Chapter 2 Notes

Author’s notes: This chapter shows some of Katsuro’s good-natured side, as well as the toughness has had to adopt with to cope with the true bad guys he’s grown up around. It shows Sakura’s ability to think on her feet, create a plan to save herself and keep her wits about her in a truly bad situation. And it brings Itachi into the picture, who’s creepy and crafty. And of course, by the end, Katsuro drives home just how bad the situation is.

Chapter Notes:

As if reciting from one of her academy books, she recounted the symptoms of genjutsu sickness and recovery time. Since it wasn’t too deep, she thought, pausing to swallow then take a steadying breath, she should be feeling better shortly. — One aspect of this story is the give and take of power. Using jutsus will have a cost to the user, and undergoing one will incur a physical cost on the victim. One that far outlasts the length of the jutsu. So even though Katsuro’s genjutsu only lasted moments, for Sakura the physical duration is hours of unconsciousness. There will be more about these give-and-takes of power. Each skill will have an equally significant downside.

• Sakura was left alone with her anger…and her fears. ‘That is probably what they want,’ she thought darkly. ‘We are our own worst enemies.’ — I tried to make Sakura’s time alone being one that preys upon her fears. She has to sit and wait, not just fight back.

• She tried to use her time to strategize her way out of there. But she soon found that thinking about Itachi drew a near insurmountable level of fear, so Sakura opted to review everything she’d learned, names she’d heard, the size of the camp, how many tents there were, the food they ate, anything and everything…and commit it to memory. — Sakura never gives up, even when she’s terrified. I think memorization would be a big part of shinobi skillset (and one she is definitely skilled at), so I have her falling back on those to keep her spirits up.

• She shook her head ruefully at the thought. Sakura knew she’d already hit upon the truth: These weren’t her friends. They were barely teammates. And she had no guarantees. — Shows how different Team 7 would be without Naruto.

• Silence descended again on the forest. The branches of a woody shrub, a bush which had until recently served as a shelter, slowly eased back into their natural position. All except for one long limb. Snapped off and carelessly discarded, it now lay wilted and dying in the empty woods. — Little bit of a call back to last chapter with Katsuro plucking the green leaf off the branch. But this time, it’s the branch from their hideout, the last physical remnant from Sakura’s time with her team.

Spoiler Notes:

As she walked, she stole a glance at her warden. He scratched distractedly at a pair of goggles pushed onto the top of his head. Sakura narrowed her eyes. — Little glimpses of young Naruto and Sakura here.

“Ok,” he said brightly from somewhere behind the tree. “Now reach your arms behind you and give that tree a big ol’ hug.” Sakura growled at his infuriatingly good mood. — More of their cute interactions.

His gaze traveled over her hair, her cheeks, lingered at her mouth (she frowned immediately), then flashed back to her eyes. He tilted his chin thoughtfully, but didn’t take his eyes from hers. — He notices her eyes. This is big, later in the story. Huge. It’s not about her hair, which is what everyone else sees first. Katsuro is focused on her eyes.

• “Even his eyes were unremarkable. No highlights, no deeper tones, just brown.”Intentionally described Katsuro’s eyes as flat brown. It’s because of a transformation jutsu, making them nondescript. This also sets up a sharper contrast for later, when he is revealed to have bright blue eyes.

• “Itachi squatted down in front of her and steepled his fingers. Never changing his voice, the raven-haired man moved directly into her eye line.”Itachi steepled his fingers when speaking to Sakura. This is a little tell he has when he is considering genjutsu. It is a way to see if the person will follow your hand movements easily. If they glance at his hands, then they will be easier to manipulate with a genjutsu. If they are harder to manipulate, then he might have to take more drastic measures, or break them with his sharingan. This plays into Itachi’s platitude as revealed by Katsuro, that it’s better to yield to force than force to yield. This characterization will be there from the start, although it won’t be fully revealed for several chapters.

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