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Fire and Ice

By KairiKari

Humor / Adventure

Those That Are Precious to Me

He backed up, tripping over one of the baskets that they used for harvests and falling over, scooting back towards the wall. His eyes were wide and filled with unshed tears. His mother lay off to the side in a pool of her own blood, her dark hair splayed like a fan. His father stood over him, a shovel dangling from his hand and his eyes alight with a strange madness.

“Wait.” One of the others that had come with his father put a hand on the man’s shoulder, “Why don’t you sell him? There’s always a market for child slaves.” His eyes widened further and his tears began to pour down his face.

“You’re right...he’s pretty enough to fetch a good price.” His father said with a manic grin. 

The passage was dark and dry, the floor sandy grit that was mostly packed together. Barred doors were interspersed every dozen feet or so, cut into the rock wall, but the lack of light made it impossible to see inside. They had taken his clothes, leaving him with a plain, off-white tunic and similarly colored capris.

“They say that he ate one of his cellmates, that he learned it while farther down in the catacombs.” One of the guards crowed.

“He downright killed the last one, suffocated him until he was dead.” The boy shuddered, weakly pulling at his arms as the two guards laughed and easily pulled him along. He cried out as he was thrown into a cell, impacting hard on the back wall. He shuddered and curled in on himself, tears flowing freely. The men who had brought him there laughed and slammed the door shut, lock and bolts sliding shut as they walked away.

“Better be careful, they say he bites.” One jeered over their shoulder. The boy stiffened, gripping his arms tighter. The footsteps faded away, leaving a deafening silence.

“I hope you don’t plan to believe them.” A quiet voice murmured. He squeaked slightly and the other sighed faintly. Faint steps were just within hearing range, then a hand rested on his shoulder. He started, rolling away and staring with wide eyes at the other occupant of the cell.

“Hi, my name’s Terra.” The other boy said just as quietly as before. Terra was thin, much thinner than him, had long, lank, dark hair that hung to the boy’s waist, and dark eyes. Terra’s skin was as pale as death, like the boy had never seen sunlight. Also, Terra’s clothes fit badly, hanging off the too thin frame like they had been made for someone much bigger.

“I’m not going to bite. Did they hurt you?” he shook his head and Terra sighed again, planting a hand on one bony hip and running the other through his messy hair.

“Really, I’m not going to hurt you. I promise. What’s your name?” Terra asked, extending a long fingered hand again. He shifted slightly, then slowly extended his own arm until his hand rested in Terra’s pale one.

“I…I’m Haku.” 

Haku shivered as a gust of cold air ricocheted down the tunnel. Terra grimaced and cupped his hands, curling the long fingers a bit more, and a faint flicker of flame reappeared. It cast a faint glow and even fainter heat over the pair as they huddled together. Haku’s hair was much longer, and that was saying nothing for Terra’s own.

“Whose turn is it?” Terra murmured, keeping his voice down to keep from attracting attention.

“I think it’s yours.” Haku replied.

“Oh, well. There isn’t much to tell. I…I was very young when I was taken, barely old enough to remember anything. Not my family, not my village, nothing.” Terra said softly. Haku pressed against the older boy’s side, offering what little comfort he could. Terra rested his head on the ice-user’s, ignoring the pangs from his stomach with unfortunately well-practiced ease. Down in their area of cells, or their area of the ‘catacombs’ as most called it, they were only fed once a week, and that was a single small bowl of cold broth. Terra thankfully could fix the heat problem at least, but they had to split the meager meal and survive with the hunger. Terra had explained that the farther down in the catacombs you were, the less you were fed. The ‘merchandise’ with behavioral problems that got too bad were sent to the lower levels, where many had dissolved into cannibalism to survive. Terra had also recently found out the base nature of Haku’s Kekkei Genkai.

“What should we talk about next?” Haku mumbled.

“Escape.” Terra said bluntly. Haku blinked but nodded.

“This is because of my memory?” he stated more than asked. Terra nodded.

“You can remember the way out because of your photographic memory. I can’t, but on a good day I’m strong enough to distract the guards long enough for us to get out.”  Terra explained softly.

“So, when?” Haku asked. Terra opened his mouth to reply, then paused and quickly smothered the small flame in his hands. Not a moment later, footsteps echoed down the hallways. The two boys shuffled quickly to opposite sides of the cell, Terra having long ingrained the action in the younger boy from years of experience. The less friendly you seemed with your cellmate, the less likely the guards were to pick you, or them, for ‘education’. However, the fire-wielder's luck seemed to have run out. The guards stopped outside the cell and one fumbled with the keys.

"Time to earn your keep kid." the one not unlocking the door said, leering at Terra. What little color inhabited Terra's face drained from it. Haku huddled in his corner, trying to remember what Terra had told him about this. The only thing the ice-user could remember was that everyone Terra had seen be dragged off had come back changed, broken in some way. Haku was worried, very much so for the older boy. Terra had stayed strong through his eleven years as a prisoner here, and had been a pillar of strength for the nine-year-old in the past two. He didn't want to see that pillar crumble now. Haku vowed that no matter what state Terra came back in, he wouldn't allow the other to fall apart. He would keep him sane, and they would escape, together. With this in mind, Haku met Terra's terrified gaze with a determined one. Terra was too scared to recognize it for what it was though, kicking and thrashing as he was literally dragged down the corridor, voice frozen in fear.

Haku looked up as the door clattered open. His eyes widened as Terra was dumped unceremoniously on the floor. The guards laughed drunkenly, swaying dangerously as they laughed and pointed. Haku barely managed to restrain himself from rushing to the other boy’s side until the door had closed and the steps faded.

"Terra?" Haku asked tentatively. The boy in question was limp, splotches of blood darkening his thin clothes. The ice-user hesitantly put a hand on the other's shoulder, jumping at the icy cold feeling that he received. Terra was always warm, always! It had saved them several times in the deepest nights of winter. For him to be so cold...

'Don't be dead, please don't be dead.' Haku thought.

"Terra!" he hissed, roughly shaking the boy's bony shoulder, "Wake up!" Terra moaned, shuddering and curling in farther on himself, only to jump and quickly uncoil, his breath hitching and a quiet mewl of pain escaping his lips, which were horrifyingly blue.

"Terra!" Haku hissed again, ignoring the strange behavior. Terra's eyes slowly blinked open, bleary with exhaustion.

"Haku?" he asked, voice hoarse as if he had been screaming for hours.

"Yeah, you've got to wake up. Your freezing and if you don't warm up you'll die." Haku said. Terra shifted, the pained mewl sounding out as he tried to rise up onto his elbows, then again as he tried to turn onto his back.

"I can't." Terra nearly sobbed, tears filling his eyes. Haku quickly curled around his friend as much as his smaller body would allow, his meager body heat not nearly enough in the long run, but enough for now. He hugged the shuddering boy to him, humming the song his mother used to sing when he was scared or hurt.

Terra shivered and burrowed closer, welcoming the younger boy's below average body heat where he usually would be trying to summon forth his own source of heat. The cold still permeated his body in places that it shouldn't, and there were still things in places that nothing should ever be. Terra suddenly felt a hardening of his resolve. He refused to let the sick men in charge get the better of him. He refused to break. Crack? Maybe. Chip? Possibly. But he would not break. He wrapped his aching arms, the wrists still broken, around Haku, vowing to keep the sick bastards away from the boy too, even at the cost of his own freedom or sanity, possibly both.

'I will protect my dying breath.' Terra thought as he drifted off into uneasy sleep.

“Dress it and take it back. I’m done today.” Terra was roughly dropped on the floor, and the two men who had entered roughly pulled on his clothes, not caring for his broken wrists. Though his face remained blank, Terra was wincing and writhing in pain on the inside. He was barely conscious, fighting to stay so, though the rough treatment of his broken bones wasn’t helping. One of the men leered, gripping Terra’s chin and yanking it up to look at the dazed eyes.

“I will say, he’s quite the looker…for a boy.” The guard said, eyes roving over the pre-teen’s starved body.

“Keep your hands to yourself, you know how the Doc gets when his specimens are messed with. Once this one breaks, you’ll get your chance.” The other guard hissed, keeping an eye on the busy scientist at the other end of the room. The one assaulting Terra let go with a scoff, grabbing one arm instead. The other took Terra’s free arm and they dragged him from the room, not bothering to pick him up.

Haku cracked his eyes open just enough to see as the door was opened. As was routine, Terra was dropped on the floor in a broken heap, and the thoroughly inebriated guards left with a drunken sway. For several moments, Terra didn’t move, and Haku was about to go over to him when footsteps echoed again through the corridor. The ice-user deepened his breathing and lowered his eyelids enough to see, if only barely, the door. A man in a white lab coat walked hastily past, a folder under his arm and the coat stained with blood. The footsteps died again, and this time, Terra shifted, lifting one arm out from under himself to reveal a ring of keys clenched in his battered hand. Haku scrambled to his feet and hurried over, clamping down on the reflexive shout of triumph that threatened to escape. He helped the weakened fire-user to his feet, pulling one of Terra’s arms over his shoulders.

“I can’t move my wrists right now, they’re healing, but I can still use some of my techniques.” Terra murmured in Haku’s ear as they moved towards the door. Haku nodded determinately, maneuvering his thin arm out of the bars to position the key to unlock the door. After several seconds of breathless fumbling, the lock clicked mutedly and the door creaked open. The pair of boys slipped through, pushing the door until the lock clicked back into place, then setting off as fast as Terra’s tortured body would allow. For several minutes, they wound their way through the passage, Terra’s keen ears saving them quite a few times from patrolling guards, until they made it to a cross roads. Haku started down the path on their right, but Terra pulled him back.

“What?” Haku whispered.

“I feel cold air this way, and I can’t hear any voices from this direction either. It smells dusty.” Terra muttered. Haku nodded and they made their way forward, down the center path. Terra’s senses hadn’t lied, there were no footprints in the thick dust, and now Haku could feel the cold winter air coming towards them, calling to his icy-nature.  The pair halted as they found a room with an open door, a window on the far wall cracked just slightly. Hastily, but cautiously, they made their way to it. Haku let Terra lean against the nearby wall and forced the window open further, spilling snow and icy wind into the room.

“You first.” Terra said, but Haku shook his head.

“You’re going to need help.” He said and stubbornly pushed the other boy towards the window. Terra sighed but complied, hoisting himself up with his elbows and swinging his way out. Haku quickly jumped up and followed, diving after Terra into the snow bank. Terra grimaced as he sat back against the packed snow, and Haku turned to cave their entrance in on them. A sharp crack made the ice-user whirl to see Terra rotating his wrists, grimace deepening but no real pain echoing from the motion.

“Well, that psycho sure knew what he was doing. I had to force the damage to keep from healing until I got in the cell. Sorry it took so long, but because I repressed it, the healing was slow to start.” Terra explained. Haku shook his head, struck dumb.

“Yeah, I know, not the smartest thing I’ve done. But the guards had to think I was too weak or hurt to move.” Terra said.

“I-It’s fine.” Haku managed. Terra shot him a smile that was only caught because of the dim light glinting off his teeth, which had been getting whiter for the past few weeks.  The older boy turned and a small flame sprung to life in his hand, beginning to melt the ice.

“Let’s get out of here.” Terra said, and Haku made a wholehearted sound of agreement.

The two escapees finally extracted themselves from the snow, and even Haku was shivering violently. Terra’s limbs shook wildly as he walked, but he plowed on through the night-darkened woods. It didn’t help that both were pretty soaked from their trek through the melting tunnel. Finally, Terra fell forward, like he had been doing every five minutes for the past hour, attempted to rise and couldn’t. Haku hastily began pulling branches down and preparing a fire that would start easily with even a spark. Finally, once the wood was stacked right, Terra reached forward and a small flame licked at his finger, then leaped onto the evergreen needles. For a few seconds they smoldered, and then a larger flame suddenly sprang to life, hungrily eating the wood.

“No offense, but I’m beginning to hate snow.” Terra said, curling towards the fire on his side.

“None taken. I control water, air, and ice, not snow itself.” Haku said, pulling his knees to his chest and wrapping his arms around them. Terra laughed hollowly.

“At least you don’t have the possibility of destroying everything you touch.” He said. Haku shook his head.

“Fire brings life too. There are trees that depend on a fire to spread their seeds you know.” The ice-user said. Terra snorted.

“If you say so.”  They sat in companionable silence for a while before they both dropped off to sleep.

Haku was startled awake by a bird singing. He sat up straight, shivering slightly at the early morning dew soaking his clothes, and looked for the source, only to bite back laughter when he caught sight of Terra. The other boy had vaulted to his feet, looking around wildly for the source of the noise, causing his black hair to whirl around his head. Wait…black hair? Haku’s eyes widened, as he was able to fully see his friend for the first time. His skin was really as pale as the snow around them, possibly paler, and that made his black hair, eyes, eyelashes, and eyebrows stand out starkly. Two faint lines were viewable under his eyes, on a diagonal from the bridge of his nose, and Haku remembered they were called ‘tear troughs’. Everything else was the same, except that Haku could see exactly how much blood the fire-user had lost lately, enough to dye the t-shirt and capris he wore dark red.

“What was that?” Terra asked, eyes still wide.

“That was a bird.” Haku explained patiently, knowing that Terra had never been outside before, at least not in the boy’s memory. Terra turned, sharp eyes surveying Haku in the same way he had just been observing Terra.

“We’ve got to get better clothes, or we’re both going to freeze.” The older boy said finally. Haku nodded and stood.

They made their way through the woods, finally exiting on the banks of a river. On the other side was a small town. The two glanced at each other and wordlessly decided to split up and meet back here later. Terra went off towards the lower end of town, while Haku went towards the nearest part, a more residential district. Terra grimaced as he walked, nearly numb bare feet sinking into the deep snow. He took a step to his left, and his foot skidded out from under him, making him land hard on the frozen river. The twelve-year-old froze; pain splintering his awareness. Terra had yet to tell Haku what had happened when he was dragged off, and didn’t intend to. The physical torture had caused Terra’s pain tolerance to rise to a level far beyond what should ever be acceptable, but he was still adjusting to internal damage. Terra grimaced and levered himself to his feet, forcing his brain to ignore the signals sent by the nerves, and plowed on. 

Unfortunately, neither boy managed to find any edible food. Terra found some rather poisonous plants, how he knew it he didn’t know, and Haku got in a fight with a dog over a torn loaf of bread, but neither managed to bring back food. The pair huddled on the bridge in the dying daylight, Terra cupping a small flame in his hands once more. Many people passed them, most not bothering to look, or those that did with looks of loathing. Terra forced Haku’s head down each time, making him break eye contact and just focus on keeping warm enough to last the night. Several hours later, Terra’s flame began to flicker dangerously, but the flame-user had already fallen over onto Haku’s shoulder, his too-thin body wracked with shivers. Haku hugged his friend to him, rubbing his arms to attempt to keep the other warm. The flame sputtered once, twice, then died.

“Terra.” Haku murmured, trying to shake the other boy awake, but to no avail. The boy looked up as a shadow fell over him and his drifting friend, just as Terra stirred slightly. The man had dark, spiky hair, and wore a vest over a long shirt, pants, heavy covered sandals, and gloves. A headband was tied at an angle around his forehead, and bandages were pulled tight over his mouth.

“Huh, little kids like you, with no one to look after you, you’ll die a beggar’s death.” The man murmured, almost to himself.

“Hey, know what?” Haku asked, tilting his head slightly, “Your eyes remind me of mine…though a bit more of Terra’s.” Said boy stirred further, moaning slightly as he was pulled from an undoubtedly warm dream into semi-wakefulness. The man stared at the pair of them for a moment.

“Well little one, will you and your friend stay here and die, or come with me and be of some use? Will you serve me, and submit to my will in all things?” Terra’s bleary eyes met Haku’s, passing a message, and Haku turned to the man, nodding, “Then your special abilities belong to me, from this day forward.” The man came closer and effortlessly lifted Terra, who moaned again in protest, with one arm, pulling Haku close to his side with the other, to which the younger boy burrowed closer to the man’s warmth, “Let us go then.”

The next six years passed in a blur for the two boys. Terra and Haku were returned, or in Terra’s case introduced, to full health by the man, Zabuza’s, careful care, and both had nearly, if not mastered their respective Kekkei Genkai. Zabuza was thoroughly pleased when Terra developed his, and though he didn’t show it, appalled by how high the boy’s pain tolerance was.

The boys worked as a complete pair in battle, Terra a Yin to Haku’s Yang. While Haku was the speed demon, Terra had the slower but more powerful strikes and combos, not to say he was slow, just in comparison. Terra had also exhibited a better control over fire, which had nothing to do with his Kekkei Genkai. Haku’s own powers over water and ice had grown far beyond his Kekkei Genkai. As for weapon choices, Haku decided to use senbon needles, which required deadly accuracy, and a short, easily hidden ninja-to. Terra wielded a pair of chakrams that were attached to cloth gauntlets with long, retractable lengths of durable wire, and a katana, which could be wielded as one or two blades, splitting into a pair with a flick of a wrist.

Terra shifted slightly, tightening his grip on the crossbars of his chakrams. Across the path, a small portion of Haku's white mask with a red swirl over the mouth could be seen. Terra's own mask was a reflection of Haku's, but the colors were inverted. The group of ninja they were stalking were steadily getting closer, and the pair of boys tensed in near tandem. Abruptly, the shortest of the group, a blonde in a blindingly orange jumpsuit, charged forward and threw a kunai at the bush where Haku was. Terra stiffened, then breathed a sigh of relief as he felt Haku appear behind him, the white rabbit they always kept handy having replaced the ice-user.

“Cutting it a little close, don’t you think?” Terra breathed.

“I had to wait until the kunai caused enough noise to mask my jutsu.” Haku replied, voice barely above a breath. The two boys watched as Zabuza engaged the group, especially Kakashi Hatake. The Copy Ninja had immediately revealed his Sharingan, which drew more than just his students’ attention.

“Huh, who’d have thought. A Sharingan user.” Terra murmured, “But why only…” he trailed off as Haku suddenly moved off. Terra quickly followed, keeping one eye on the battle and one on his path. Terra and Haku watched with clenched fists as their caretaker was thoroughly trounced. Finally, Haku found an opening and nailed Zabuza in the neck with some of his senbon. All of the people below were very surprised, and looked around until they found Haku and Terra. The two boys laughed slightly in tandem.

“You were right…” Haku began.

“It was his last battle.” Terra finished. Kakashi leapt down and checked Zabuza’s pulse, which of course wasn’t there. The copy ninja sighed.

“No vital signs.” Kakashi said as he looked up at the boys. Terra and Haku bowed slightly.

“Thank you. We’ve been tracking Zabuza for a long time. Waiting for this chance, to finally take him down.” Haku said.

“By your masks, I see that you’re tracker ninja from the Village Hidden in the Mist.” Kakashi said, referring to the four squiggled lines on each of the boy’s foreheads.

“Impressive, you’re well informed.” Haku replied, being as pleasant as possible to keep tensions low.

“Ah, a tracker!” the blonde boy exclaimed.

“Naruto, you don’t even know what that is.” The pink haired girl said, “You missed the lesson on it, as usual.” Terra felt his eye twitch at the condescending tone in her voice, “Tracker ninja have a special role. Try coming to class sometime.” Terra glanced to Haku, who had an almost limitless amount of patience, but also had an annoyed glint in his eyes, “When a rouge ninja breaks away from his village, he carries all kinds of secrets with him. The secrets of his people. Tracker ninjas are specially trained to hunt down and eliminate them. That way the secrets of their people remain secrets.”

“Yeah, that’s about right.” Terra said, “We’re members of the elite tracking unit of the Village Hidden in the Mist. Our job was to catch that guy and kill him.” The kids seemed to be rather squeamish about the word ‘kill’, but Terra just rolled his eyes. These kids weren’t ninja, they were playing around in the big kids pool without floaters. The blonde ran forward, looking between the two ‘trackers’ and Zabuza a few times.

“What is this?” he exclaimed, “Who do you think you are?” when Terra and Haku stayed silent the boy continued, “Did you hear me?”

“Easy Naruto.” Kakashi said, rising to his feet, “They’re not our enemy.”

“Huh?” the boy turned to his teacher, “That’s not the point! Did you see what he did? Just like that? Zabuza was huge and powerful like some kind of monster! And this kid, who’s no bigger than me, he brought down Zabuza with one move! Like it was nothing! I mean, what does that make us? We’re just fumbling around! We don’t know anything! How can I accept that?”

‘Well, at least one of them knows it.’ Terra thought.

“Well, even if you don’t accept it, still, it did happen Naruto.” Kakashi put a hand on the kid’s head, ruffling his hair, “In this world, there are kids who are younger than you, and yet, stronger than me.” Terra jumped down after Haku, his Kekkei Genkai spinning quickly as he hastily covered the ice-user’s retreat with a Genjutsu.

“Have a good day.” He said, grinning slightly as he sped after his friend and teacher.

“Well, we should be safe.” Terra said as he landed in a crouch at Zabuza’s feet, sliding off his mask, “I left the kids and bridge builder with a Genjutsu about Haku taking your head and me setting fire to your body. Hopefully the Copy Ninja will just think that he imagined things, because his Sharingan might cut though that, even though he was only half conscious.” The Demon of the Bloody Mist grunted, and Terra grinned, flashing his sharper than normal canines in a feline-like smile.

“Don’t be a sore loser, we’ll all get another chance in a few days.” Terra said blithely. 

Kakashi woke slowly, but he did wake. Shortly afterwards, he was bombarded with questions from his students. The only one that caught his attention though was a disgusted Sakura asking why the Hunter Ninjas had burned the body right before them. The Jonin thought back. But…the ninja hadn’t burned the body before them, as was code, they had taken the body with them.

“Genjutsu.” He murmured, eyes going wide, “The hunter with the red mask used a Genjutsu to cover their tracks.”

“Genjutsu?” Naruto asked, and Kakashi sighed as Sakura began berating him for not paying attention in class. 

‘We’ve got our work cut out for us.’ The Copy Ninja thought, falling back and letting the kids’ bickering put him back to sleep. 

Terra grimaced as he put his mask on. He knew that Haku wore it because of the good memories he had of fighting with his best friend and mentor, but Terra hated that the mask cut off some of his peripheral vision…most of it actually. Due to his experiences when he was younger, Terra hated not being able to see all around him. The seventeen-year-old envied that one clan who had the Dojutsu that gave them a 360° range of vision. Terra shook his head, making sure his mask was in place as well as disrupting his darker thoughts. He had enough…he had Haku to look after, and he refused to let anything befall the younger boy. Haku’s precious person may have been Zabuza, but Terra’s was Haku himself. Terra leapt away, joining Haku and Zabuza silently, as any good ninja should. 

The bridge workers were entirely too easy to kill. Terra let loose a bit and just caused some of them to spontaneously combust, taking out the others by bifurcating them with his chakrams, or stabbing them with his katana. Afterwards, they waited, hidden in the mist. They didn’t have to wait long before Kakashi, the bridge builder, and two of the kids arrived. Zabuza increased the density and amount of mist. It didn’t take much longer for Kakashi to figure out they were there.

“Sasuke! Sakura! Get ready!” Kakashi shouted, positioning himself at the head of their triangle. The girl and boy drew kunais and the boy smiled slightly.

“Kakashi-sensei, it’s Zabuza isn’t it? This is his Hidden Mist Jutsu.” The girl, Sakura, said.

“Sorry I kept you waiting, Kakashi.” Zabuza growled, “I see you’ve still got those brats with you. That one’s still trembling. Pitiful.” The boy in question, Sasuke, gasped slightly as seven Zabuza clones appeared around the group.

“I’m trembling with…excitement.” Sasuke said softly.

“Go ahead Sasuke.” Kakashi said, eye creased in a smile. One of the clones lunged, but was dissipated as Sasuke sliced through them all.

“Oh, so you could see they were water clones, huh? Brat’s improving.” Terra grinned ferally as he stepped from his hiding place with Zabuza and Haku, standing on Zabuza’s left, “Looks like you’ve got a rival Haku.”

“I thought that was me.” Terra said, tilting his head so his bangs slid over the red porcelain.

“You’re too close to be a rival, more of a partner.” Haku replied. Zabuza and Kakashi bantered back and forth for a bit, most of which Terra tuned out. There was a strange feeling tickling at the back of his mind, a foreboding feeling that today wasn’t going to be as successful as Zabuza had proposed. Terra twitched slightly as Haku rushed forward, clashing with the younger boy that was with Kakashi. They whirled around for a bit, and then Haku nailed the kid with his, “One Thousand Needles of Death.” When the water that had exploded upwards fell back, Terra felt his eyes widen in surprise to not see the boy’s body splayed like a pincushion. The boy and Haku began zipping around, until Sasuke finally nailed the older boy in the head, kicking him back.

“Haku!” Terra took a step forward, but stopped when Sasuke spoke.

“Thought you were quicker, huh? Now what else are you wrong about?” he sneered.

“You made a big mistake insulting these ninja, and calling them brats.” Kakashi said flatly, “That’s just guaranteed to bring out Sasuke’s attitude. He’s the best young fighter of the Hidden Leaf Village. And Sakura here is our sharpest mind. And last but not least, our number one, hyperactive, knuckle head ninja is Naruto Uzumaki.” Zabuza chuckled slightly.

“Haku, Terra, if we keep going like this, we’ll be the victims instead of them. Get on with it.”

“Right.” Terra and Haku said in sync. Terra made to stand with Haku, but Zabuza tapped Terra’s shoulder.

“Take that ridiculous mask off. I know you only wear it because Haku does, but I want to see Kakashi’s reaction.” He said, loud enough to carry to the other group. Terra, though puzzled, complied, shaking his bangs out to fall around his face, his long black ponytail shaking too. Sasuke and Kakashi both made surprised noises, Sasuke more so than Kakashi. The boy’s mouth had dropped open slightly. Terra raised an eyebrow.

“What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?”

“Itachi.” The boy breathed, barely within hearing range, then he shook his head violently, “Who are you!” Terra’s other eyebrow rose.

“Uh, Terra.” He said, slightly confused.

“Family name, what’s your family name?” the boy hissed. Terra shrugged in a blasé manner.

“Dunno.” That seemed to surprise the Konoha ninja.

“How can you not know your family name?” Sakura asked with a smart-aleck tone.

“Hey, I don’t even know if I have a family. Back off kid.” Terra snapped. The girl took a minor step back at the tone. Haku put a hand on Terra’s shoulder.

“They don’t know, just ignore them.” He murmured. Terra nodded, leaning his head back.

“Right, thanks.” Terra said, snapping his head down, eyes blazing. The group of Konoha ninja made noises of surprise.

“Y-You are-!” Kakashi trailed off.

“But that’s impossible! Everyone was killed!” Sasuke shouted. Terra raised an eyebrow.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, so I’m just going to start trying to kill you now.” Terra said, unhooking his chakrams from their holsters on his sides.

“You must have realized what Terra’s Kekkei Genkai is.” Zabuza said, and though there were bandages hiding his face, you could tell he was smiling a predator’s smile, “He’s as much a prodigy as the infamous Itachi Uchiha.” Terra looked back at Zabuza, questions burning in his solid red eyes. Three black tome spiraled around his pupil, moving sluggishly in the lull of action.

“Zabuza?” Terra asked.

“I’ll explain afterwards. I think you’re ready.” The swordsman said. Terra nodded, facing the group of Konoha ninja with a feral grin.

“Time to get this show on the road.” The fire-user said lowly, flame sparking around the blades of the chakrams, which he began to spin.

Terra ended up fighting a slew of shadow clones, courtesy of Kakashi. The appearance of the blonde kid, apparently Naruto, was a little surprising. But Haku had a firm grip on that battle. Terra let himself fall into the easy actions of fighting. If there was one thing he knew how to do, it was fight. The seventeen-year-old had almost fallen into a trance-like state when the sound of a flock of birds chirping caught his attention. A firestorm cleared Terra’s vision, dispelling the last of the shadow clones in time for him to see Kakashi charging at Zabuza, hand filled with what appeared to be lighting.

‘Zabuza. I’m sorry.’ Terra thought, knowing there was almost no way for him to get there in time. Movement flickered at the edges of Terra’s vision, and he turned to see Haku charging forward.

‘Haku! No!’ There was a series of sharp snaps, followed by a sick squelching sound, and a splatter of blood.

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