Info: Meep! It's not even that long! x.x; I'm so sorry, folks. LIFE has been occurring, and I think I've found a social life if that's what this is. Either way, thank you SO MUCH to ALL OF YOU whom reviewed! n.n I lub you all, shankyu SO much. Oh and I decided to name my lovely laptop Obito, fyi. :3 He's awesome and while I have been writing, it's mostly just been roleplays. xD;; Ackkk. Well, the update is here, now. So... no more mad. D: Here you go, and enjoy! –dances-

Warnings: ... I've actually been having quite a few warnings the past few chapters. o.O I need to stop with the fanservice or something. Er, anyway, some random Uchihacestual kisses, other boys kissing, and so on and so forth. All a very lovely game. Oh, and SOME violence, as poorly written as it was (I'd written all this over the whole course of the 6 months, soooo a lot of it sounds jumpy I guess... –hasn't even read over it much-).

Disclaimer – I don't own Naruto. o.o;; The end. –grin-

Chapter 15 – Once Upon A Time

-

He felt such warmth in his heart at that moment. Everything negative Zabuza had done to him in the past was smoothed over in this blue-white fire, leaving only the snowy memories he'd always held close. Haku was so utterly content.

"Zabuza-san," Haku said, his words muffling against Zabuza's shoulder. "This time... let me stay by your side. I don't want you to leave me again."

There was silence for a moment, before he received an answer. He felt Zabuza's hands travel up to his shoulders, tensely, before being pulled away from the older man. Haku looked up at Zabuza with wide eyes, fearful of what would be said next. Zabuza released his hold on Haku, taking a step back.

"I'm afraid I can't let you do that..." Zabuza stated, his eyes forming into a hard glare. "... Gaara."

Haku blinked. Gaara...?

Zabuza turned slightly, allowing Haku to catch a glimpse of the redhead behind him. Haku automatically returned to Zabuza's side, looking around him to see what Gaara had been doing.

Gaara was just standing there, his image devoid of emotion. He seemed to be glaring straight through Zabuza, right at Haku. Haku's brows furrowed.

Why is he looking at me like that?

"I said I would take care of him, Gaara," Zabuza said, causing Haku to look up at him.

Hunh...?

"You were failing," Gaara instantly replied, not moving. And then he narrowed his black-rimmed eyes. "You were becoming weak."

Zabuza restrained himself from looking offended, despite how annoying it was to hear this kid call him "weak." He's not one to talk, the brat. He was the one who wanted to get rid of Haku so badly, just so he could be the 'only' one in Uchiha's mind again.

"Let me do it. Go help Uchiha," Gaara said.

"Sasuke's brother?" Haku asked. Gaara's glare returned to him, this time joined by a bit softer look from Zabuza. "... what is he doing to Sasuke?"

"The kid'll be fine," Zabuza said, though that certainly didn't reassure him. "Itachi's not gonna kill him."

"No, he won't," Gaara stated, as if he were warning Itachi, despite the elder Uchiha not being there. "Now get out of my way. I'll get rid of this thing myself..." He approached the two, but Zabuza didn't move.

"Gaara..." Zabuza's tone was a subtle mix of warning and... was that pleading? "Haku's an innocent bystander. He's got nothing to do with Itachi's brother."

Haku breathed in sharply, but didn't show. Was Zabuza-san actually... defending him? But wasn't it always the other way around, with Haku's unrequited adoration and respect of the man? He'd always thought that he could be happy just being near him, doing what he wants, but... after hearing this, did it mean he wasn't alone in his feelings?

"Zabuza-san..."

A flash of annoyance and something else sparked in Gaara's otherwise emotionless eyes.

"He got too close. Besides... he knows about us. Thus, Sasuke's cross-dressing friend must die," Gaara justified.

"He won't tell anyone. I won't let him," Zabuza answered.

"That doesn't change the fact," Gaara said, closing the distance between them, "that he and Sasuke are–"

"Too close for your comfort?" Zabuza finished for him, only irritating the red-haired teen further. "I don't like it either–," a sudden but familiar warmth sparked within Haku, "–but, I can't kill the little Uchiha, so I won't. However..." He stepped forward, and would have been glaring face-to-face with Gaara, if they'd both been the same height.

Gaara looked up at him, the only emotions apparent on his face being vexation and impatience.

"If you lay a hand on Haku," Zabuza finally said, "I swear I won't hesitate to bring a ten times worse death to Uchiha-brat."

Gaara's eyes narrowed maliciously, but just as quickly, the corners of his lips curled up into a smile of sorts. It was then that Haku felt like he and Zabuza were not staring back at a red-haired teen with an insomnia problem.

It was then he felt as though Gaara would be his death.

-

"You?" Sasuke thought Gaara left him alone like everyone else did because he wanted to. Because... of him. Hearing this made all his old excuses of Gaara's leaving being against his will suddenly come back to life, reigniting an odd burning sensation that had been clinging to the inside of his ribcage for a long time.

"Well, not exactly," Itachi corrected, his eyes glimmering their strange shade of red before closing temporarily. "I was merely the messenger, giving Gaara-kun an offer he couldn't refuse."

Sasuke gave his brother a wary look, almost unsure if he wanted to question that further.

"... what kind of offer?" he finally asked, swallowing. He soon found Itachi mere inches away from his face, his brother's all-too-familiar hands and fingers locked in Sasuke's hair, palms resting lightly against the sides of the young teen's face.

As if he didn't want to let go again. This lapse in Itachi's sarcastic manner that afternoon kept Sasuke frozen in place, unsure of what would happen next. He could only stare into his brother's curiously-colored eyes, unaware of everything else around. Itachi's breath was warm against his lips, and the thought of this made the younger Uchiha blush at the two boys' proximity.

"Sasuke," Itachi whispered, smirking slightly. Sasuke tried to focus his sight on something behind Itachi's head, not wanting to look at his older brother any longer.

"Sasuke, you realize...," he began again, pressing closer still to his sibling, "your life has been decided by the same choice twice, don't you?"

"Hn?" The Sasuke's eyes returned to his brother's, brows furrowing in question. "What does that m—!"

Sasuke's lips were silenced with Itachi's, and he froze once more. He felt cold all over, and he wanted to shake or pull away in protest, but he didn't want increased pressure from Itachi's hands on his upper arms. He didn't want any more closeness with the other Uchiha. He didn't want him. He wanted... he wanted...

Yet, despite the icy feeling spreading throughout his body, Sasuke could feel his face turn hot as Itachi finally moved slightly away from him. The older male's eyes were turned downwards, in... shame? What was that emotion spread across his brother's features, Sasuke could barely find himself wondering. In actuality, Itachi felt angry with himself for allowing his feelings to betray what it was he was supposed to be doing. Again.

He let the younger teen go and turned away, walking towards the door.

"Wait!" Sasuke could suddenly hear himself saying, unsure of who it was controlling him to do such things. "Where are you going?" Itachi looked back at him, a cold look having taken over his bloody stare.

"I hate him, I hope he's dead by now," he suddenly replied, Sasuke looking surprised at the sudden statement. "Yukio," Itachi clarified, before continuing, "But if he isn't, you can still find him where he should be waiting for his bus."

Sasuke stood where he was for a few moments, allowing the words to sink into his currently numb thought process. Was Itachi helping him, or was this another ruse?

Itachi watched his younger brother for another second, before sighing and turning back around to leave. "If you've decided to abandon him, I'm fine with that, too," he stated, the front door now open wide.

With these words, Itachi felt himself pushed aside, albeit more lightly than he thought he would be, as Sasuke dashed through the dorm door before he could take a step. He watched his sibling run down the stairs on the other side of the dorm building's hallway, and felt slightly annoyed at how suddenly eager the teen was.

"... stupid Haku," Itachi murmured.

-

Sasuke began breathing heavily from his pace once he reached the outside of the dorm building, running out the double doors of its entrance. He sped down to the sidewalk, sneakers smacking the sidewalk in an almost abusive manner.

Haku, I'll kill them. If they try anything, I swear...

Even Gaara? Sasuke's steps faltered as this question rose in his mind, the voice sounding it not his own, rather belonging to Haku. He stared ahead, and knew that after this corner, he'd be able to see the bus stop where Haku was supposed to be waiting. Hopefully safe, or at least alive. He swallowed again, as Itachi's words of hate crossed his mind. It was only this time that he remembered their kiss, and took a short moment to run his forearm across his lips in defiance of such a thing ever happening.

As he turned the corner, the Uchiha could barely detect the yellow where the bus stop's sign should've been. But next to that yellow, he could see another vivid color. Either someone was bleeding profusely from their skull, or it was...

"Gaara," Sasuke breathed, tired from his run. He didn't want to move further, but he had to, or else...

-

Haku found himself pushed against the bus stop's bench, Zabuza's hand pulling away from his chest to grab the oncoming Gaara's fist.

"Gaara, I said I would—"

"You weren't doing anything," Gaara hissed, glaring up at him with sea-colored eyes. "Were you planning on running away with him?"

He ripped his hand away from Zabuza's grip, and kicked him in the chest swiftly. Zabuza made a sound as he was pushed backwards, never moved too far from Haku. He couldn't, at least not while Gaara could be closer.

"No," Zabuza flatly replied, catching Gaara's next punch and turning him around into both arms. Zabuza held the redhead tightly against his chest, keeping the teen's thin wrists securely together with one hand. "I'm not about to go and do that."

Gaara smirked as he looked up at the man, despite his current position. "I would, I would run as far as I could with Sasuke, if I had the chance," he answered, obviously not believing Zabuza's words.

The older male stared down at Gaara coarsely, before tightening his hold on the boy. Gaara barely winced at the increased pressure on his ribcage, despite it becoming harder for him to breathe.

"What? Do you plan to kill me just to protect him, now?" Gaara replied to this action, his voice lowered from the increased difficulty to speak.

"If I have to," Zabuza said, his eyes rising to where Haku was sitting, watching the actions unfold before him. Haku didn't move, just watched with wide eyes. And then another sound interrupted the goings on as everyone turned their attention to the intruder.

"Don't you... hurt him...," Sasuke breathed heavily, staring Zabuza down. His hands were balled into fists at his sides, the Uchiha shuddering with each breath he took.

"Sasuke!" Haku called to him, and he turned.

"Haku, you're alright?" he asked, going to the cross-dressing male's side. Haku nodded, smiling lightly before looking back at Zabuza and Gaara, a grim expression returning.

"Yes, Zabuza is trying to save me from Gaara," Haku answered, quietly. Sasuke blinked and just as he looked towards the two in question, something else happened in a flash.

Gaara pulled his hands free and elbowed Zabuza in the face, the man staggering backwards again, a hand over his face. Before he could go very far, Gaara had pulled something from his pocket and flung it open. Sasuke's eyes widened as he recognized the weapon.

"Gaara, no!" He started towards the redhead, a hand reaching to pull him back but Gaara disregarded the Uchiha's words as he stuck the pocket knife into Zabuza's chest, ripping it out as fast as it had made contact.

The man yelled at the sudden stab of pain, falling finally. Sasuke reached Gaara at that time and whirled him around to face him, glaring. His hands were clamped tightly on the shorter male's wrists, keeping Gaara in place.

"What are you doing, if you kill him you'll only be worse off!" Sasuke chided the other teen, Gaara's icy eyes staring back in their usual cold manner.

"First him," Gaara began pointedly, "and now someone you yourself tried to harm not so long ago? What has this thing done to your state of mind?" Sasuke's face hardened at the second reference to Haku, personally taking offense.

"You shut up, you don't know a thing about me nor have you ever tried to," Sasuke replied, annoyed with all that was happening. "I've had a pissy day so far, and seeing you is just making it worse." Gaara's eyes widened, and the Uchiha could see he'd finally hurt the redhead in a way other than physically.

Gaara took a deep breath, his arms shaking slightly, as he shuddered and averted his gaze elsewhere. Sasuke barely regretted what he said, it didn't sound so bad when he replayed it in his head. The red-haired teen kept his eyes on the concrete below, his earlier demeanor suddenly out the window.

"... Gaara?" One of Sasuke's eyebrows rose in question. "Are you—" The boy in front of him suddenly smirked, and it was one of his more homicidal ones at that, the abrupt change cutting Sasuke off.

"I'm fine," Gaara breathed, his voice barely heard in the whisper. Sea green irises suddenly reappeared as the boys' gaze met, a tense emotion pulling behind the scenes. "I'm... fine." The teen's darkly shaded lids then covered his eyes, as he pulled Sasuke closer to him with just the spiky-haired male's hold on his wrists.

Haku stopped breathing when he saw their lips touch.

-

After notes: Okay, sooo I don't know when I'll have the next chapter out. Should be soon. o.O;; Wtf ever happened to me being all excited about the prequal? Blah! I still love the prequal, not sure if I can write it anymore though. 1) very sexy, and 2) I can't write sexy. .;;;; Seriously. Anyway, pleaseeee REVIEW, nonetheless. So I know if I should even write the next chapter, anyway. xD;; What's the point of writing if no one wants it, after all?