48 – Notes

Chapter Notes:

For a chapter called “We Move as One,” it has an underlying theme of secrets. They become more united as a team, but the reality is they each still have a lot of secrets that can come between them. And for Sakura, life-changing moments have happened when she’s separated from her team…. So her time with Chiyo will have a lasting impact on her. As for Chiyo and the Sand experience, like everything else it will not be written the same as the original. Different orders of events, different motivations, different outcomes. Just keep that in mind. Favorite bits about this chapter: Kakashi being crazy. Sai being slowly pushed over the edge, first by Kakashi, and then with Sakura making him reveal his weaknesses in drawing birds. Sakura one-upping Sasuke. Sasuke and Sai becoming emotionally attached in their own small ways. The bittersweet parting of Sasuke and Sakura at the end. This sets the stage for growth for Sakura and the big changes to come.

 • They both knew what Sakura and Sai and the rest of their classmates did not: Sasuke was under observation by the council. — Continuation in the backstory about Sasuke. His is the opposite of Naruto’s upbringing. Where Naruto was forgotten, Sasuke, as the last remaining child of a powerful clan, was monitored so that he would grow up to be a loyal Konoha citizen. They don’t want him to turn out like Itachi. And he also is the sole inheritor of a large chunk of Konoha’s land. So, they are keeping him on a short leash, basically. It gives Sasuke a good reason to fight back against the village instead of becoming more loyal to it.

• Kakashi did not greet them. Instead he pulled a large roll of red ribbon from his pocket and began to unwind it. — Play on ‘the red thread of fate.’ And also ties to Sakura’s braiding the grass and tying them with sacred red thread. Kakashi is reminding them they are connected by their lives. Like blood moving between them, the rope is the literal version of ‘we move as one.’

• At the roads, Sasuke nodded but never looked back. Sai did the same. They split off, leaving Sakura standing in the middle. She gulped. Something was wrong. She couldn’t let them leave—

— Sakura is the one thinking of teamwork in the early days of Team 7. But at the end of the chapter, it is Sasuke who tries to stop them from separating in the desert, showing just how much he’s changed.

• He looked up at her completely confused. But she smiled as she wrote, “I’ve got a plan!” — This is Sakura’s whole power, right here. She sees the bigger picture. 

• There, creeping through the canopy, was Sakura. She was moving slowly, arms out, swaying a little, as gently as tree limbs. On her outstretched arms were three remaining birds. — Love this mental image of her. This feels like something that would happen in the manga in the early days of Team 7.

• “Are you saying I made a mistake in choosing my team,” he roared, leaning into Sasuke’s face, daring him to keeping going. — Even though Kakashi is eccentric, he’s totally a scary bad-ass when he wants to be. Just don’t make him mad.

• Even in the hot sun, the sight gave Sakura a chill. “K-Kakashi-sensei,” Sakura whispered. “Am I seeing things? I-Is that…a ghost?” — Another little twist on Kakashi’s ghostly tricks, with Team 7 and Chiyo both thinking they’re seeing ghosts, and Kakashi the only one who’s got it all figured out.

• Kakashi interjected, misinterpreting her stumbling words as modesty. “Sakura passed the field medic exam her first year out of academy,” he beamed. “Tsunade chose her specifically—“ — Kakashi is using his prior knowledge of Chiyo’s medical background to push Sakura in front of her. His praise is honest, but more than that he trusts Sakura, and he doesn’t trust Chiyo. So if she finds kinship in another medic, Sakura, then that’s one more person to be keeping an eye on her from their group.

• He knew that look. The sharp focus of her green eyes. It used to frustrate him so much when they were younger, especially when she’d figured out a course of action and wouldn’t let it go until they saw it her way. Now, he relied on her instincts like his life depended on it. — If Katsuro is anywhere in this chapter, it’s here. Sasuke has evolved so far that he can recognize finally that “Never give up” quality in Sakura that Katsuro saw so long ago.

• “No!!” Sasuke’s voice stopped them, desperate to keep them from separating. “We shouldn’t just split up when we come across—“ he dropped his voice to a harsh whisper, “some crazy woman in the desert! Sakura shouldn’t go with her, alone—“ — Now Sasuke is the one to pull them all back together. This is the counterpart to the flashback scene where Sakura pulls them back together to plan for their day off. But now, Sasuke is the one who is desperate to keep the team together, again showing how much he’s changed.

• But the biggest change was in Sasuke and Sakura. Nothing came between them now. — Bittersweet foreshadowing. It hints that after this, there will be more and more that stands between them, and more and more that they keep from each other. 

• Sasuke looked at her whole face for one long moment before nodding slowly once, as if accepting her words. Sakura heard his voice in her head. “We move as one.”  — This is a good snapshot of their relationship, of being in a kind of sync. It works, and it’s not bad. But it’s not the only kind of relationship she can have. So this little non-verbal communication/in-sync kind of thing will be contrasted with future relationships when a *cough, cough* person from her past returns. 🙂

• Then, they broke apart. — In a chapter called ‘We Move as One,’ this sentence marks a turning point. It suggests that though they may still be a team in the future, perhaps that won’t always be as united as they are in this moment. It hints at an ending.

• Only their blue shadows lingered, the watery edges touching a moment longer, before they too split and drifted steadily away in opposite directions off the dune. — This is a nod to their first kiss, standing in the stream. It’s only the watery shadow that touches, and then it breaks apart, like being carried away by water. It feels like they are being pulled away by forces they cannot control, moving toward two very different fates. 

• “You name was Hana, Hama—“ — total foreshadowing here, using the name of a character from another series, Hama, the blood bender, from Avatar the Last Airbender. Points to you if you caught it! Perhaps Chiyo isn’t as nice and grandmotherly as she seems….

• Sakura’s cupped hand spilled over with emerald light, as if it was water carried from a desert oasis. Luminous green reflected up onto the cliff wall and lined Chiyo’s face, making her wrinkles look even deeper. It swirled and moved, disappearing at the edges and bubbling up again from the center of her hand. — Sakura’s chakra is like water. Literally. There will be more about how unique it is, but in this moment, she and her regenerative powers are the oasis in the desert.

• “You’re carrying quite a secret around with you,” Chiyo said. Her pleasant, grandmother voice was long gone. Now it was as hard as the desert ground beneath their feet. “You are much better than you let on.” — It’s been hinted at, but here it’s apparent that her grandmotherly routine is just that — an act. 

• “You’re running out of time,” Kakashi yelled at Sasuke’s back. “I know what Itachi’s after! I know about the prophecy, and—  I know about the curse!“ — Sasuke of course, is from the cursed clan. There will be more on this to come, and about the two halves of old prophecies that Naruto and Sasuke both live under: that of which is the chosen one and which is the cursed one.

• That boy wasn’t the one he was looking for. — Kakashi’s secret: He’s looking for Naruto. He’s not looking for Gaara. He has a double need to find Itachi now: for Sasuke, as he’s already stated, but also for Naruto. He took the best team he knew to find the person that was the most important to him. And he took the best tracker to find an Uchiha: another Uchiha. For Kakashi, this whole search is not about Gaara, and it’s only indirectly about Itachi. It’s about Naruto.

• Sasuke knew Kakashi was right. He had to trust Sakura. If anyone could pull through something like that, it was her. — A lovely final thought from Sasuke, where he recognizes her strength and ability. He’s come full circle as a teammate. But Sakura is just beginning a different journey, and what she needed in the past from a teammate might not be what she needs in the future.

Spoiler Notes:

• Kakashi was no longer in the mood to keep that secret. — Even though it’s named ‘We move as One,’ this chapter is all about secrets. They all have hidden parts that they don’t share. 

• Kakashi looked at the three before him. It wasn’t lost on him that any time they stood together, Sakura and Sasuke always put Sai in between them. That was a problem for another time. — Foreshadowing their closeness at the end.

• Not wanting to be alone together, Sakura and Sasuke both left immediately, going fast in opposite directions. — A few nights later in the flashback, they don’t want to be left alone together.

• She might have mentioned it if either of them had been closer. But Sai kept making more animals and Sasuke kept shooting out flame blasts. From where she stood, she could see what they did not: Their skills were on a collision course— — Sakura seeing the bigger picture here, illustrating that this is her more subtle but still equally powerful skill. 

• Their devised plan worked, and worked well. And Sakura, the self-proclaimed ‘normal one’ in the group without the strange and terrifying powers, was left to just wait for them. — In the flashback, Sakura doesn’t see her ability to “see the bigger picture” as a powerful skill. But as foreshadowing, Sakura’s true powers have not yet been revealed, even to her. She thinks she is ‘the normal one,’ but that is far from the truth. So in her Team 7 days, her idea of herself is firmly established as the one without the crazy powers. But, by the end of the chapter, Chiyo is clearly seeing something else in her, something powerful, and comments that she must be hiding her skill. So Sakura’s story in this chapter is her growth from normal one to being on the threshold of to-be-revealed powers. And the foreshadowing points to this all the way.

• “Well done, Sakura. Your medic training has taught you to see the big picture, then zoom in on the finest details. You are learning to pick out what matters and what doesn’t. You two could learn something from this,” he said, looking at the two boys. “It will make you better shinobi.” — Kakashi needed to give Sakura more direct validation and encouragement in the original. I think it might have gone something like this. 

• “It doesn’t matter when he took his exam,” Kakashi said quietly. “You are not falling behind. You need your teammates. Both of them.” — With the amount of ptsd Sasuke has, he would have been constantly obsessing about measuring up to where Itachi was at the same point in his life. Not just a surly kid who needed a friend, but a troubled young man who saw everyone around him — even those who wanted to help him — as an obstacle to his revenge. 

• Less than two weeks after that, during a mandatory “team-building” mission on foreign soil, Sakura was abducted. Though her team was with her, it did not help her. In those life-changing minutes when she left to collect herbs, Sakura was alone. — Full circle, back to the beginning of chapter one for them.

• Kakashi and Chiyo’s exchange in the Sand — There’s so much strange about this interaction in the manga. Kakashi acts like it’s normal for a foreign nin with three kids to assist in the hunt for that country’s abducted leader. No other Sand nins except his two young siblings have managed to find the Kazekage. And Chiyo is friendly to them, and even helpful to Sakura. All of this is at odds with nations that have often been at war with each other, and shinobi who are trained to be skeptical of everything. So Kakashi and Chiyo’s interactions reflect this innate distrustfulness that should have been present, even between two eccentric, albeit powerful, characters.

• “It is, of course, the safest place to hide such a,” his voice dropped a notch, “precious vessel.” — Kakashi dropping hints about knowing it’s Gaara, their jinchuriki, that’s been abducted.

• Chiyo had given Sakura the same disinterested nod as Sai and was moving on when Kakashi added, “Sakura is a shinobi and a medic. She is also apprentice to Tsunade, our Kage, whom I think you know—“ Sakura looked at him in surprise, just as Chiyo turned to her in surprise.  — Foreshadowing here. One of the tenets of secrecy in the shinobi world is to never reveal your true power, or at least the full extent of it. So here, it’s Kakashi who reveals that Sakura has medical training, something she probably wouldn’t have done herself in this story. And Kakashi would most certainly have never revealed his student’s skill. So it’s a measure of his distrust of Chiyo that he is basically pushing Sakura into making a connection with her. 

• Sakura put on a smile. If acting the role of medic got the mission done, then she’d do it. “I’m happy to assist in any way I can.” — This sounds like Sakura from the manga.

• The spires were still off in the distance, but Sakura decided these must be the ones in Sai’s drawing. She was just wondering how he knew about it, perhaps it was from some secret intelligence from anbu— — So Sakura is on the right track. Sai is communicating through his drawings when he sometimes can’t speak the classified intel out loud. More on this to come.

• Chiyo looked at him, setting her jaw, daring him to defy her. Laws and alliances meant he had to obey, and they both knew it. She was an elder of the Sand Village. It was a command. He could be thrown in prison for even delaying this long in answering a direct order of one so high up in a host nation. — Shinobi should still be governed by their own codes of laws, even though they work outside the sight of civilians and government. 

• Sakura shook her head and explained more. “Tsunade has had me meeting all sorts of strange people lately. Really strange people. But if they’ve known each other for that long, then she’s probably safe. No matter how weird she seems.” — Sakura makes the decision to trust her based on her connection to Tsunade. 

• “Ah, so you are different. I knew there was something special about you, from the moment I saw you—“ She added softly to herself, “She must have seen it too….” But Chiyo refocused. “Continue, Sakura of the Leaf. Tell me more about how your chakra works.” — Deep foreshadowing. Like Naruto’s whiskers, Sakura also bears some outward marks of power. The very few others who know can see it. But Sakura is still completely unaware of it…yet.

• Chiyo nodded, then leaned close, wrapping a hand around Sakura’s forearm for stability. “I’ll tell you a secret.” Sakura was so intent on listening, she was only distantly aware of how warm Chiyo’s hand was where it closed around her arm. “What you just described is exactly how the Sand’s puppetry works too. Chakra thinned down farther than you even think possible.” She watched Sakura’s green eyes as she spoke, as if reading them. — Another bit of foreshadowing. The granny in the woods (from Chapter 44, The Hidden Forest), also did this to Sakura. Skin-to-skin contact, in a non suspicious place like a forearm. Will be revealed later to be a medic’s trick to test chakra. Sakura has never met anyone who uses chakra as their weapon, so it’s simply not something she’s prepared for. But more than that, she is peering into Sakura’s eyes, as if reading for more hidden signs. More on these to come.

• “But surely Tsunade has taught you about this?” Sakura’s answer was clear on her face. “The old slug certainly needs to better educate you about the gifts of your power,” Chiyo muttered. — This has echoes of what Katsuro said to her early on. That she was sent out into the world unprepared, untrained in the skills that she might need most. It’s partially true. 

• “Tsunade and I have known each other a long time. A very long time.” She paused, remembering some connection before adding, “We had the same teacher.” — Why not? Tsunade and Chiyo have history, and were enemies. They have a backstory, why not tie them together through their medical background.

• “In the Sand,” the old woman said quietly, resting her hand on the wall with each step, “a skill like yours is refined and honed. It would never be allowed to go to waste in a hospital.” Chiyo said the word as if it left a bad taste in her mouth. — As Chiyo is walking, she is attaching her chakra string to the wall each time she touches them.

• Chiyo knelt down and flattened her hands on the silty ground. She peered ahead, as if listening to the darkness. — Chiyo is feeling for someone’s chakra by shooting her own through the ground, a skill Sakura will one day master too.

• In that moment, Sasuke realized he had forgotten about Itachi, about his revenge, about his promises to his dead clan, all of it— — Sadly, in this moment, Sasuke shows just how much he’s changed. He would have given up all thoughts of revenge and followed a different path, one that included saving her.

• “H-How could you know? That was the clan’s most guarded secret—“ — Sasuke has secrets. So even he, just like all the rest of Team 7, has things that he keeps from the group. When Naruto returns and he has to confront Itachi, these secrets will have to be confronted too.