I'm sorry that it took so long to finish this, but here it is: The third and final chapter of A Demon's Love.
It was the same dream: burning houses, people screaming, maniacal laughter. Zabuza watched the familiar scene unfold in front of him, but there was something different. On the outskirts of the village was a single cabin on fire. He realized with horror that it was Rose's cabin.
Zabuza took off towards the cabin, buildings blazing all around him. When he got close, he began to make hand signs. He stopped several feet from the small structure and yelled, " Water style, Water Dragon Jutsu!" The enormous stream of water shot towards the flaming cabin. It made contact, but had no effect.
He growled and tried the Jutsu again. Still no use. Zabuza gave up on this and ran towards the little house. He broke down the door and looked around for Rose, but he saw no one in the tiny cabin. The heat was starting to get to him, so he ran back out.
"Rose!" he screamed when he got outside, "Rose! Rose, where are you!?" He was terrified about what had happened to her, and realized that he was still as hot as he was in the cabin. Zabuza ran towards the woods, thinking maybe she had run there for shelter, and trying to get away from the fire. Still running, he realized that he was getting hotter and hotter, despite being away from the fire.
Zabuza woke with a start to see that the house really was on fire. He looked around for Rose, but, like his dream, she was gone. Jumping up, he grabbed his sword and jumped through a nearby window. As his eyes adjusted to the flickering firelight in the darkness, the skilled ninja instantly took in everything around him. He saw four people dressed in solid black, one of which was restraining Rose by holding her arms behind her back.
"Zabuza!" Rose screamed, "run!"
Zabuza's instincts kicked in and in less than a second, he considered all of his options. He could make a dash for Rose, but the mysterious assailants might overtake him and then he, too, would be captured. If he used one of his Jutsus, they could kill Rose for his resistance, or she might be caught in the crossfire and be injured. Zabuza decided to be smart and negotiate.
"What do you want?" he asked the strangers.
"We want you dead," one of the men, who was standing on a tree limb, replied.
"I have a bit of a problem with that."
"We are Shinobi of the Hidden Tide Village, and we've been sent to kill you." This came from another man who stood closer to the still burning cabin.
"This woman was supposed to poison you," said the one who was restraining Rose. This one was female. "Apparently, she's too useless to even do that."
Zabuza stared at Rose in disbelief. "Rose...you..."
"It's not what you think!" she yelled.
"Silence," said the girl holding Rose's arms. She struck Rose in the gut, who collapsed to the ground.
"Rose!" Zabuza yelled as he took a step forward.
"Not another step," hissed the fourth Shinobi, who stood several feet directly in front of Zabuza. "Don't move, or we'll kill the woman."
"Leave Rose out of this!"
"Hey, don't blame us. If she'd just followed orders and given you the poison, then we would let her live. It's her fault that now you both have to die."
Zabuza once again thought of every possible course of action, and made a decision in the same instant. In one fluid movement, he drew a kunai from the pouch on his leg and threw it at the kunoichi standing over Rose. The kunai made a direct hit and killed the ninja as it stuck in her throat. "Water Clone Jutsu," said Zabuza. The duplicate that appeared dashed towards Rose, picked her up, and ran into the woods.
"After him!" yelled the ninja in front of Zabuza, who was obviously the group's leader. As the two other Shinobi took off towards the clone and Rose, Zabuza sent three shuriken flying towards them. One stuck in a tree, but the other two killed one of the pursuers.
"Pay attention," the last remaining man warned Zabuza. "You shouldn't be distracted by those weaklings. Even if they're killed, I can still go back to kill the girl myself after I've dealt with you."
"He he, don't kid yourself," Zabuza laughed. "You had to resort to poisoning me and trying to burn me alive. You're just a coward. You're afraid to confront me directly."
"Coward or not, I'll be a hero after I kill the Demon of the Mist." He drew a sword from a sheathe on his back, which Zabuza had failed to notice before.
Zabuza took a better grip on his sword, lifted it straight up, and stuck it point-down into the ground. "You aren't even worthy to be killed by my blade," he growled menacingly. "I'm going to kill you with my bare hands, you sneaky scum."
The attacker rushed at Zabuza with his sword raised, yelling what sounding like a war cry. Zabuza drew another kunai from his pouch, ducked, and stabbed the charging man in his stomach. The demon ninja smiled as his opponent collapsed to the ground. Too late did he hear the real ninja behind him. The sword sliced across his back, and he fell forward, seeing his foe's clone disappear.
Zabuza came to around dawn. He slowly stood up, feeling the sting of his wound. Always check to be sure your opponent's dead. Idiot ninja. He picked up the his sword, which was still in the ground next to him. He didn't even take my sword as proof. Guess I got lucky.
He walked into the woods a ways, until he reached a large tree, where the clone was supposed to take Rose. Zabuza found the young woman lying under the tree, still unconscious. He sat next to her, noticing the nearby bodies of last night's attackers. After an hour or so, Rose woke up coughing. Zabuza leaned forward and noticed she was coughing up blood.
"Rose..." Zabuza said as his intestines tightened and went cold.
"Zabu...za?" Rose said weakly.
"Don't talk, you'll only make it worse."
"Zabuza, listen," she said as she rolled over to look at him. Blood was running down the side of her mouth. "They told me you were some kind of monster. The way they described you, I thought it would be better if you were gone, but I didn't know you. You're not a monster, Zabuza. I'm..." she coughed again. "I'm sorry..."
"Rose, no." The ice blue eyes that looked up at him grew dim as Rose's body went limp. "No, no, no, no..." Zabuza shook his head as tears filled his eyes. He drew in his breath and screamed at the top of his lungs.
Leaving the fresh grave behind, Zabuza walked back in the direction of Rose's cabin. When he reached the area where the house sat, he saw that the cabin had burnt down to ashes. He had apparently not noticed it when he woke up. He continued walking for another half hour and stopped. Stretching his muscles and feeling the bandage that he had wrapped around himself tighten, he looked down the hill he was standing on at the Hidden Tide Village. Maybe some dreams do come true, he thought as he took hold of his sword.
Well I hope the wait was worth it. Please review.