Four years later: The Land of Tea
Kiri stared hesitantly at the door in front of her. She was far from thrilled at the idea of this reunion, but she had little choice in the matter. She checked her hidden weapons discreetly before raising a gloved hand to knock on the door. A few seconds later, the door swung open.
"Thank you for coming, Kiri. Please come in."
Kiri nodded and stepped past the threshold into the large room. "I appreciate the invitation, Haku. I have to wonder what Zabuza wants from me after all these years though."
Haku said nothing, but turned toward the giant staircase to his right and motioned for her to follow. Kiri followed, checking for suspicious chakra signatures or any other traps. It seemed that after Zabuza had defected from the Mist, he'd taken on the mercenary business. Considering what she remembered of his ego, Kiri was surprised he hadn't killed of every single thug that hired him.
Haku led Kiri to a spacious room upstairs with only a cushioned loveseat on the far side of the room. Sprawling out in the loveseat was the one Zabuza Momochi. His giant sword lay against the wall within arm's reach. Kiri felt a spark of familiarity in the pit of her stomach. She hadn't seen this sword in nearly five years. She hadn't seen any of the Swordsmen's weapons for a while, but the sight of Kubikiribocho brought a rush of unwanted and extremely unwelcome memories back to the forefront of her mind.
"Kiri-san. It's been a while," the Demon drawled as Kiri stepped into his line of vision. He looked his former partner's protégé up and down. "You've grown."
"One tends to do that during a span of five years," Kiri responded sarcastically. She wasn't sure if he was referring to her growth in height or her growth in figure, as her midriff top tended to reveal the small curves she had acquired in recent years. Zabuza grunted in response.
"So what's this all about Zabuza? I'm sure you didn't call me here just to catch up for old time's sake."
Zabuza reached out for Kubikiribocho and caressed the handle of his beloved blade. Kiri nearly rolled her eyes. Granted, she was once training to be a Swordsman as well, but some of the ninja's attachment to their blades was a bit unnerving at times.
"When did you cross over?"
Kiri's eyes narrowed. Her scratched hitai-ate suddenly felt traitorous wrapped around her arm for the world to see. "Three years ago. Once I came back from the exams, I quickly excelled to Jonin rank. It didn't take long for me to be sickened by what I saw."
"Seeing is believing," muttered Zabuza.
The two missing-nin stood in silence for a moment. "You never scratched your hitai-ate," Kiri noticed aloud. Zabuza grunted.
"It was never the village itself that I opposed; only its leadership. If a new Mizukage claimed power and changed how things were, I would gladly go back and offer my services to the Mist."
Kiri nodded in understanding. Zabuza leaned forward to rest his elbows on his knees.
"But you left for other reasons, didn't you, Kiri-san?"
"I left because I no longer belonged. I didn't want to be a tool for a corrupt system," she stated emotionlessly.
"I thought you might have left to find-"
"No," Kiri's voice rang out, cold and harsh.
Zabuza's eyes narrowed. Kiri cursed herself for coming here. Why waste time on nostalgia? Zabuza knew she kept an ear out for intel on him. Not that there was any. Not that she would act on it if she did find any.
"If you don't want the information, then stop asking around for him then," Zabuza scoffed.
Kiri's heart stopped.
"You know something?" she whispered. Finally, after nearly five year, she could have a lead.
"I've heard rumors. I don't have proof, but I do have a name. That's all I can scare out of these lousy crooks around here."
"What do you want? I don't get this for free, I'm guessing."
Zabuza was quiet for a moment. Haku stood quietly in the corner, absorbing information. Kiri wondered what impossible price would be asked of her in return for this damn name.
"That's the name. No price, no strings. If you can find him, the consequences will be punishment enough for you."
Kiri's heart stopped. A name. She had a name. No more following the faintest shadow of a rumor to find dead end after dead end. She could really find him. I don't even know what I would do or say if I saw him. That didn't matter though. This was the closest she'd been in years.
"Thank you." She bowed respectfully towards the Demon. Kiri had to force herself not to sprint out the door as she left with her new-found intel of her former sensei.
Kisame finished off his shrimp and took one last sip of sake. Itachi would be meeting him soon in the small tavern so Kisame took the time to order another bottle of the alcohol.
He'd been working with the Akatsuki for a while, nearly five years. It was strange meeting his fellow members, knowing that none of them knew who really pulled the strings. Sure Pain played the part of the "leader" well, but Kisame knew better. He also knew better than to speak about it. Madara had not met with him since the night he left the Mist all those years ago.
Kisame grunted at the twinge in his stomach. He had tried so many times, but she always appeared in his head when he wanted to forget her. Remembering their last day of training together had been a nice escape at first, but as the years past it became difficult for him to remember every detail of that day. The only real memory of her that he had left was of her face- the exact hue of her hair and the wicked gleam in her eyes when she reflected his toothy grin. He covered the other memories with the blood he had shed in this criminal organization. She would be ashamed of his attempts to create this "world of truth." What he did now was no different from what he had been doing for the Mist. The only difference was Pain's vision for peace and Kisame stayed only for that vision.
The full bottle of sake being set on the table caused Kisame to be pulled out from his musings. He glanced up at the waitress and nodded thanks. As she asked him if he would like anything else, Kisame examined her hair and thought how dull of a brown it was. Her golden eyes were too soft, and he could easily sense her lack of fire. He shook his head and waved her off. At 26 years, Kisame was at the age most men celebrated their bachelor years. As a rogue-ninja, there were plenty of harlots and sluts who would charge more than a pretty penny for the less-than desirable fellas.
Kisame was picky. That woman was too thin, the other was too curvy. She was a blonde and that was never something Kisame could stand. She wouldn't have the stamina. This one was too submissive. He'd screwed a ginger ex-kunoichi last year, and despite her being a hell of a time, he left before she could doze off.
To be honest, he got off on fighting much more than sex and that was enough for him for now.
Kisame noticed his partner walk through the entrance. As he waved Itachi over, he immersed himself back into the world of the Akatsuki, where he asked no questions and where chestnut hair held no significance to him.