He stood on the crest of a hill, overlooking the gate of Konoha. Even though the headband pressed against his forehead represented his village’s forgiveness, as his gaze panned over the bustling streets and familiar buildings, a well of guilt flooded in the pit of his stomach. It had been years. Even so, the village didn’t seem all that different. Just based on the rooftops, he could still recognize buildings and homes.
Even so, just because he recognized them, didn’t mean they were all the same. While he had left Konoha, Konoha, and the people in it didn’t pause. Much like the village, the people were probably similar, but they wouldn’t be the same. While guilt and anxiety were toiling within him, he couldn’t help feeling hopeful as he imagined all of his old friends.
Naruto and Sakura were the most prominent figures in his memories. They were in the village somewhere. He wondered what they had been told. How did the Hokage explain away his return? More importantly, how did they react when they were told? The last time he saw Sakura, she had tried to kill him. He could still see the intensity in her face, her green eyes wide with fury as she clenched her fist and swung toward him. The thought of her wrath, while not a threat, still made him fearful.
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