I don't own the characters, this is just a random thought because, after all, Haku does use mirrors. Kishimoto created the characters I happily manipulated to share a unique plot. And Evil genus has continued this into the wonderful realm of chapters in "Reflections of Demons".
Zabuza twisted to avoid the hit of Kakashi, his mind frantic with a sense of foreboding as he fought the copy cat. He had a brief worry for Haku, as the interruption of the loud blond distracted him, but his charge quickly recovered and the fighting continued. Haku was reliable like that.
He growled as he focused on his fight with the jounin and ignored the clenching of his heart and the trembling of his hand.
Their deaths were not here.
He was sure of that.
So why was this ache in his bloodstained hands?
Haku worried over killing the blond, someone entirely driven and so sunny he wouldn't have ever been an enemy if Haku had any say in the Fates' plans. He swallowed this emotion, this regret and frustration, and coldly incapacitated the brunette developing his sharingan--he was a liability.
When only he and Naruto were left the blond gave him those driven eyes and prepared to defend everything he stood for--every friend he worked so hard for and protected at his best and adored. Haku gasped quietly as he finally recognized those eyes.
Suddenly Naruto was before him--but the blond choked, the mirrors failing at their original duty because of the chakra intent and the reality that they were, in fact, mirrors.
Mirrors were meant to reflect the truth.
Mirrors never lied.
Mirrors weren't gentle or forgiving--they were harsh and cold masters that admitted all if one cared to look.
Haku screamed as the blond hacked, heaved and writhed, spit out blood. Blue eyes watering even as he stubbornly never let the tears fall, his form collapsing as he grabbed at his heart. Haku fell out of his hiding place--his knees scraping on the ground and his mask being ripped off as he tried to breathe and tried to scream and tried to cry.
Zabuza abruptly stopped his head long charge, his eyes widening as he cursed and was suddenly frantically looking amongst the mist and the mirrors, Kakashi sliding to a halt as the piercing scream broke through the fog and their narrowed focus on each other.
Their fight didn't matter anymore; that scream did.
The Demon of the Mist cursed as he quickly made his way over to the coldest part of the bridge, listening to that scream and cursing and yelling and regretting.
The mist needed a new graduation process, the mizukage needed to be thrown out of office, the corruption amongst the kirigakure veterans needed to be contained…orphans needed to be taken care of.
The children should never have to scream like that.
Zabuza was suddenly there, amongst the melting mirrors and his sobbing charge as the blond genin moaned in despair and fisted his hand in his hair while banging his head against the concrete of the bridge--the choking gasps of held in tears shook his small body. Zabuza protectively knelt over his charge as he snarled at Kakashi as the teacher came close and checked on the Raven brat's pulse.
Then the mist faded for the new threat.
Zabuza moved to stand guarding Haku as Kakashi moved to do the same to his student, the shrill female firming her stance in front of what was once his target.
Zabuza watched the blond child struggle to stand, stumbling and shaking his head as his arms flopped uselessly and he tried to glare at the new band of thugs. Zabuza didn't like his eyes--dead but driven and hurting.
He snarled at the petty Gatou, felt Kakashi tense beside him; then the two were amongst the thugs and wrecking havoc to reach the cause of all this stupidity.
Gatou lay dead, his head feet away from his body and his men scattered by a new show of force as villagers showed up to back the two jounin and defend their future.
Haku woke up sobbing, his eyes unfocused as he reached out to meet nothing. He sobbed harder and then moved to curl into a ball, his hands coming up to cover his mouth before they were caught in large calloused hands and he was pulled into the warm side of his mentor.
Zabuza shushed him before speaking, "We are safe, nothing is wrong. The deal was cut short and I have no wounds."
Haku sniffled and shook his head. "The mirrors"--he gasped out as he struggled for words and breath and safety--"something went wrong...the boy Zabuza-san." He cried slightly and shifted to look up into the swordsman's face, his eyes pleading. "The boy is still where we were."
Zabuza gave him a strong look, his dark narrow eyes becoming storms before he consciously settled his muscles and regarded him with an air of expectation. "He lives in Konoha, it is almost perfect there, even for orphans."
He shook his head, his loose hair slapping his cheeks and sticking to tear trails as he sobbed and clenched his eyes shut. "The mirrors were all wrong Zabuza-san. They reflected and it…he's so alone." He looked up pleadingly to his mentor, trying to convey his urgency.
Zabuza sighed before pulling him back into the larger body, a broad hand holding his head to a thick neck as Zabuza murmured and allowed him to listen to that strong heartbeat. "The boy is not one of us Haku; even if he was there is nothing we can do about it."
Haku tensed and tried not to cry again, he hadn't cried this hard in years."But Zabuza-san, he'll have it worse. I don't know why…but the villagers are so mean, he has trouble simply taking care of himself because they won't allow him to buy things from the stores and they chase him and…" he broke off to bury his head further into that heart beat, wishing that there was no such thing as orphans and wars.
Zabuza sighed as he regarded the recuperating genin; his raven hair soft on the pillow as the pink haired shinobi wiped at his brow tenderly with a soft wet cloth. He growled as he saw the blond shift uneasily in his rest several feet away, his movement largely ignored by his team mate as he suffered.
He scowled and slowly left the room.
She hadn't noticed his presence anyway.
He walked down the hall to find a quiet room; instead running into that little Inari kid as the boy broodedly stared at the ground instead of looking where he was going. The child looked up at him in confusion before his eyes smoldered. "What's wrong with Naruto-nii-san!?"
Zabuza felt his forehead furrow as he regarded the slight child, wondering before he spoke. "He rests and shifts, no one is bothering him."
He received a scowl, "You mean no one is bothering with him," before he scuffed his toe in the floor and stared at it as if it were the source of this monumental problem.
Zabuza sighed and then crouched to regard him face to face, the little boy staring straight into his eyes and frowning before he tilted his chin up with stubborn will. "What makes you say that?"
The boy deflated, his eyes tearing as he tried a wobbly smile. "He yelled at me and he was right, but the others didn't know he was. They don't know him, I don't know him! But he's great! He's so cool but they're mean to him!" he settled and then scuffed his toe again, his eyes drifting to look out the window. "I heard he had it hard, and I don't want him sad here."
Zabuza would have smirked if he wasn't so shocked, instead he ruffled the child's hair, knocking his hat to one side as the boy finally managed a grin and then darted off down the hallway.
The Demon went to go find that Copy Cat.
He found the pervert giggling over some trashy fiction. Zabuza felt his lips snarling before he calmed himself and spoke: "How long have you been staying at the builder's house?"
The man gave him an easy 'hmmm?' before bothering to reply, "Mah, over a week, they've been training out in the forest almost all day."
Zabuza nodded his head and cursed, they'd been here long enough for the boy to know what he's talking about and not just have some case of shallow hero worship. "He is recovering nicely?"
Kakashi waved his hand dismissively. "Sasuke is all taken care of."
Zabuza bristled. "I was speaking of the blond brat."
The silver head finally moved from the book to regard him with ill hidden surprise, and Zabuza held in his snarl as the man recovered and gifted him with a solid look. "Naruto has excellent healing abilities; he'll be fine in a few days."
Zabuza didn't bother looking back to meet the curious gaze of the konoha jounin as he stormed into the house and to Haku.
Haku smiled softly and helped Naruto sit up, his hands gentle on bruised ribs--injuries almost completely healed though on anyone else they'd be black and purple. He wondered if the silence of the blond was because of anxiety over Haku's close presence (they had been enemies after all) but he looked up to see those blue eyes watching his hands with the avid interest most children had when looking upon something new.
Haku choked onthe breath in his lungs, feeling like the ice in his blood had suddenly redirected to his vitals.
He held in a sniffle as he slowed down his hands, making sure that every touch was gentle as Naruto held still and avidly watched this strange occurrence. Then Haku's face firmed--"I don't know where I'd be without Zabuza."
Naruto smiled oddly, his attention not fully on what he was saying as he watched fingers prod even more bruises and carefully avoid white gauze. "You're lucky; my precious people are busy right now. Zabuza worries over you." His eyes glazed over, and Haku recalled how Sakura had approached him to explain the happenings after the fog had cleared, how Zabuza had cried for him and borrowed a kunai from the blond boy.
Haku didn't like the pink haired girl; she only approached on the basis of finding out more information, if he was a threat to her and Sasuke's 'relationship' (under the misguided notion that he was a girl), and then she never bothered to inquire if his medicines were working on the blond. He sighed and quickly finished patting an ointment upon the last bruise; sitting back on his heels to look at Naruto as the boy tentatively touched the bandages with a curiosity he shouldn't have--especially if anyone else had ever wrapped his wounds.
He turned slightly at a sound near the door, watching as Zabuza moved from his leaning position. The bulk of his form moved though the shadows of the quiet room, approaching the suddenly defensive Naruto; his blue eyes squinted to hide that dead light and his form hunched to protect himself from blows.
Zabuza rolled his eyes to the heavens, Haku smiling a he noticed the look--the one where Zabuza cursed the ignorant masses and then asked the gods for a reason he had to deal with all the consequences…the little children that were lost and dead but going on and on and on…
He knelt in front of the blond, blue eyes opening with surprise to stare at the large form so bewilderingly close.
Zabuza sighed and then eased into a more comfortable position. "So kid, what do you dream of?"
Haku giggled behind his hand as he walked beside Zabuza. The blond they were now well acquainted with was bouncing about as he talked and asked questions--only pausing when his eyes caught something in the profuse nature around them, then he would tilt his head with his wide inquisitive blue eyes before he was off asking questions again. Haku thought he was like a little puppy, all big eyes and attention seeking antics.
Zabuza sighed and caught the boy by the scruff of his shirt when he attempted to dart past again, his narrow eyes looking at them with a glaring pout as he crossed his arms over his bright jacket and huffed. Haku covered his giggle, though Zabuza still gave him a dry look. "Calm down brat, tell us about Konoha." He grimaced as he and Haku watched Naruto light up even more, his eyes impossibly bright before he was suddenly out of the grip Zabuza had on him and jumping about excitedly as if he'd never been interrupted.
"It's great! We have these great big trees and an awesome hot spring, but the better one is behind the mountain off a trail! And there is this Old man Ramen--he makes the best and always gives me extra naruto!" He grinned cheekily, his eyes crinkling with his whisker marks.
Haku laughed and paced himself closer to the comforting form of Zabuza. Watching the boy excitedly yell out all the virtues of his little shinobi town--Haku fell in love with the Konoha Naruto talked about.
Zabuza narrowed his eyes as he caught Hatake sending the blond boy a judging glance, as if wondering how the things he said could be true. But they were true--at least to the boy. But for the man to doubt the truth behind the boys yammering invited an entirely different set of circumstances for Zabuza to contemplate. He snarled and returned his attention to the sunshine currently bouncing at his elbow, talking about the little girl who worked with her mom in the bakery and always ended up covered in flour and giggling. Haku laughed along easily, and Naruto lit up even more as they paid attention to him and enjoyed what he was sharing.
Zabuza sighed as they continued walking, looking ahead to see the pink girl giving them odd looks while fawning over the Uchiha, the jounin seemingly engrossed in his hentai book. The gates suddenly loomed from the forest trees, breaking out from towering trees that had hidden the fortification until they were closer then 500 yards. He felt brief respect for the creator of such powerful looking landmarks, the security tight as they were checked in with the standing guard and given an extra escort (and others hidden, though not as well as they could be). It was as if the riches of a whole different world were suddenly theirs to experience--streets with all the bustling, living, chaos that healthy towns were.
If only kiri could have been like this.
But instead he had been born into a town with a corrupt government, kirinogakure harsh on their shinobi even as they sent them on suicide missions--failure meant you would lose your life (even if that life was lost upon returning him to report--you never dishonored the village). For the mist and the water, lands closely related due to their trade relations and their necessary alliance against the power nations, the corruption was two fold. Foreign dignitaries and lords had power over your life--they didn't even know you, you didn't work for them.
Konohagakure seemed to have none of that; no corruption with governments allied against soldiers or secretly plotting each others' demise, no scum hiding around the corner ready to kidnap your children or steal whatever you held precious, no dilapidated buildings ready to collapse on the street rats using them for refuge, and no shinobi looking at each other with the predatory patience of one who knew they were soon to kill the other.
But then, as he walked in the curious but not hostile gazes of the villagers and off duty ninjas…he got to see their eyes as they landed on the blond bouncing along beside them, those blue eyes squeezed shut even as a smile showcased all his front teeth in a blinding, grimacing display.
Cold disdain curled into civilian eyes, hands clenching before eyes were forced away with the disgust they couldn't deal with while others kept their faces blank and focused on the others in their procession. Shinobi looked on blankly, smiles at the corner of their lips as if asking themselves whether to snicker at the dunce or sneer at the pathetic waste of life presented in orange. Only some looked on with sadness, but even then their eyes slid away in shameful reluctance.
Zabuza growled and stalked forward, glad that Haku was at his side and protected from the actions of the village should they attempt to try anything. The blonde was roughly pulled to him by the scruff of his jacket, his eyes blinking open--bright and burning with the need to prove to these people who doubted his existence that he was human and special. Those eyes stared up in confusion before Zabuza sighed and placed him firmly at his side. "Walk with us."
And he did.
Zabuza once again praised his insistence about covering his face, it hid his glowering smirk from the confused populace and the curious jounin. He did not want to blow this opportunity with a threatening gesture. But he couldn't hold back--he didn't know how the blond child could happily exclaim about the people who were now glaring at him and shifting away...
Fine--if they were going to be demons, they'd be demons.
But to each other; they'd be more than that, more than mirrors reflected.
As I said at the top the lovable Evil Genus asked to write out this story to a wonderfully chapter-full continuation. I think she's doing a wonderful job on "Reflections of Demons" so please check it out and leave her a review!
Edited September 23, 2008. By UkK/CM
Edited (again) November 11, 2008.