Recursive: A Narrative Fiction

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The last time Asuma saw Konohgakure it was in the late throes of summer when it was half empty, active and even semi retired shinobi off to help with the harvest, some jōnin taking their last bit of freedom before the new genin were assigned. Now it was barely spring and Konoha looked like the sleeping giant it was. It bristled with shinobi of every rank, each one almost visibly armed to the teeth, so much so the walls looked like they were being patrolled by angry porcupines more than anything. As such, it's not much of a surprise when Asuma is stopped a solid thirty feet from the gate, which is sealed shut.

“State your name a business,” a chūnin with bandages across his nose demands. He and his partner, another male chūnin, are tense as a wire trap ready to spring, distrust obvious across their faces. Of course, it's only been three days since the attack.

“Sarutobi Asuma,” he says, “jōnin and member of the Guardian Twelve. I've got a month's leave to help rebuild and repay my respects.” He keeps his voice even, no hint of his annoyance despite his exhaustion. He knows they have a good reason for this – but Konoha was betrayed from the inside, not one man walking down a muddy road.

His name, however, causes an immediate shift, some mixture of surprise, mild panic and even deeper suspicion. “Sarutobi,” Bandages mutters to his partner, barely within Asuma's hearing, “shit man.” His partner seems calmer of the two, less visibly agitated.

“Sarutobi-san,” he calls down, “please wait here while we get someone who can verify your story.” He visibly pauses before leaning down a bit more to be better heard, “and uh, did you want an umbrella or something?”

Despite everything, the fact he's almost asleep on his feet, his worry and the ...

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...our friend other people shouldn't matter, right? It's not good to leave town without saying goodbye.”

Naruto slurps the last bit of his fourth bowl of ramen before he stands, slapping some money – not enough – down on the table. “You're right! I'm gonna go see him then Ero-sensei and me are gonna find the best healer ever and if he's not better when I get back she'll fix him and Lee and everyone else!”

Briefly Asuma wonders if he's not done something terrible, as he watches Naruto race away, but Konohamaru is looking at him like he'd just gone and hung the fucking moon so – maybe he doesn't care.

June comes quickly, and the day Asuma leaves he's not at all shocked to find he's travelling in yet another rain storm. Konohamaru has spent the last few days bargaining with him, trying to get him to stay, but Asuma has responsibilities.

Works Cited

Naruto, Kishimoto
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