Of Ice and Mist

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of its characters. If I did, I would never have let Haku and Zabuza die like that. Such a sad episode. Anyway, on with the fiction.

Chapter One: A new beginning

It seemed as if he'd been walking forever. Lost in a dream world of memory, he journeyed on, wondering where it was he was meant to be going. He was lost, lonely, and desperate. Nothing was making any sense. Where could he be? Where was the other? Where had Zabuza-san gone?

Nothing could hurt worse than not knowing where the one he regarded as his most precious thing was. It just hurt so much. He remembered the battle, remembered the pain. He was heartsick, wishing for a place to go. He had no clue as to where he had gone, or where he had been. He couldn't recall where he had been before he had entered this hell, but he thought it might have been very peaceful and wondered why he ever left.

"If I could, I'd like to go to the same place as you."

The ebony haired boy whirled around at the sound of the voice, but no one was there. It was something his mind had simply supplied for him as an answer to his previous question.

"Zabuza-san, I will find you again, even if it takes me forever. I swear it to you."

He looked up at the shining sun overhead and wondered how long it would really take him to keep that promise. It hurt being alone again. He could survive alone of course, he was a shinobi, but being alone again after so long with a constant companion was painful. He missed the constant reassuring presence that always seemed to emanate from the man that trained him.

He hadn't been alone like this since he was a small child. Memories of that time were clouded, but he remembered meeting Zabuza-san very well. He had been saved by the jounin. Zabuza was a demon of the mist; Haku was a child of the ice. They made the most deadly combination in the village.

He'd woken up in the clothes he wore when he wasn't fighting, which made him wonder who had changed his clothes while he slept. Not Zabuza-san, the man was too…He didn't have the right word to describe his sensei.

Haku also knew that he'd need to stop somewhere soon. He didn't have any weapons on him, nor did he have any supplies. That would make things difficult, but he'd managed before this. A shinobi always has an alternate route he can take. Zabuza had taught him that. Haku was so unbelievably feminine that he could just waltz right into another village and charm his way into a meal and maybe even some supplies. It had worked before, which had ended in him learning what his sensei deemed the 'Genin distress signal'. This was weird since the first time he'd actually done it, he was already a Chuunin. Haku smiled slightly to himself as he remembered the day with perfect clarity.

Flashback:
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Haku laughed flirtatiously at the man behind the counter of the store. He'd been at this for nearly an hour and had managed to obtain several much needed supplies by simply being charming. He was so glad he'd warn this kimono today, even if Zabuza-san did say if made him look very feminine. His girlish good looks had gotten him what he had sitting in a bag next to him now.

Zabuza-san was brooding in the corner while Haku worked his magic. The young boy knew that his sensei was keeping an eye on him even if it seemed he was just being a bored jounin. He didn't like this particular part of town, and had announced as much when they'd arrived, but it was the best place to go to barter. They needed these supplies badly. It was time to leave this area and there would be no telling when or if they'd have another chance to get supplies later on.

Haku turned his attention back to the man at the counter as he drew himself away from his thoughts.

The man gave him a lewd smile then said, "Hey, what do you say we ditch this place and head somewhere a little more….private?"

Haku blinked a minute until he realized what the man meant and instinctively reached for one of his needles.

"No thank you. I have to be going."

"I don't think so, little girl. You'll do exactly what I tell you to do."

Haku never had the chance to grab the needles. He suddenly found himself suspended in the air and forced up against a wall. The needles he'd gotten in his hands clattered to the ground, useless. This was bad. He thrashed against his captor and tried every little trick he knew to get away, but nothing worked with this guy.

Finally, he got desperate and did the one thing he had never done in his life, he screamed. It was a loud, high pitched sound that had Zabuza flinching where he stood. A minute later, Haku found himself lightly flung across the room as his sensei attacked the storeowner with a vehemence that scared even him. All he could do was sit where he had landed and cry, horrified at what had nearly happened to him.

A few minutes later a very irate Zabuza roughly dragged him out of the store. It was the first time Haku would see his sensei in a state of dishevel. The older ninja's hair was wilder than usual and he looked like he wanted to kill something.

When they were safely out of the village Zabuza turned to Haku and sent him the deadliest looking glare he'd ever seen. He said, "Don't you ever, ever, do that to me again. I don't enjoy having my jounin instincts put on full alert due to a stupid sound."

Haku withered at the intensity in the other man's eyes as he spoke, "What do you mean, sir? What did I do?"

"What did you do? What did you do! It was the fucking Genin Distress Signal, Haku! I can't stand that!"

"But…. I 'm a Chuunin."

"I know that, Haku!"

"Zabuza-san, calm down."

He'd never known his normally quiet master to act this way. It was weird to see him going through the different signs of aggravation. It was even stranger to see him pacing like he was. It made him look like a caged animal.

"What's the 'Genin Distress Signal'?"

"Its something they teach a ninja as a Genin so that they can call their master if anything they can't handle comes at them. Most just know how to by instinct. It drives a Jounin crazy. The sound is set to attract any ninja Jounin or higher to said Genin's aid. Its just something we do. It's an instinct designed to help us protect our Genin, and damned if I don't still have it too."

"Were you worried about me?"

"Don't be stupid Haku. Instincts are instincts. It is in a ninja's best interest to follow their instincts. To ignore them is to accept death. Next time, I won't interfere."

He was silent for a moment before he finished, "Do me a favor, Haku."

"Yes, sir?"

"Don't put yourself in a situation like that again. I don't like hearing the Genin Distress Signal coming out of my Chuunin's mouth. It's unnerving and it offsets my senses."

"Yes sir."

End Flashback

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Haku was so tired now. He could barely keep walking. He was so tired that he didn't even realize he'd wandered into a village until he collapsed at the feet of the last person to see him alive, Naruto Uzamaki.

That's it for this chapter.

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Please be gentle this is my first Naruto fiction.