Chapter 5 Notes

Chapter 5 – The Climb

“Don’t stop,” Katsuro said behind her. It had been the first she’d heard his voice in hours, and she wondered if the long walk had cooled his temper any. — Naruto in Part 1 could be pretty grouchy, so Katsuro has a healthy temper, but without some of the manga’s immaturity. But he’s also capable of kindness, when he feels like it. 😉

‘She’s strong, there was no denying that,’ he thought. Stronger than most of the jackals he was used to being around. — In this chapter, Katsuro is beginning to recognize her, identify with her, and see something in her that is different from everyone else he’s ever known. This is the first glimmer of that recognition.

“He was waiting for it, some high-flown sentiment, some ridiculous ninja creed.” — When he and Sakura are climbing the rocks, Katsuro gets irritated with her answers, as he’s expecting some boilerplate speech about how great her skills as a Konoha nin was. It’s a little twist on Naruto was always saying, ‘Don’t underestimate me,’ etc. Brought up the way he has been, Katsuro would shirk those things.

“Seeing her pull herself together, turn and tackle the rock again, lifted him out of his bad mood. He decided to try again as well.” — Sakura is actually living her “Don’t give up” creed, and it’s beginning to rub off on Katsuro.

Spoiler Notes:

• “They were children, a family. They didn’t deserve such horror in their lives because of me,” she said.  “Because of you?” he scoffed, hands on his hips. He was waiting for it, some high-flown sentiment, some ridiculous ninja creed. In his anger, it didn’t even occur to him that their progress had completely halted. “Yes. Because none of this would have happened if you weren’t transporting me,” she said. — Sakura makes it clear to Katsuro the she feels she alone is responsible for the trouble the family is in, and that she realizes she alone can make a difference. Though he doesn’t know it now, her bravery, taking a stand in the face of something nearly insurmountable, will shape Katsuro’s decisions later.

• ‘Is she bleeding?’ he thought with some measure of surprise. Turning her arm fully revealed a mark just below the elbow where the strap had rubbed her skin raw. The exposed area, an arc the same width as the leather, glistened red and looked extremely painful, but it seemed to have ceased it’s bleeding. — In upcoming chapters, Sakura’s wound will heal over before she has a chance to heal it herself, resulting in the only scar she will have for this trip. It’s pink and noticeable, at least to her. But later, when there is some drama and Sakura wants desperately to forget her connection to him, she starts wearing elbow coverings to hide it. Which is why that is not part of her outfit yet!

He snorted. “Yeah…. Well if you pull another stunt like the one you did back there, you’ll find yourself suspended from a tree each night, miss ninja,” he said. — Will reference this line much later on with Naruto. It will be a form of punishment within their group.

“For whatever purpose, you need me,” she said with a sigh. “So, I traded my life for theirs.” She shrugged, adding softly, “it wasn’t a hard choice to make.” — Much, much, much later, Tsunade will ask Naruto about why he did so much, went so far for Sakura. He will tell her very much the same thing. The things Sakura does now are coloring who he will grow to be.

He was silent for a long time, considering the pointlessness of her actions. It seemed such a waste of skills to defend those who should never have been that far out in the forest alone in the first place. And here she was ready to fight for them, die for them. Foolish, he thought. — This thought, that Sakura is throwing herself away for people who are not worth the trouble, will plague Naruto until nearly the end. It is a sign that he was not brought up in a community, but in a survival mode. He doesn’t now how to care about a village, like Sakura innately knows. He cares about himself now, then he’ll care about Sakrua, then he’ll learn how to care for people around him, like the other Leaf shinobi and villagers.

Sakura let her palm glide over the wall as she walked…. — a little characterization of Sakura’s. She will do this a few more times over the course of her captivity, and at different times throughout the story (which later, Naruto will recognize and remember).

A breeze danced up the mountainside and lifted the fringes of her hair. “Watch your step,” Katsuro’s voice chuckled from close behind her. — Another background wind element reference. Part of the scenery, but obviously Katsuro was watching her when it happened. This is a theme which will grow through the story. A reader would never notice it here, and it’s not meant to be noticed, but after it is revealed my hope is that you could go back and see it was there all along.

Just inside the doorway, Katsuro turned back and looked for her. He nodded for her to come in, but she stood unmoving. ‘Was something wrong,’ he thought, tipping his head. Tired brown eyes sought her out, studying her face. Even in the dim light he could see the tenseness in her expression, her own eyes over-wide with fear. It tugged at him. He nodded again, softly beckoning her with his hand. — This scene, him waiting for her in the doorway, and her fear of what is in store for her, will be mirrored when Naruto returns to the village, with Sakura beckoning him through the door. One pulling the other one through, fear of what’s on the other side, doing it together, beginning of a new chapter in their lives…all of those things can be inferred from these doorway scenes.

Deep brown eyes set off his smooth pale face. Freckles lightly dusted his nose and cheeks above slightly chapped lips. All this was capped with a mop of unruly chestnut hair. — It is a transformation jutsu, and his freckles will are a mottled camouflage for the whisker marks. They are not visible, but if there were ever a slip, a shadow of the marks somehow, then they would be hidden behind freckles.

A bright fragrance floated up through the shifting air. There on the ground beside her head were a dozen or so orange segments cupped in a few of the larger peels. A few feet beyond that lay the sleeping form of the boy, his back to her. — The orange scene in the ending is important. It’s the first little offering he gives to her, for no other reason than that he just wants her to feel better. It’s from him to her, without any ties to the situation they are in. She accepts it, understanding it’s from him. This is a signal that there is an emotional shift here, and this scene will be mirrored much, much later.

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