Chapter 1 Notes

Author’s notes:

In writing this little story, I want to investigate how certain statements can have a different meaning in when cast in a different light. I want to turn situations on their head, assign certain characteristics to characters in unconventional ways.

Though technically an alternative universe, I’m trying to write in the same vein as characterizations in the manga, keeping most of the details the same. Dress, personality, etc. will be the same. Timeline and bad guys just can’t be the exact same, but I’ll try to make it as feasible as possible. (To note: There are some small changes to timeline — They are still genin. Right now, Sarutobi is still Hokage. The team would have been home taking the chunin exam had they not been such troublemakers. But they’re not. So they will be staying genin for one more year while everyone else moves up. However, Sakura is already in her Part 2 outfit, and I’ve written her that way.)

What to watch for: Some things are assigned directly from the manga. Some things are a twist on a theme or a scene. Some things are characterizations yet to be revealed. Some things are hidden characterizations that will never be revealed within the story. (Why? Because they are just another layer of description that you can read into or not. Best example is the torn leaf scene, read below.)

There are overarching themes I will be weaving in and out throughout the story, as well as a few color cues for changes in activity/emotional tone.

Chapter notes:

Sakura had cut her hair before this mission, excusing the drastic change to those around her as a necessity, but telling herself it would be a mark of a turning point in her life. Sakura decides to cut her own hair as a way to help her feel more mature, ninja-like. A twist on the manga, where her hair is cut by the baddies but ends up helping her on her way to maturity.

•  He ran his hand absently over a cluster of leaves growing beside his foot, plucking off a particularly green leaf. Our ninja in the tree “plucks off a particularly green leaf,” meaning Sakura both because of her green eyes and that she’s an inexperienced Konoha nin.

“He tore the leaf in two and set off.”  — Hidden characterization here. So, I don’t name this ninja for a while, but you should be in no doubt of his identity. Only one character in the manga tore a leaf in two while doing his wind element training….

• Mystery ninja’s outfit — think Zabuza’s face covering, with Kakashi’s fatigues, and Naruto’s goggles.

• Third teammate — Deliberately concealed third teammate’s identity, just not important to the story right now

• Sakura’s age/outfit — Sakura is still a genin, however, she’s already in her Part II outfit.

• Changes to the timeline — They are still genin, but their ages are more at the end of part 1, around 14 or  so. The team is a little more mature than in Part 1 in the manga. Sarutobi is still Hokage. They are genin but on the cusp of becoming chunin…but they couldn’t pass Kakashi’s bell test and got stuck as genins for another year (more on that to come). Sakura has had some standard medic training and shows promise, but it’s not anything out of the ordinary. However she already feels an affinity for it.

Spoiler Notes:

“Sakura had tried to hit Sasuke when he said it, but the punch never connected. He gracefully sidestepped, and she planted her fist into the hokage’s wall instead. The smiling face of the Yondaime still looked handsome in his picture frame, even as it hurtled across the room.” — Much later, Naruto will see the Yondaime’s cracked picture frame, wonder about why a revered leader’s image was so mistreated, then be delighted when he learns the real story and finds out it was Sakura who broke it. Naruto will say the little patch on the corner of the frame is an improvement to the picture.

•  “You cut that one too close,” the captain grumbled behind him. “Next time, just stick to the plan.” He turned smoothly and lunged back into the canopy of the trees.The scene of him on the branch being scolded by a higher-up will be mirrored later on, after Katsuro/Naruto has moved up through the ranks. Then, he will be the higher-up, scolding a the lackey.

• “As she leaned down to pluck white flowers away from the plant, a warm breeze danced around the kunoichi, ruffling the fringe of pink hair that hung just past her jawline. Leaves rustled somewhere in the canopy above her.” — This is the first reference to a theme which will carry through the whole story. Katsuro/Naruto’s wind element, and it’s connection to Sakura. Right now, it’s just a background element. But as the story progresses, it will be tied more closely to their interactions.

• “She didn’t want to turn into this pitiful plant, only useful in someone else’s more skilled hands. She wanted to be recognized for her own strengths.” — In the last chapter of the segment, she’s going to give it right back to Sasuke. Be recognized for her own strength. So this little thought will come full circle.

• “Black eyes glinted behind scraped lenses, watching her work through her situation, only the telling crinkle at the corners betraying his unseen smile.” — I wanted to give Katsuro some humanity. His good-natured side coming through, even here. Later, the expressiveness of his eyes is one thing Sakura will remember about him.

“The woodland around her shimmered and swayed as if caught in a winter storm. The green leaves flickered out of existence behind the smothering white flurries.”Sakura is blinded by the white petals in the genjutsu. White will be used to signify a change in the story line. Not just a puffy cloud, but an intense whiteness, that overwhelms the character in some way. Sakura is caught up in a flurry of white petals, and this is the beginning of her journey with Katsuro.

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