Return to Innocence
Chapter One: Strange Meetings
By: Wolf of the Mist

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto. I own nothing but the idea for this story. If I did, I'd make certain Zabuza and Haku didn't die!

Author Notes: I've re-edited chapters 1-5 since they were really
REALLY bad " I've changed a couple things, but nothing too much. Without further ado, the chapter.

Momochi Zabuza swung his book bag over his shoulder and shut his locker. Adjusting his headphones he spun around to face the many eyes. It was nothing new to him, their eyes of anger, fear and disgust; he just ignored them and walked down the hall to the exit. He was just different from the kids his age of eighteen. Instead of worrying about popularity or friends, his time was devoted solely on becoming stronger. Nothing but the thrill of battle excited his blood. Some people would challenge him and others would just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. However they all met the same fate. At the end of the fight it would be they who lay upon the ground. The price for this life would seem to be much for such excitement, yet Zabuza embraced it. Transferring from school to school, being dubbed a punk, isolated from everyone were small prices to be paid. He smirked, well he wasn't totally isolated. After all he still had THEM and that was too much by itself.

Zabuza adjusted his face wrappings as he turned down the hall toward the exit. The wrappings and headband were just a couple of the things that set him apart from his peers. His habits and hobbies were unique only to him. School didn't matter much to him. Instead his studied kendo and martial arts. He devoted himself to becoming stronger. It was all he cared about. With his parents gone and no living relatives he had nothing better to do. He had his part time job to help pay his expenses.

After exiting the school he paused at an alleyway. He looked up the road and then back down the alleyway, trying to decide whether to take the short-cut or long way home. The song on his mp3 player changed as he decided on the long route. Walking down the alleyway he noted that he hadn't remembered hearing the song in a long time. He closed his eyes and listened to the song. He could almost see the person who he had last listened to this song with…

Suddenly he heard a shout shaking him from his thoughts. Zabuza looked over the edge of the small bridge he was walking on and saw a kid being thrown into some trashcans by four other guys. He took one step forward but something prevented him from looking away. Instead he took off his headphones and put them in his pocket. He hadn't worked out today yet and this was as good a chance as any. He leapt off the bridge and landed a few feet away from the boys, causing them to stop their actions.

The boys turned and regarded him.

"What do you want?" asked a red head boy.

Another boy snickered. "I know you, you're that freak from Hokage High."

Zabuza's eyes gazed around the boys to land on the one who they were beating on. A smaller boy with long hair lay against the wall with a bleeding lip. Their eyes locked. Inside those depths was an innocence Momochi had long forgotten. Those eyes were like endless pools that one could loose themselves in so easily.

Shouting from the red head broke Zabuza from his thoughts.

"Enough stalling! Either get lost or do you want to get your ass beat as well, ya freak?!" Taunted the red head.

"Feh!" Zabuza reached up and unbuttoned the top buttons of his jacket.

"So that's how its gonna be, eh freak?" The boys spread out into a semi circle in front of him.

The first boy lunged toward him. The boy did not come even remotely close to his target before his face came into contact with Zabuza's foot, causing the boy to fly into some near by garbage cans. He didn't get up.

Zabuza calmly stood there with his bad tucked under his arm and his hands in his pocket as if nothing had occurred.

The next two boys simultaneously attacked him. One aimed toward his head with a two handed attack as the other aimed for his legs. Zabuza easily jumped over the attack aimed for his legs and brought his knee up to crush the face of the other boy. He then finished the other one when he followed through with a kick to the shoulder. The both fell clutching their wounds. Zabuza rolled his eyes. This wasn't much of a workout. He glanced up at the leader who stood there relatively calm.

"You've got some skill, I'll give ya that," The boy took off his school jacket, "But you won't be able to beat Tomome Hikata that easily!" He declared.

'Hum perhaps this could be interesting after all' Zabuza thought with a smirk. He dropped his bad and removed his jacket, revealing his black tank underneath. He hadn't had a good fight in awhile. "Hikata huh? You talk a good fight but can you stand behind your words?" He entered his fighting stance, his body twitching with excitement.

"You'll be eating dirt ya freak." Hikata them entered his fighting stance. It was a stance Zabuza had not seen before.

Suddenly Hikata rushed at Zabuza with a barrel of punches. Zabuza managed to block them all, and then counter attacked. They both pushed apart. It seemed they were dead even in speed. Hikata then made a swiping motion, trying to knock out Zabuza's legs, but Zabuza jumped at the last second avoiding the attack. Hikata followed with two quick punches, which Zabuza blocked easily. But something wasn't right the way Hikata was smirking.

"Hehe, fool." Hikata then threw a quick aerial kick at Zabuza, who had no time to block. The attack hit him full force, knocking him back. Hikata wasted no time and attacked with a second wave of punches. Zabuza managed to block a few, but the damage was done. When they broke apart, it was Zabuza supporting injuries. Blood trickled down the corner of his mouth, staining his wrappings and his shirt was torn.

"It was a mistake to draw blood." Zabuza glared at his opponent, "Now I'm pissed!"

He attacked with full force, increasing both his speed and power to max. Hikata was wearing out; it was only a matter of time before he let his guard down. One last kick did it, Zabuza saw the opening, he swung his right arm as hard as he could. "This is it Hik…"

His sentence was stopped short when something crash into his back, sending him skidding across the dirt. "Kuso!" he cursed as he spat blood. He turned around to see the two boys that he had dealt were earlier both sporting metal poles in their hands. 'Shit I totally forgot about them' thought Zabuza as he began to reassess the situation.

"Hum, it seems like you forgot about your other opponents, mummy boy." Hikata laughed.

It was a dirty trick but Zabuza cursed himself for not knowing better. He had focused too much on Hikata.

The two boys were laughing at him along with Hikata. Zabuza gripped the dirt in anger. He swore long ago that he'd let nothing bother him. So why was this bothering him now? His anger seethed. He was not going to loose to anyone, ever!

"Well since we're waiting for you to get back up, we might as well have some fun with girly-boy over here."

Zabuza's eyes widened as they moved toward the boy.

"Shit!" Zabuza picked himself off the ground and ran toward the boys. It wasn't the most brilliant move ever, but he couldn't control his movements. Pure instinct took over. He grabbed the closest boy by the collar and threw him as far back as he could. The second hit Zabuza in the side of the head but Zabuza shook it off like it was nothing and attacked, causing the boys to back off the small boy.

Zabuza placed himself between Hikata and his followers and the younger boy. "You haven't beaten me yet. Your fights with me, leave him out of it."

"Trying to play hero, huh? Well take this." The red head swung at him.

Zabuza side stepped and grabbed the boy's wrist, yanking the pole away from him. "You can't use the same trick on me twice."

Zabuza spun the pole and got into another fighting stance. 'They may know how to swing for power, but they have no skills.'

Hikata and the red head picked up two more polls. He had no problem with it; after all he did study kendo. He smirked.

The smirk caused the boys to pause in their attack. "What's wrong?" Zabuza mocked, "Afraid of me now?"

Hikata snorted, "As if we'd be afraid of a freak like you." They charged, but they never had a chance.

Zabuza took the three boys down with a single swing, but he gave them an extra hit as payment. "Remember not to piss me off next time, weaklings." He then dropped the pole and walked over to his belongings. He winced a little when he bent down to pick them up. Not everyone could shake off being smacked around with metal poles and physical attacks. He reached up and touches his forehead. He was lucky he wore a headband or that hit there might have been more damaging than it was.

He swung his belongings over his shoulder and turned to walk away.

"Wait!" yelled the young boy, picking himself off the ground. Zabuza stopped. "No one has ever stood up for me before, thank you. I'm sorry about the trouble."

Zabuza turned halfway around. The boy smiled warmly at him, "My name is Haku." Zabuza blushed under his wrappings. He spun back around.

"I didn't do it for you! I only fought because I hadn't had a workout today!" Then he started walking away. But he paused before he stepped on the bridge. "Momochi Zabuza." Then he hopped on the bridge and walked home.

'What's wrong with me today?' Zabuza asked himself. It was true that he wanted to fight, but something strange had gone through his mind. As if he knew that he couldn't bare to lose that fight for another reason instead of his pride. Almost as if he wanted to protect the boy. He shook his head. No, that couldn't be it. He was a longer, he had no friends or family, he was a demon; but…that boy had given him a genuine smile. Something that no stranger had given him in a very long time, if ever.

He winced a little as he walked up the stairs toward his house. He would definitely have to rest after that. It had been far too long since he fought a good fight. "Maybe I'm getting rusty." He mused.

He opened his door and threw his book bag and jacket on his couch. He walked into his small kitchen and grabbed a glass of water. Today was a strange day indeed. He downed his glass of water and made his way to his room.

He let his tired body fall upon the bed, but as he closed his eyes the face of the young boy appeared. Somehow the face seemed to give him comfort and he quickly fell into a deep sleep.

Author's Note:
Here is chapter one of my new fic. I don't know if I'll be able to post often but I'm going to try, and fall break is coming up so I'll have some time then. Hope you all liked it. More Zabuza/Haku goodness in the next chapter! Please leave a review!