Chapter seven: Disappearance
Naruto entered the room calmly without his mask. He closed the door rather softly so it didn't make any sound. Haku noticed his entry and quickly turned her head to the new entry. Seeing the unknown blond, she looked to calm down a little, but still kept her hand on the senbon needle hidden by the long sleeved tutleneck she wore.
"Lower the weapon," the living weapon said sternly.
The black haired girl froze when she heard that voice. It was the same voice as that masked person in the woods and the bridge. "Why?" she asked.
"Why didn't you kill us?"
"No reason. I thought you two'd be more useful alive than dead."
Haku stayed silent at those words and hung her head low. In desperation, she grabbed the senbon hidden under the sleeve of her shirt with both hands and stabbed it at her neck. The black haired girl closed her eyes, waiting for death to claim her, but felt nothing of the sort.
Slowly, she opened her eyes and saw that another hand stopped the weapon's travel. The thick needle had pierced the hand through and caused a rather large amount of blood to flow.
She looked at the hand and it's owner before she got enraged and yelled at him, "Why? Why can't you just let me die? I've outlived my usefulness. I failed my master, so why can't you just let me die?"
Naruto stayed silent for a while before he asked, "What would dieing achieve?"
"If you had just let me die, then I wouldn't have to live with the shame of failing my master!"
"Then you would rather die with the shame of failing your master?"
Haku was at loss of words. Was it what she wanted? She heard many cases where people commit suicide to regain their honor, but she never had a reason to think whether it was true or not; until now.
"Or would you rather die knowing you killed yourself for nothing worthwhile?
"Now be quiet, the patient still needs rest and you arguing with me can easily rouse him of it."
Zabuza relived that five seconds in his life he would never forget: those five seconds that seemed to go forever, the five seconds of duelling with the living weapon of Konoha.
He remembered each move, where both he and his adversary moved in speed that seemed impossible to humans. 'But,' he thought, 'Both of us aren't in that level of humans anymore.'
The big man recounted the fight after the vapor appeared. Both of them slashing and hacking at each other in what seemed like three minutes, but was actually one and a half second.
Zabuza's sword arm throbbed with pain due to overuse, as did Naruto's feet for his continuous, fast footwork. Yet, the older man knew in his mind that he had more advantage: more experience, larger stature that gave him more power, and a secret weapon he stored in Kubikiri Houchou.
The blond boy in front of him whose breath wasn't labored thought furiously for an opening he could make or a move that could end the fight shortly. He searched the library of jutsu's in his mind, but found none that suited his purpose and reluctantly accepted that he had to create one.
The demon of his mist made numerous one handed seals and ended with his palm slapping the side of his large blade. In the same instant, the black blade glowed light blue, signifying the useage of chakra.
'A summoning jutsu,' Naruto thought to himself as he too summoned another power deep within himself. He summoned the power of the Kyuubi no Kitsune to make sure this one move he had just thought up to work.
With a loud roar, the bandaged man leapt and swung his blade in a wide arc, letting the blue aura that surrounded his blade to fly wildly; striking the wave that gave name to the country of waves and, to Naruto's amazement froze the water that the weapon hit.
The masked boy's summoning of power was complete and immediately a red aura engulfed him, protecting the blond from the one unknown effect of the technique he was about to unleash. Naruto created a burning tornado around himself that also turned his blade red hot. Then, the masked boy raised his sword, and by controlling the tornado, he shot himself towards Zabuza.
Naruto's fiery tornado and Zabuza freezing sword aura clashed in equal terms of strength which ended with the blond boy's saber piercing the bandaged man's shoulder and his giant blade hitting the younger boy's mask, crushing several parts of it.
Zabuza stirred in his sleep and groaned. For over ten times he repeated that scene in his dream over and over again and now he could't sleep anymore.
Haku heard her master's groan and called softly, "Zabuza-sama, are you awake?"
The demon of the mist turned to his young protégé and replied, "Yeah. Where are we?"
He tried to sit up, but was held back immediately by Haku who told him, "Don't try to sit, Zabuza-sama, your wounds are quite fatal."
Somewhat disgruntled about his inability, the bandaged man lay down and looked at the blond boy who stood near him. "Konoha no Tsurugi," he hissed through gritted teeth.
"Kirigakure no Kijin," Naruto said back. The two paused for a while; neither of them said anything before the older man finally told his servant/student to leave the room.
Haku closed the door behind her and strained her ears to hear anything that might be noteworthy, but failed. The room was either sound proofed or they were talking in very low voices. After three minutes of trying, she gave up and walked down to the dining room where team 7 and Tazuna's family were having dinner.
Halfway through the hall, she stopped herself. Would they hate her because she helped in the attempt of killing Tazuna? Would any of them try to kill her? What if Zabuza was killed just after she closed the door? All these thoughts bothered her so much; she didn't realize she had just bumped into Kakashi.
"Hey," the jounin said calmly. He didn't expect to see the girl there and then, so he was surprised to see Haku so distraguht, so messed up and it bothered him. Contrary to popular believe that Hatake Kakashi was just a pervert, albeit a strong one at that was very wrong. Because he was quite sensitive, especially when it came to women.
In his early days, when his father had just committed suicide, the scarecrow was angry and depressed, yet it was nothing compared to his mother. The old woman was hysterical and could be classified as crazy; she cried and howled everyday, she wouldn't eat nor sleep and at nights she would talk to herself.
This was what gave him that sensitivity to women, because it pained him to see his mother in a sure trip to the dirt and he, the copycat just didn't want to see another woman to be like her. The other reason was because of his indifference to his mother, she commited suicide and Kakashi blamed it all on himself.
"Wanna talk?" the silver haired man continued.
"So, you're afraid Tsurugi-san will kill Zabuza?" Kakashi asked as he sharpened his kunai's with a whet stone he brought with him.
"Yes, but isn't it normal? Zabuza-sama was the first to ever treat me like a human being. To me, he is… a precious person," Haku told him as she sipped the warm mug of tea on the desk in front of her, courtesy of Tsunami.
"It is, it is," the tall jounin said as he checked the knife for any imbalance. "But, has anyone ever told you about Tsurugi-san?"
"Everything I heard was about his exploits in battle, 'the smiling death god', 'the living weapon', 'the match of a hundred shinobi', and the like. They frighten me," the black haired girl said.
"Uh huh. I wouldn't worry if I were you. Tsurugi-san is a man of efficiency. If it doesn't hinder him, he won't bother doing anything to it. And right now, Zabuza can't even hinder him, because that guy's mission is over."
Zabuza and Naruto stayed silent before Haku left the room, both of them didn't want her to know what would happen. By the time the door clicked shut, Zabuza let out a sigh he didn't know he had held.
"You care about her, don't you?" Naruto asked.
"Yeah, in a way. I just don't want her to feel the fear of constantly running, from something she didn't do of all things," Zabuza replied before he chuckled.
The blond looked at him, raising an eyebrow to show his confusion.
"You know, it's weird. I always thought the living weapon of Konoha is a heartless asshole. But now, I see a little kid who actually cares whether I care about Haku or not."
"I don't think it's a big deal. You do what you have to, after all."
"Yeah, I guess you're right. And to answer your question, yeah, I do."
"I see. Do you need my assistance then?"
"Maybe, why are you being nice to me anyway?"
"A requested mission from the current Mizukage."
"Yes. Nothing more, nothing less."
"Okay, I'll go with that. And for this, I think I'll need your help."
"I need you to make me disappear."
"Thank you so much for listening, Kakashi-san," Haku said, bowing politely.
"No problem, I'm happy I could help," the silver haired jounin replied.
Haku bowed again and left to her master's room. She was certain her master's business with that Tsurugi-san was finished.
The black haired girl almost knocked on the door before she heard the words spoken.
"I need you to make me disappear."
Haku was sure that it was her mentor's voice. She wanted to just barge into the room and and dissuade him, but her curiousity got the better of her and when she put her ears to the door, only silence met her ears. After a full minute of trying, she gave up and went back to her room.
"And how do I do that?" Naruto asked.
"That's what I've been thinking about for these last few days, until you came in."
"How does my presence help?"
"I know you've got great connections with the Hokage. I want you to take Haku as a Konoha-nin so I don't have to worry about her anymore."
"This won't help your disappearing act."
"I know. That's why I'll be a monk."
Naruto nodded after hearing Kirigakure no Kijin's words. It was completely logical. Most shinobi's deemed monks and other religious figures as complete fools, especially if they refuse to kill. While monks, in return deemed shinobi's as sinners and blasphemers. Under normal circumstances, one would never visit the other unless it was a very dire need. And Zabuza planned to use this fact as his escaping method.
"I'll handle which the rest. I just need you to promise me you'll take care of Haku," the larger man continued.
Outside the door, Haku listened to everything. She was disappointed. She believed that her mentor was the most headstrong person in the world, the very epitome of perseverance. And, here he was, talking about giving up as a shinobi just so she could live happily.
Yet, another side of her was happy because Zabuza cared for her. It gave her a peace of mind knowing that somebody cared for her. The beautiful girl was conflicted; she didn't know which side she should listen to. Finally after giving the matter a long thought, she summarized that she should think about it for a while and talk to Zabuza the next day.
Later that night
Zabuza packed many things necessary for his trip to the Temple of Fire in Fire Country, but he purposefully left Kubikiri Houcho and a training manual for the sword on his bed.
"Are you ready?" Naruto asked.
"Yeah. I really gotta thank you for this. The map will be useful," the large man answered.
"I can't walk with you any farther than the gates of this house, so you will have to find your own way," the blond boy told him.
The man known formerly 'as the demon of the mist' escaped his life as a nuke nin that day and he disappeared from the face of the world from that day forward.
The next day
Haku woke up from her bed with a startled cry. She tossed the sheets off her body and hastily snatched an alarm clock placed next to her bed. '7.30,' it read. 'Zabuza-sama must still be sleeping,' she thought. 'I'll just go to his room and talk to him about his plans.'
"Ohayo, Haku-chan," Tsunami cheerfully greeted as she met the girl.
"Ohayo, Tsunami-san. Have you… seen Zabuza-sama?" she asked.
"Hmmm, I think he went out last night," the woman answered.
"He did? Where? Was he with Tsurugi-san?" Haku asked frantically as she shook Tsunami's shoulder.
"Y-yes, he did. He didn't tell me where he went to, but he told me to let you know you shouldn't worry. Tsurugi-san is still here, but I don't know if he went with Zabuza-san last night," she said.
Haku hung her head after she heard the news. She was very confused. Did Zabuza really leave? What if Kakashi lied and Naruto really killed him?
"Haku-chan? What's the matter?" Tsunami asked, placing her hand on Haku's shoulder to ease her.
"I… I'm fine, Tsunami-san. Is… is Tsurugi-san…"
"He's still here; I think he's in the forest just several meters away from here, watching over Kakashi-san's team training."
"Thank you, Tsunami-san."
Naruto watched Kakashi training his still able-bodied students train and frankly, he was not impressed, disappointed even. "Pathetic," he muttered from his position, high on top a tree.
"It is," the scarecrow answered. "I taught many things and none of them understand or even do what I told them to properly."
"Has it ever occurred to you that maybe it was your fault they failed to live up to your standards?" the blond asked nonchalantly. "Many of my peers adore your intelligence, but not teaching skills."
"No, it's not that. They just suck. I know it," the tall jounin said pridefully.
The living weapon didn't respond and turned his head towards the source of the voice that called his code name. "Tsurugi-san," the voice called again.
"Oh boy," the copy nin said. "You'd better go to her. I think it's because that guy you smuggled last night."
The blond shrugged dismissively and went to Haku.
"Where is Zabuza-sama?" Haku demanded as she placed a senbon needle in front of Naruto's neck.
"He went to the Temple of Fire in Fire Country. I thought you heard it when you eavesdropped on us," the blue eyed boy answered.
"I did, but I don't trust you."
"Suit yourself. Maybe it'd be better if you go to his room."
Haku went to Zabuza's room as Naruto advised her to and was half surprised, half heartbroken. True to his words, Zabuza wasn't present in the room or any other rooms she had looked into. The black haired girl swept her eyes across the room and found a large wooden box tied with a red string.
She approached the box, which was placed on the single bed in the room and cautiously opened it. Inside it were Kubikiri Houcho and its training manual, a sword polish, a whetstone, and a letter.
Then, she realised that Tsunami and Naruto was honest, but she couldn't find a proof that Naruto didn't kill Zabuza, hid his body, cleaned the room and acted innocent.
She left it at that and decided to trust the blond, for now.
"So, do you trust me now?" Naruto asked as he saw Haku walking down the stairs.
"For now," she said venomously. "I read his letter."
"And? How does it concern me?" the blue eyed boy asked.
"You were mentioned in it," she answered.
"I see. Take a seat; this might be a long conversation.
"So tell me, what did it say?"
"He told me to go with you and not to worry about him."
"Then do it, I thought you trusted Zabuza."
"I do, but how do I know that the letter isn't forged by you; you killed him, and hid his body somewhere?"
"How do you know that I don't?
"You have no proof that I helped him escape, but you also have no proof that I did otherwise."
"Fine, I'll go with what the letter told me," Haku said sternly, "But if I find out that all of this is a lie, I'll kill you."