.

“You are too cold, Konan,” he said, voice flat and without sympathy. “I can tell by your hands.” She looked down suddenly. The tips were colorless and quivering slightly. Frowning, she curled her fingers into her palms, hiding them. “Go warm yourself.” — Pain is not being mean, he’s just admonishing Konan for letting her humanity show. She has different needs than he does, like warmth. Just another difference between Pain and Konan. She can not stay cold like Pain does because she’s still alive. Also touches on the theme that being physically cold is link to despair, and she says a few chapters down that her hands are never warm anymore. She’s may be still alive, but she feels dead inside.