A/N: Another one for tomoeish, just because she's awesome. Intentionally this short, complete, and not to be continued in any way, so don't ask.



Ain't it Grand


Zabuza had a habit of ignoring beauty.

Even so, he had to admit this place was pretty awesome. It was a forest, just an ordinary forest, but it was autumn and there were leaves falling around his shoulders like golden banners and frost on the grass and winter's bite on the air, and the sun hit all of it just right so that it burst into glittering autumn-silver glory all around him.

Haku obviously had no problems appreciating stuff like this. He stopped in the middle of the clearing and turned a slow full circle, face full of joy and wonder and so close to tears Zabuza wanted to turn away so he wouldn't have to deal with his partner being emotional and girlier than usual and so goddamn--

"Isn't it lovely?" Haku asked him, ruining his attempt at pretending he didn't notice.

Zabuza scowled. "I'll leave crap like that to you, thanks."

Haku, damn him, knew him far too well to be fooled, and caught Zabuza's hand between both of his own (slender, woman-pale, by all the--) and stepped in far too close to Zabuza's chest for comfort.

"The world is going to sleep," Haku said, as poetic as usual, his unmasked face wearing a genuine wistful smile. "Doesn't it make you feel tired?"

"Of what?" Zabuza asked shortly, unsettled by the unexpected proximity and the look in Haku's eyes.

"Fighting," came the first answer, and then the second, "running."

He shook his head adamantly, lying even to himself and knowing it. He knew what was coming, and couldn't bring himself to say no, put his hand out and stop the inexorable closing in, to do anything.

Haku curled his wool-clad arms around Zabuza's neck and pulled his face down to his level. "You're lying," he whispered, and then caught any denial Zabuza might have offered within the trap of his lips and his tongue and his sweet gentle fingers, tangled in the hair at the nape of Zabuza's neck.

Zabuza made a habit of ignoring beauty, and another of not falling in love, but it only takes twenty-eight days to break a habit and he'd been traveling with Haku for sixty-three.