A different voice kept him from having to answer. "I'd think it was pretty obvious who he was. It's been a few years, but I'd recognize that one anywhere. Strange to see you here, since you're supposed to have died over five years ago."
"Sensei?" Naruto asked.
"He's only noted in the bingo book as being one of the youngest shinobi to reach the position of A.N.B.U. The kid you're carrying right now, Sasuke, is Haku. Age fifteen, anbu from the Village Hidden in the Mist. He's the partner of Zabuza Mamochi. Counted as dead as of team 7's first official mission."
Chapter Three: Old enemies…
Four pairs of eyes were on him. One was watching him with little interest, as was usual for the copy ninja. The others were looking at him with something akin to shock on their faces. Even the normally nonchalant Sasuke looked surprised to discover his identity.
"You…You can't be Haku. Haku was older than we were when we met him, and you're younger than we are. So, there is no logical way that he is who you say he is, Kakashi-sensei." Sakura said matter of factly, sticking to what she knew.
"True, Sakura-chan. Haku was older than the three of you, and even older than Neji and his teammates. But you must take into account that he's been officially dead for over five years."
"Sensei, no one can come back from the dead, it's not possible. Not even by the strongest shinobi. You just can't cheat death. Once you're dead, you're dead and that is that."
Kakashi shook his head at the pink haired kuionichi. "Not entirely true, Sakura-chan. There are those ninja that have the ability to put themselves into a death like state, allowing them to pass as a casualty during a brutal battle. Remember Kabuto, that young medic ninja that worked for Orochimaru during the chuunin exams? Well, he had the ability to make himself seem as though he was dead. He even fooled me, an elite ninja."
Sasuke spoke up finally, having watched his teammate flounder for an explanation. "That is true, Kakashi-sensei, but we all saw Haku die. He took a close range attack that you were intending to use on Zabuza. It killed him instantly, and impeded you during the fight until you managed to get his corpse off of your hand."
Kakashi blinked his one visible eye slowly, not saying anything to that.
Haku squirmed in Sasuke's arms, trying desperately to free himself from the much older version of the boy he nearly killed five years ago. Sasuke barely acknowledged the struggles of the smaller shinobi he was still carrying.
Finally, the tracker ninja had had enough. "Set me down! I am not a genin!"
The outburst brought everyone's attention back to the injured mist ninja. Sasuke leaned over and let Haku gain his feet then moved to stand in a defensive position with his two teammates.
Haku brushed imaginary dust from his shoulders. "Thank you. I don't enjoy feeling like an invalid in the presence of my enemies." He rolled his shoulders and the leaf team drew out their weapons, each one going for his or her most useful tool.
Haku held his hands up in front of himself. "Easy there, you four. Please, just calm down. I am at the mercy of this village, a prisoner of war. I have no weapons with which to defend myself, and little chakra to escape. You have nothing to fear from me."
Kakashi was the first one to come out of his fighting stance. He pulled his headband back down over his left eye and ran a hand through his silver hair before he spoke. "Stand down, team. He's not getting away from us now."
Sakura eased out of her stance, slowly putting the kunai she'd drawn back into its pouch before she cautiously came to stand next to her sensei. She had tended Haku's wounds when Naruto had found him. She felt responsible that he was even standing there now. He could have died if she'd just left him alone, but that wasn't in her nature.
Sasuke and Naruto exchanged a wary glance at each other then nodded and came out of their respective stances at the same time. Sasuke's eyes faded back from the Sharingan red that they'd bled to when he'd taken his stance while Naruto quickly put all but one of the weapons he'd drawn away.
Haku had eased his raised hands back to his sides to try to look as harmless as possible. He knew to play it safe until he could steal a weapon from someone here and escape. Until then all he could do was bide his time and hope the Kohana ninjas were merciful on him.