Um, yeah, here's a longer explanation so you understand just how weird this is: Basically it's a Naruto/Samurai Champloo/Samurai Deeper Kyo crossover, however, there are also going to appearances by characters from many other anime making small-role appearances (these will probably be minor characters though, the ones I feel got no love).
Oh yeah, this is a SHOUNEN-AI/YAOI story. Guys will kiss. You won't see any hetero couples happening here. You don't like it, get out. There'll be language too, but not so much. Also, there's some out-of-character-ness (especially on Kyo's part) but I tried to stay true to the characters. Don't hate me if Zabuza does or says something and you go: HEY! No way in HELL would Z do that! It's not my fault, artistic license is soooo tempting…
Also, for Champloo fans that are reading this, Jin doesn't come in until chapter two, hold tight until then. Enjoy the opening!
So, please enjoy this weird little crossover mutated baby of mine. Read and Review and hopefully you'll want to stick with the story!
Love, Peace and Chocolate Angel Lucifel
And oh yeah, I don't own any of the characters, just the story and the words telling it. I see any blatant plagiarism and I'll be cutting some throats.
Haku awoke slowly, to the sounds of birds chirping and the warmth of sunlight streaming across his bed. The place beside him on the futon was still warm, but empty and he raised his groggy head to scan the room in hopes to find the one who had left. The room was small, and sparsely decorated; a shelf and mirror on one wall, a dresser on the other, on top of which a vase was sitting, filled with wilted flowers, and a large sword leaned against the wall beside the dresser. Across from Haku was a screen door, which stood open, and through the open door he saw the larger man standing on the porch, leaning against the railing; a dark shape cut out against the golden sunrise. Haku slowly slipped out of bed, blinking away his sleepiness as he walked onto the porch and to Zabuza's side. Zabuza smiled as the young boy came up to him and smoothed down his mussed hair with a gentle stroke of his hand. Haku leaned against Zabuza's side, and watched the sunrise over the fern trees and snow-capped mountains.
He was content.
He had spent the last six months contently, Zabuza never had to take the wrapping off his sword and Haku's deadly needles never left the inside of his pockets. They lived happily in a small house they had found abandoned in the mountains, and they were surrounded by all the resources they would ever need, and, most importantly, this far into the mainland, hidden-mist village's Anbu would never find them.
Still, he knew the heart of his companion, and worried that Zabuza wouldn't be as happy to live his life in this place for long. Zabuza was restless, a wanderer…a warrior.
"Are you happy?" Haku asked, as he did every day.
Zabuza kissed his forehead gently before replying, as he always did. "Of course I am; I'm with you."
"But is this the life you want?" Haku asked, like the day before.
"Haku, you know the only life I want is to be with you, and to have you safe."
Haku relaxed only a little, assured for the day, and then headed back inside to get dressed. He went to the dresser and opened the topmost drawer and pulled out one of the few sets of clothing he owned, and slipped out of his yukata in favor of them. Once they were on he combed his hair quickly and then took a hairpin from beside the vase and pulled his long black hair up into it, leaving a few strands hanging beside his face. He looked at his reflection for a moment, taking in the face that, though the skin was young and the features delicate, held so much age in it.
Zabuza came back in and approached Haku from behind, wrapping his arms around Haku's slender shoulders and hugging him tightly.
"You're so beautiful." Zabuza whispered, looking at Haku's reflection.
Haku looked at his face for a while more, not so modest as to think he was not lovely, but still perplexed as to how it alone could keep Zabuza content and happy. Zabuza kissed his cheek and then stepped back to pick up his sword and lean it against his shoulder.
"I'm going to go out and get us some more food." He said, heading towards the door.
"All right, I'll be here." Haku said with a small smile.
Zabuza smiled over his shoulder at the young boy and his eyes conveyed worlds of compassion, before he was out the door. Haku's smile lingered as he reminisced over Zabuza's looks, the way they still made him shudder with feelings he couldn't control. One look from that man could make Haku feel just as loved as a night of passion would. He had no grounds to doubt Zabuza's happiness, he knew how much that man loved him, but still he worried.
- - -
Zabuza checked the traps he had set around the house, but found four of them empty, and the last held an rather inedible squirrel, which he released with a scowl. It seemed they would go without meat that day, unless some stupid animal happened across his path, but after the first few months it seemed the wildlife had become able to sense him when he was around, and always scampered away before he was anywhere near; unlike Haku, to whom animals flocked, but the gentle boy could never do as much as bat a fly. Zabuza sighed and went about scavenging for other means of food. As he did, however, he began to see signs of unfamiliar life. The ground was covered in imprints, small bits of brush and trees seem displaced, and it was far too large to be the usual wildlife. The markings couldn't be that of a bear or cougar either, there was no sign of claws or teeth anywhere. This seemed…human.
A hunter. He supposed. They were, quite obviously, living within prime hunting area. Something bothered him though, some subtle signs he was picking up on but not quite reading…then, horrifically it came to him. Tracking the path a little further he was assured—they were heading towards his home. Towards Haku.
- - -
Haku slipped his shoes off as he re-entered the house after having gone out to gather more flowers for his vase. The main living quarters were roughly twice the size of the bedroom, with a wood stove in one corner, a couple chairs on a rug in the middle, and two shelves facing each other on the north and south walls. The ceiling was relatively high above him, open rafters and beams still strong and without rot. The door faced west.
The only thing that seemed to have any value or meaning was a long sword placed on a beautifully-carved wooden stand, draped in the remains of prayer papers, and an incense holder in front of it, in the semblance of a shrine. Neither of the new inhabitants had any use for it, so they let it be, although Zabuza had checked the blade and found it to be in usable condition, although old.
Haku walked over the northern shelf, which, like its counterpart, had several small trinkets placed on its shelves, some left over from the former owner but most put there by the young boy himself. Haku placed the flowers down on the middlemost shelf momentarily as he picked up the only other item upon that shelf. The porcelain mask, white with a red swirl on it, stared back at him like a ghost--the ghost of the past that lingered so close-by. Haku looked over the mask sadly, wondering how long he could avoid that life, how long they could hide there, how long until he wore the ghost's mask again…
- - -
Haku had left the door still slightly open, and he slid it far enough for him to pass through silently, without removing his shoes. He hid in the shadows of the entryway for a moment, taking in the room. It was empty.
The bedroom then…
He walked up one step onto the main floor, and then out of the corner of his eye caught the bright yellow upon one of the shelves and out of sheer curiosity walked over there. He took a quick glance over the fresh flowers and then they traveled down the stems, his gaze lingering upon the mask lying there. He lifted it with a small, satisfied smile.
Then he quickly raised his arm, and the two long, deadly needles that had been flying straight for his neck ricocheted off the armor he had there. He quickly followed the needles' path to the rafter just about the stove, where he finally saw that there was someone standing among the shadows.
"Very good job at concealing yourself, boy. You are the one called Haku are you not?" The man said, looking up at Haku with the cocky grin still on his face.
"I am." Haku said quietly. "Are you from Hidden Mist?"
"I am hired by some people there." The man replied. "To find you."
"And kill you."
"So I imagined."
The man peered up into the rafters for a moment, considering. "Come down here a moment, boy."
"I think not." Haku said.
"Are you really the boy Haku? Your voice is like a girl's."
"Your observations really hold no interest to me. Either leave my house or I will be forced to kill you."
"Is that how it is then? All right, I'll bring you down on my own."
Haku jumped in surprise as the man abruptly leapt effortlessly into the rafters. He was still about ten feet away, but three long jumps later he was within the reach of a sword, and his katana was out and ready. Haku jumped to the floor just in time, and the blade bit into the beam upon which he had just been perched. The hunter followed him immediately though, giving Haku only a single breath in which to re-shape a path of escape. Just as he was springing away however, the flat of the man's sword slammed against his chest and sent him flying to a wall. He was backed into a corner now, and Haku glowered at his attacker as he took several steps forward and they got a good look at each other for the first time.
The man was tall and imposingly built—though slightly thinner than Zabuza, with basic, red-hued armor on his torso and arms. Long red hair was pulled back from his face, leaving his icy, amber eyes to glower out from beneath thin eyebrows. He carried himself with all the grace and power of a trained fighter, but there was also a wildness in his eyes that betrayed utter ability to loose control and destroy without so much as blinking. Haku felt himself trembling before he even registered the fear. Biting the inside of his lip he forced himself to keep a calm expression and stare the man in the face…a face wearing an expression that he didn't like at all. The man's expression had changed slightly, he seemed…interested. But in what and how Haku didn't want to imagine.
"My, but you're a pretty little thing." He murmured stepping forward.
Haku winced and pulled out two needles from inside his shirt, holding them ready to throw if the man came any closer.
"Determined to go down fighting are you?" He made an odd sound, something like a mix of purring and groaning. "I can think of many ways I'd like to fight you."
Haku balked and pressed further against the wall defensively. "Don't you dare touch me." He hissed. "I belong to only one man."
"Charming." He scoffed. "But after I'm done with you I think you'll discover you have a new master."
"Leave my home."
"Oh, I'll leave. But I'm taking you with me."
"You can't kill me."
"I don't intend to."
"You said that's what you were sent here for."
"Your portrait didn't do you justice. I have other ideas now."
Haku found himself arguing a strange position, convincing the man to attempt to kill him. "But your job—"
"Was to kill Zabuza, and, if you resisted, you as well. If not I could do whatever I wanted with you."
Haku cursed himself as the quivering worsened. He wasn't strong enough to fight such a man, and Zabuza wouldn't be back for hours more…what could he do?
The man's eyes followed Haku's outline and he smirked. "Are you trembling?"
"Not from fear of you."
The man took one step and Haku raised his needles, ready to defend himself at all costs…to at least get to the door.
"I think," the man took another step, drawing much too close to Haku "you are."
Haku hurled his needles, but the man easily deflected them and then swooped in, pinning Haku between him and the wall, holding the younger boys arms down so he could do nothing. He leaned in, his breath smelling of foul Sake, his mouth coming towards Haku's---
The door burst open and the man spun around just in time to dodge a massive swing from Zabuza's sword. Zabuza stepped between the man and Haku, his imposing sword held in front of him defensively, glaring at the man with deadly cold eyes.
"You have two seconds to explain who you are and what you're doing here before I cut you open." Zabuza hissed.
"But will you not try to kill me anyway, Zabuza?" He sneered.
Zabuza smirked. "Good point."
Haku followed the next few seconds in horror. Zabuza lunged for attack, with deadly weight and precision behind his movements, but in drawing a sword a fraction the size of Zabuza's the man in red easily deflected Zabuza's strike and jabbed his elbow into Zabuza's ribs. Zabuza moved out of range for another attack but had obviously been thrown off center, his breathing seemed forced. The man however, stood unfazed. He moved in again, taking the offensive now, and Zabuza moved to block, but the man made a feint and then changed his attack, and his swing sunk into Zabuza's side. Haku cried out and threw several more needles at the man, aimed at his throat, but again he blocked them. His sword came out of Zabuza's body and the larger man stood unstably for a moment as the red-haired man took several steps toward Haku. Then Zabuza roared in anger, and lunged at the man. With the split-second of surprise the man took before preparing to counter Zabuza gained the upper hand and his massive blade smashed against the other man's torso, sending him flying into the far wall. He lay crumpled there for a moment, unmoving, his chest-plate cracked, and Zabuza and Haku watched him tentatively. One second passed. Two…three…the man suddenly looked up, eyes blazing with rage. He stood slowly, and Zabuza rushed in to finish him before he regained his footing—but it was too late. When Zabuza came into range the man snapped into action, moving twice as fast, twice as hard—every stroke drawing a line of red blood that drained some of Zabuza's life. After less than a minute of the deadly whirl, he stopped, he and Zabuza stood facing each a moment, and then the renegade ninja of mist fell to the ground, bleeding out his life.
Haku shrieked in horror and rushed toward him, but halfway there the amber-eyed man caught him around the waist and before Haku could resist had bound him gagged him and thrown him over his shoulder. Haku thrashed and shrieked and fought with all his might to escape but it was no good, he was captured, and he watched through his tears the lifeless body of Zabuza until the door slammed in his face.