for my asuma
this may or may not have NSFW context you guys don’t know about huehuehue
Shikamaru shrugged. He legitimately didn’t know where Chouji was or why it was taking him so long to get to the academy, or if he’d ever see his best friend again. He brushed off the train of thought; Asuma was standing right in front of him and he didn’t want to nosedive into a full-out breakdown.
So the man had been here less than a week, and like Yoshino, was coming from a point in his childhood. That meant he didn’t even know of the fate that was ahead of him, the day his and his teammates’ lives changed forever.
It was time to stop thinking, right now.
Picking out a cupcake at random, he took a second to inspect the icing. Snorting when he heard Asuma’s suggestion, Shikamaru shook his head. “She’d gripe about eating half of one, or something. You know, she dragged me out birthday cake shopping and refused to buy any because they were ‘too big’. Troublesome woman,” he explained, peeling back the paper on the treat and taking a bite.
He wasn’t actually hungry, but it gave him something to focus on otherwise. “Have you seen her yet?”
Asuma watched the well hidden emotions flick across Shikamaru’s face, and pretended not to. For now, anyway. Bullying his students - and no matter how they felt about it they were still his in his mind - into talking to him could wait until later. Like, after Ino’s birthday maybe. Give them a day to try and hide. As if they could.
Taking the cupcake, he chuckled lowly at Shikamaru’s petulance, unabashedly taking advantage of the kid’s distraction to mess up the tightly pulled back pony tail. “Sounds like that wasn’t so much about cake, then,” he said. “It was good you went though.” Good to know his team wasn’t going to fall apart in some first-time-in16-generations nightmare scenario. He could just imagine his fath-
He shut down that line of thinking before he could properly realize what was wrong with it.
"Not yet," Asuma admitted, "that’s my next stop. Birthday boy gets the priority, though. Otherwise I’d just drag you to go visit with me." He was such a benevolent sensei. Let it be known. He did raise an eyebrow as Shikamaru bit into the cupcake.
"That’s cold kid," he said, pointing out the bite taken from the treat. "After all the hits my wallets taken, too." To make his point his stomach rumbled.
Asuma had spent the last week or so thoroughly mapping the city near Iwakiri, refusing to be caught unprepared should anything untoward happen. Plus, it helped him scout the hidden gems as far as tea, food and cigarettes went. Quiet, cheap but delicious places were important for his wallet and his ability to bribe all three students into attending. Well, two for now. Chouji was solid though, he’d turn up. And when he did Asuma would complain only the requisite amount about his money.
Now though, was a time for immediate interests and concrete scenarios, namely his next area to investigate. If you scaled the highest building in the city (and ignored the initial startled shouts) you could see an ocean, or at least a very very large lake. Asuma was there now, or more specifically would be several feet above it soon, on the cliffs ringing the beach.
As he crested the last hill onto the broad flat surface of the cliff, he paused. A woman, or a very shapely long haired man, stood far off, closer to the edge. Despite the fact there must have been fifty feet between them, the figure struck a chord with Asuma and he moved forward a little more quickly, not bothering to try and get her - their?- attention first. The wind up here was strong, and Asuma didn’t feel like changing it’s direction just for a conversation. Besides, he wasn’t trying to hide his chakra so they might no anyway.
Closing the gap, tentative familiarity took a back seat to complete assurance, and he grinned, coming to a stop about ten feet back from her. He knew that woman, very well, and a knot he hadn’t known existed - or maybe had been very carefully ignoring - loosened. If she’s sensed him coming she wasn’t showing it, and so he took a few more steps forward, cupping his hands around his mouth.
"Kurenai," he called, trying to school his smile into something a little less manic. "Fancy meeting you here." Not his best opening line, but after all this time there was no fooling Kurenai into thinking he was smooth. That ship had sailed and sunk when they were roughly fifteen.
"Yeah, I am. Don’t think I’m yours, though. Need something anyway?"
Seeing Asuma again was like coming back into port and anchoring after years at sea. Everything about the man was the same, from his beard to the overwhelming smell of smoke, right down to the unwavering sense of serenity about him. The afterlife didn’t change much, it seemed.
But… there was always the possibility he’d been snatched from a point before his death, like how Kurenai-sensei hadn’t even known she was pregnant when she’d showed up the first time. Tch, here came the most troublesome part: figuring out just where Asuma had come from.
"Nothing to phone home about. When’d you get in, anyway?" he inquired after breaking the hug, trying to keep the conversation light and casual. To still the minute trembling in his hands, he shoved them into his pockets and sauntered back into his shared dormitory.
"You want a cupcake? I got enough to last the next month and Cho’s not here to help me out."
Asuma cocked a wry grin at boy as they parted from their hug, adopting his usual stance and watching Shikamaru carefully. “You sure it wasn’t special? Because last time I saw you you were about yeah high,” he gestured to about half way up his chest, “and that’s including the hair.” He tugged a strand of the pony tail to make his point and smirked, “not to say that you’re too impressive in the height arena.”
He followed Shikamaru as he teased the teen, trying not to look like he was dissecting ever word and move. “I came in a few days ago, actually. Just in time to come down with some weird head cold. Didn’t leave my rooms for the whole weekend.” Which meant he was behind on learning the layout. Looks like he had his own homework.
Shikamaru’s offer of cupcakes wasn’t unwelcome - he was kind of hungry - but raised a preexisting question. “Shame, really, don’t know if I can be as impressive a helper,” Asuma said. “Any reason he’s not, that you know of?”
Asuma had, naturally, checked the student and housing registries once he got access to them, and been not at all happy to see one of his students missing. Shikamaru didn’t sound happy about the lack fo Chouji, but there didn’t seem to be any lurking double meaning to it either.
"But yeah, sure why not, though surely you’ve got other people to help out?" He gestured vaguely around the dorm to make his point.