Chapter 37 – Notes

Chapter Notes

Running Away — This chapter is a sad one, but inevitable. Katsuro’s team is just a bunch of kids, not nins. So in a real test, they can’t survive it. And Katsuro’s not yet strong enough to save them. But their loss helps shape them. I changed the title several times before settling on this one. It ties in to what’s happening here, with them all running, and it’s a bit of foreshadowing for Katsuro’s futures choices in the coming chapters. 

Itachi’s discussion with Katsuro at the dango stand: this is where some of the storyline will diverge from the manga storyline. I’m tweaking the fight over control of the kyuubi to fit within this story. I know the manga has gone into all this other stuff with the bijuu, etc., but I can’t write out all that and make it work here! So there are a few significant differences with the kyuubi and Naruto. Hopefully nothing too jarring. Katsuro has until age 21 until he’s fully bonded with the kyuubi, and has made his own personal bonds as well. Pain and Itachi are at odds over their plan for Katsuro. And Itachi has revealed that he knows a lot more about the kyuubi than he has previously let on.

“Pain’s methods are born of the Rain. No matter what the outcome, they will always fall behind Konoha.” — So, this illustrates a little of Itachi’s arrogance. It shows the difference in Pain and Itachi’s motivations, filling out the picture of Itachi and Pain. And more importantly it serves as something for Katsuro to look at as he chooses to piece together who he is and who he wants to be. Is it okay to grab power for the sake of being the most powerful (like Itachi), or is it better to want all the power to keep from being hurt again (like Pain), or is there another way altogether?

“There are things that, as a host, you must learn by experience. Like a jutsu. It can’t simply be taught. You must establish a bond, and Akatsuki is the correct step for you at this point in your development—“ — This is where this story veers from the manga/canon version. Who Katsuro bonds with will feature highly in his future.

Itachi continued, reciting as if reading from a textbook. “At 21, the host and demon chakras fuse completely and the demon vacates its cell. The kyuubi’s chakra harmonizes with its jinchuriki and can be used at to its full potential without killing its host…if it is done properly, of course. The host must be conditioned, trained and—” — So Itachi reveals that he knows much more about the kyuubi and his host than he lets on. Specifically, talking about it like you would training a dog to perform. Katsuro picks up on this as well, and it makes him feel uneasy, especially that maybe he’s more of a vessel in the eyes of those around him.

• “Beauty and the Beast, as you call them.” — Had fun writing for Hidan and Kakuzu, could you tell? Expanded their manga motivations to be more vain (Hidan) and more greedy (Kakuzu). They call each other dead man and old man, respectively, a nod to their name-calling in the manga.

Sakura’s necklace swung in front of his eyes. He dropped the bowl on the top of the bag and reached up slowly to claim it. — The necklace is back where it belongs! Yay! A bright spot in an otherwise unhappy chapter.

• Something possessive snarled to life inside Katsuro — something deep and angry and strangely un-kyuubi-like — and blocked out everything else. — So his reaction is very much his own, not the demon’s. As Katsuro struggles with his identity, whether he’s just a vessel or not, a weapon or not, the part that his tied to Sakura is very much his own, neither vessel nor weapon.

“Even though I heard there was a big game tonight. They wouldn’t let us in. Same with Koro at the club.” — So, the backstory here is that Konoha had been tracking rogue nins and had staked out this particular town. When Katsuro’s team finally came out of the woods, the Konoha nins had already instructed the storeowners to close their doors for a window of time. The storeowners complied because the Leaf was protecting their town. The rogue nins — Katsuro’s team — were forced to go back to the woods, which gave Konoha the opportunity to attack that they had been looking for.

The nin closest to Taichi’s body snapped at the men around him. “Dammit! Don’t kill em,’ just disable them! Taichou wants ’em left alive for questioning—“ — Okay, so even though they are Konoha nins, this team doesn’t have anyone familiar on it. And I’ve written them as using too much force, basically making mistakes. The intent wasn’t to kill. This will come up late as Konoha’s practices are shown to be very different from other nations/territories. So it’s important to establish that Konoha doesn’t kill. Most of the time. 🙂

• In that moment, Katsuro decided he was going to do things differently than Itachi had always instructed him. He wouldn’t accept that the purpose of a team was just to die for the strongest one. — So, an instance where Katsuro is shown pulling away from Itachi’s teachings. Instead of being focused solely on himself and his own power, Katsuro is instinctively turning towards Konoha’s way of thinking, choosing to be team oriented. These are tiny little choices, but they add up over time.

The only thing keeping him warm was the demon’s chakra in his gut with its churning, swirling heat…. Maybe he really was just a vessel after all…. — So there is a back and forth between cold and heat, emptiness and feeling whole. This theme has been building, but it gets resolved next chapter…,

Spoiler Notes

“At 21 your chakra will fuse with the kyuubi’s. You will no longer need to house it in the cell, and you will have complete access to all its chakra. That’s what he meant by ‘ultimate weapon.’” — This has been brought up by Pain and Itachi, and it’s different from the manga. Katsuro has until he’s 21 to form his bonds. At that age he will be fully bonded with the kyuubi. (Which means that whatever is being planned by Pain/Itachi, they have until then to do it.)

• Spoiler – One of the ways this story is different from the manga is that to help ease a jinchuriki’s transition into adulthood, its important to establish bonds early on. This has not yet been revealed in the story. But both Itachi and Tsunade will present the different sides of it (negative and positive.) Itachi thinks he has done this, and Katsuro is further encouraged to bond with the Akatsuki members. Itachi is hoping to imprint them on him, to make it easier to control him. But Itachi is sure that he has ultimate control over Katsuro, or will have it at the right time, because he’s the one he’s bonded to. But of course, Itachi is wrong. 🙂

The ultimate weapon — Itachi lays down a very prophetic idea for Katsuro. And he has to sort out what his destiny is to be. As a weapon or as a shinobi? (Sometimes getting what you want isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.)

“Pain and I want the same for you, but we have…different ideas about your path.” — Pain and Itachi are not in as much harmony as they are in the manga.

Katsuro liked Konoha even less now. He didn’t care how powerful Itachi made it out to be. — Itachi’s arrogance helps cement Katsuro’s dislike, something he will have to overcome in the future.

But catching the growing turmoil in Katsuro’s face, Itachi lightened his tone. “Well…just unnecessary details, really. But that’s when you become the ‘ultimate weapon.’ Incomprehensible power, all at your command.” Itachi picked up the last dango stick and tipped his head. “Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted? When I found you back in Konoha and all you could spout about was how you wanted to be a shinobi? Well, if you follow the path we’ve laid out for you, you could be the most powerful shinobi in the world.” — Again, Itachi dangles the carrot of being an ultimate weapon. But Katsuro doesn’t think the deal sounds so sweet now.

That was what Kakuzu was after. My heart. And Itachi knew it. Damn Itachi. Damn Akatsuki. — Establishes Katsuro’s continuing distrust of the Akatsuki.

“Aw, you won’t stay?” Hidan taunted Katsuro like a schoolyard bully, waving a spear in the air. “You don’t want a dango stick too?” — Establishes the fact that Akatsuki still see him as a kid and Itachi’s underling.

• The situations with Hidan and Kakuzu are set up for future chapters, so that when Naruto is revealed, he knows exactly how to handle “Beauty and the Beast.”

Something possessive snarled to life inside Katsuro — something deep and angry and strangely un-kyuubi-like — and blocked out everything else. — A little more about this: Part of this chapter has been about Katsuro’s inner turmoil over being a vessel or a person. He feels like he’s real, but everyone he is associated with sees him as a vessel. But Sakura never did, and the part of him that responds in jealousy is very much a part of him, and nothing to do with the kyuubi. So, it’s a little foreshadowing that in the future. As the storyline of him having to bond in order to access his chakra develops, he will discover that the part of him that’s bonded to Sakura is the true part of him.