Chapter 34 – Notes

Chapter 34 Notes

• So, this chapter deals with Katsuro’s changing ideas. He sees the world around him in a certain way. And he is very satisfied that he knows everything that’s going on. Even in his relationship with Sakura, something he cherishes above everything else, he’s always had the upper hand, because he knew about his disguise when she didn’t. This chapter is about his beliefs, and how those are being chipped away. Some are exposed in this chapter, while some beliefs will be shattered in next ones.

• Washed Away – The title comes from the colors being washed away at the jewelry stand. But it’s not so bleak as all that. It’s more about some things being washed away by the trials he faces and will face, and other things having staying power in his life.

• Captain and Katsuro drinking sake — a sign of hospitality is to fill it to overflowing. But it’s never meant to be drunk like a shot, as they do in this story. They’re getting drunk. So the captain downing it in one gulp is a representation of that.

“The Big Boss wants it.” Katsuro smiled at the funny Rain habit of making nicknames. — So, in the manga, they call Yahiko ‘Pain’ and Konan ‘The Angel.’ Weird, distancing terms for their leaders. So I decided that maybe it was a cultural thing for Rain, that a sign of respect is to have a nickname.

• The Rain country is modeled off a land I once read about, a high mountain town in Japan that had only four or five passes in and out. So it was very safe from outsiders. And very treacherous for attackers. And this works with Jiraiya’s description of Rain being very hard to sneak into.

• Had to give a brief history of Rain, to justify why the soldiers would want to fight so hard to restore it. And give some backstory to Pain. Also based the old Rain village on some of the Chinese water towns like Hongcun or Huangyao. Gorgeous canal-based towns. The history with the Salamander is loosely based on the manga — tweaked some details to fit better with this story.

•  But Katsuro didn’t think anyone could wield so much power they could move mountains or stop rivers. — yeah, just a play on Katsuro’s own hidden power

A sprinkling rain fell like a curtain from the thin cloud-cover overhead. Yet the full, steel-grey clouds still loomed in the distance. — The rain is part of the Rain country’s defense mechanism, as in the manga. So, yeah, Katsuro is right to feel weird about it, like someone is watching him.

• Taichi, Joro and Koro — Katsuro needs a team, because he needs grounded work to parallel Sakura’s. (Just like Sakura investing her time with Sasuke, Katsuro is investing his time with his group and in being a better leader. This will help is character in the future.)

• “Taichi knows the lands beyond the Earth and Wind countries better than anyone else.” — The Naruto world map is very vague. But apparently there are lots of territories out there. So that’s what I’m going with.

As Taichi told it, he’d gotten a tip on a big spender, a legendary sucker, who was going to be his favorite gambling house the next night. — Tsunade of course!

“Itachi has been bragging about you.” Deidara smiled conspiratorially. “Says you are quite brave. Powerful. You might even one day join our organization.” — this is all a lie, because Deidara and Itachi hate each other. But Deidara is pointing out the obvious, why would Itachi keep Katsuro around if there was nothing in it for him. And it plants the idea in Katsuro’s head for later discussions.

• Katsuro with the necklace — bet you thought it was going to end up with Sakura, didn’t you? 🙂 Nope, it will belong to Katsuro.

• Sakura’s part is particularly graphic (though not gratuitously so), because I wanted it to be a big contrast to the world Katsuro is imagining her in. Sakura is dealing with the nasty real-world stuff of shinobi life.

• But Sakura didn’t drop to heal him. Not right away. Instead she watched him, while his life slipped away with each exhale, as if she was deciding his fate. — She’s not being cruel. She’s being more realistic than she is in the manga. She doesn’t jump right down to give up her chakra and potentially expose her own group to harm. She realizes that she will gain info from keeping him alive. And then when he begins to cry about being dying far from home, Sakura feels sorry for him. Which she wishes she didn’t feel, because she’d like to be an emotionless shinobi. But she’s not! 😉

• “Your other teammates….they’re not coming. You’re on your own now. But you’ll live.” — This reflects her feelings after surviving the apparent abandonment of her own team, then surviving Katsuro’s apparent betrayal. She knows this kid can survive too, if he wants to.

Spoiler Notes:

But even from the beginning, it seemed like his destiny was leading him to this strange sodden land. — foreshadowing – Katsuro’s destiny is tied to the Rain. They have big plans for him, bigger than he could ever imagine. Katsuro thinks this is a place where he’ll never be a tool. But he’s been picked to be Rain’s tool from the very beginning. Itachi’s flashback loosely outlines this. (Also, Itachi tells Katsuro what he wants to hear, and what will make sense to a 9yo boy. Not the truth.)

A sprinkling rain fell like a curtain from the thin cloud-cover overhead. Yet the full, steel-grey clouds still loomed in the distance. — Katsuro doesn’t know it but the rain is chakra-enhanced. Konan knows everything and everyone coming and going in their territory. Thus it’s falling like a curtain. Once you step in, she knows your movements. Also, the rain clouds are slowly growing beyond their borders.

Mercifully, the rain had slowed to a fine drizzle. — Rain as a defense mechanism — The rain on the mountains is heavy and pounding, to deter incoming spies and to identify them. But when you get nearer the bowl and the hidden village, it turns to a fine mist. It’s always there, but not soaking so people can live and work. Also, the implication is there that by the time you’ve gotten closer in, Konan already has identified you.

Suddenly he swatted a hand in the direction of the old shacks. Katsuro followed his line of sight in time to see a silhouette moved at the window of the closest hut. — another area in which Katsuro is wrong. Katsuro believes there to be fishermen there. But it’s really an outpost for the soldiers. The Rain soldiers are more suspicious that he realizes. This is important for later on, when Katsuro realizes his views on the Rain country are not what Itachi painted them to be.

• Taichi, Joro and Koro — Katsuro needs a team, because he needs grounded work to parallel Sakura’s. And when things go bad, he needs something that’s a tangible loss. Not just Sakura. (Just like Sakura investing her time with Sasuke, Katsuro is investing his time with his group and in being a better leader. This will help his character in the future.)

Katsuro felt safe enough to take a shaky breath when Deidara called out. “You tell your ’Itachi-sama’” he sneered, shaking the scroll, “I’ll beat him in this as well!” — foreshadow of events to come. Specifically, getting orders to collect Gaara’s bijuu. The Akatsuki members are all in competition.

• Sakura in the forest — So, in this fic, Sakura turns away from her true calling as a medic for a while. She wants to be a shinobi. She wants to fight. I don’t think it’s a hard leap to make, as she could have easily chosen that path in the manga as well. Anyway, this scene shows that Katsuro is still imagining her as the happy little medic, when she is out doing what she’s equally as talented at doing, kicking ass. I think in a Naruto-led team like in the manga, Naruto would have encouraged her to be a medic. But I think in a Sasuke-led team, he would have encouraged Sakura to a) do and learn everything she could to make her more formidable, of course, and b) do what would keep them together more. Again, I think that once he’d truly bonded to a team, he’d want them to stay together, like a family, and would be fiercely protective. If Sakura wanted to be out on missions with him instead of healing at Konoha, Sasuke would be very much in favor of it.

• “Sakura,” Sasuke said warningly, “You can’t. We’re not here to—“ — The little interaction between Sasuke and Sakura — At first Sasuke is reminding her that she’s not her to be a medic. Sakura basically flips him off. Then when she comes back with info and having saved the injured nin, she proves to Sasuke that she wasn’t functioning as a soft-hearted medic. She was using her skills to get something for them as well. Basically, she’s showing off. She can kill two birds with one stone. And Sasuke recognizes that she was right and he was wrong. So, just want to be clear that Sasuke’s in no way putting her down. In fact, by the end, she’s just gone higher in his view.

Omitted Scene:

The old man peered out from under his hat. Standing in the rain, clutching that cold stone, the kid sure did paint a different picture than last time. Well, life was hard, and if he was any judge of things, that kid’s life was sure to get harder. He had seen him coming, remembered him from before. He wasn’t going to give him the necklace; he could see the end of that story when he had walked up the road with that bunch of thugs. But the kid surprised him. He had done him a good turn, and so he returned it in kind. They were even. Eh, he wasn’t sentimental either, but it made him feel good that the little trinket had moved him so. Setting it aside had been the right thing to do after all. Maybe instead of love it would bring him luck. He pushed over his chair and went inside to dry off.