It seemed that Mother Irony truly loved meddling with his life.

He would never have thought of her that way before- and suddenly, one morning at Ichiraku he looked at her and had to repress a smile.

He had never thought of his partner that way. Never.

Sure, maybe during practice every once in a while he'd notice her skin on his, or the way her eyes were bright and shining during a fight. But mostly, he couldn't get rid of the memory of a useless little girl. He despised weakness, and back in the day she was the definition of it.

But she had changed now, thanks to him, her own will, and the Hokage.

She had asked for Tsunade to train her, and the Hokage had trained her in taijutsu and various healing jutsu, but he was the one who gave Sakura her skill in genjutsu and ninjutsu. As part of his probation period (To make sure he was not still loyal to Kiri and would devote himself to being a Leaf nin) he had to tutor her in the various arts of the shinobi. She was an eager student, but there was one bizarre concept he couldn't beat out of her. Hatake, despite being an inadequate teacher, had made an impression on the girl. Her teammates above all else, even the objective. She told him firmly once. This probably came from her silly idea of riding off into the sunset with the kyuubi kid and bringing the Uchiha back none the worse. She entertained these foolhardy fantasies instead of focusing on the important, like the village and


her own well being. She would train until she dropped, chakra depleted and body covered in wounds from his blade. The next day she would come back, smiling, cuts turned into scabs and bruises of every color on her skin, like a walking canvas. The only thing keeping her going was pure will power.


"We're gonna do something different today."

The pink haired girl widened her eyes slightly. "What, Zabuza-sensei?"

He smirked. "I'm going to use Kirigakure no Jutsu again, like last week. But today, you're going to use ear plugs. You're good at using your ears and eyes, but sometimes you can't rely on either. I'm going to hide my chakra signature too. You'll have to find me by instinct. You can throw shuirken or kunai, but no jutsu. Got it?"

Sakura nodded.

Zabuza handed her the ear plugs and she put them in her ears quickly, trying to hold in a grin.

He started making quick hand signs. Then he waved his hand in a 'go get em' fashion and teleported a few yards behind her, watching.

The mist started creeping in steadily, wrapping itself around the training field like a white satin glove. He watched Sakura look around for a dark patch resembling him, went left, and ran into a tree. He resisted the urge to laugh at his blinded student and settled for a small grin.

She bumbled around for a bit more by the trees and finally made it to the grass. By this time Zabuza was bored and started wondering what he was going to have for dinner. He didn't really feel like eating, but alcohol always went down better with some barbeque. His thoughts were broken when a rock came scarcely a yard from hitting him. He scratched his head and dodged as she threw a kunai , nearly hitting his arm.

He dug out kunai and started swirling it around, putting it back five minutes later. If he went out and got dinner and came back real quick…

She walked closer to his area. He remained motionless. Most enemy shinobi wouldn't just sit there and let her play pin the tail on the donkey, but he figured he'd move around a bit tomorrow.

Sakura groped blindly a few meters in front of him, and suddenly stood still. She sniffed and walked straight towards him slowly.

Impressive. She already found him. Most ninja couldn't find their way out of this even if he held their hand. The last person who could navigate though the mist was…


She kept walking, until finally, she ran head on into him.

Sakura yelped and stumbled back.

He grabbed her roughly and pulled the ear plugs from her ears.

"Good."He ruffled her hair, just because he knew she hated it. Even though the mist he could tell she was beaming. He didn't give out praise often.

Letting go of Sakura, he banished the mist with a few hand signs. It started to recede slowly.

"You did well for a leaf shinobi."

Sakura smirked slightly.

"For a leaf shinobi." He stressed the word leaf. "What senses did you use to find me?"

"Smell." She said immediately.

He cocked an eyebrow. He used the standard issue non scented soap.

"You must use sandalwood soap or something. It was strong." She added.

"Hn. Anyway, tomorrow we'll do this again, but this time I'll move around. If I you find me before noon, we'll go to Icihraku's."

She frowned, disappointed. She obviously wanted to go again today.

"After we practice a few more times, I'll teach you the jutsu."

Her eyes widened. Zabuza was doing her a real favour, teaching her techniques from Mist. That was enough for him to get labeled a traitor and executed. But he was already a traitor anyway, so why the hell not?

"Thank you, Zabuza-sensei."

"Yeah yeah. Go home, kid,"

"Okay! Bye Sensei!" She ran off the training field, grinning like an idiot. When she must have thought she was out of earshot, he heard her yell, "Hell yeah!" and pumped her fist in the air.

He smirked and wandered off the training field in search of a Korean barbeque restaurant.


Maybe it was then that he started to slowly fall for her. Watching her train everyday, getting stronger, seeing the bright glow in her eyes. The glow that made you think she'd go though hell and back just to complete her next mission, and she'd come home dragging the devil behind her. Or, as she probably imagined it, that Uchiha bastard.

Naruto had come back, and they had found Sasuke. He attacked them, left them for Orochimaru again. Sasuke Uchiha was the missing piece in their hearts that wouldn't heal over. Every time he escaped from them, the hole would widen. Over and over this had happened, and he began to suspect they were tired of the repetitiveness. They stopped actively searching for him. He probably would come back sooner or later, they told themselves. He had to revive his clan, after all.

Which came full circle back to his situation again. He had no idea why… well, actually, he could. She was pretty. And she was one of the strongest kunoichi in all of Konoha -besides her master- and could even give him a run for his money in sparring matches. She was an ideal mate, and if he was back in Kiri she might have been wed to him, to keep the shinobi blood strong.

He gritted his teeth and stabbed at the training pole again.

That Uchiha


had came back a few weeks ago, the day Zabuza had realized (admitted) he loved her. He just waltzed in. They had been about to leave for a mission, her and him, and Sasuke, from out of nowhere had just came up to the pair. Zabuza had gotten into a defensive stance and removed his sword from his back, standing near enough to Sakura to be considered possessive. Sasuke held his hands up in the universal 'I mean no harm' gesture and walked right up to the bemused Zabuza and Sakura.

"Sakura Haruno." He said formally. Her eyes widened and she stood astonished, still and stiff. He kneeled in front of her elegantly, his face blank and empty as if he was asking her to loan him an egg whisk.

"Would you marry me?"

She didn't move her lips or give any indication with her eyes or face that she understood what he said. By the time the words might have sunk in, Zabuza, along with Izumo, Kotesu, and Genma, had grabbed the man.

Sakura still stood in place, apparently gone from the world.

Sasuke had gone without a fight, smirking lazily as they frog marched him to the Interrogation section of the prison, where he would live under Ibiki's tender care for weeks.

There had been word that he would be released soon, on parole like Zabuza had been before. Free to seduce innocent pink haired girls into becoming his baby factory.

She had no chance of answering, but Zabuza knew in his heart that she would say yes. Of course, it was Sasuke-kun!

He swung again, this time decapitating the imaginary Sasuke and ruining the practice pole.

Zabuza glanced back at the line of toppled poles, their scarred wood feeding his rage like unwanted love letters to a fire.

Unwanted love letters.

She hadn't rejected him yet. But a yes to Uchiha would be a no to him.

Damn, why does this have to be so complicated…?

No it wasn't. He realized suddenly. He asks her, she says yes, they live happily ever after. (He snorts at this thought.). She says yes to Sasuke. He kills the Uchiha and moves on.


He straightens and returns his sword to his back. He exits the training field with long strides, more of a swagger than anything else, panther-like grace and hostility coming off of him in waves. Single mindedly pushing past a jounin and an old lady with a cat, he doesn't notice the girl until she's right in front of him.

"Zabuza-sensei!" Her face is pale and tired, almost haunted. Pink hair is messy, clothes wrinkled. "Can I talk to you about something?"

Confused, he nods and she grabs his hand, dragging him behind her. Ordinarily he would have jerked his hand out of hers and smacked the back of her head, but today he is compliant, saying nothing as she drags him down the street, into an apartment complex, (The doorman looks at them knowingly and winks) up a flight of stairs and down a hallway. Releasing his hand only to grab keys from her pocket and unlock the door, which was marred with what looked like burns and cuts from a kunai. She quickly ushers him inside, mumbling apologies and 'Make yourself at homes'. When he is seated upon the couch with her across from him in a chair from the kitchen table, he gets to the point.

"What the hell?"

She smiles slightly, "Okay, sensei, you know when-"

"I'm not your sensei anymore." He interrupts. "And don't beat around the bush, just say it."

"Okay, Zabuza-san. You remember when we were at the gates the other day and-"

"The bastard proposed." His heart twists.

She looked up at him though her lashes, irritated. "Yeah. Sasuke. And…how do I say no without hurting him?"

He looked at her like she was an idiot. "You should hurt him. He was a total asshole to you and Uzumaki and you want to let him go like that? Like you're the one who's stupid, 'it's not you, it's me?"

"He'll see it that way. "I liked him when we were kids, and he thinks I still do. He'll think I'm lying, and I still want to be with him. I don't. I was so mad when he came up to me and asked like he knew my answer already! Like he knows me!" She looks down, clenching her fist. Zabuza approves.

"I thought you were still mooning after him. When did you realize this?"

"I-I don't know, honestly." She is blushing. "I just stopped thinking about him. I wasn't in love with him. It was just a stupid crush. "

He nodded. "You've grown."

"I've been thinking about it, and… I still…I think I was confusing my feelings. I think of him as a brother, like Naruto. I don't want to hurt him. "

"I think he deserves it." Zabuza leans back, putting his arms behind his head.

She continues. "I think the kindest way would be to make him think I'm seeing someone else…or actually see someone else."



"Zabuza." He yawns,

"Zabuza-san, would you…" She blushes.

Oh no. "I'm not going to date you so the bastard will leave you alone, sorry."

"What if I told you I wasn't doing it just because of Sasuke?"

"I'm listening."

She smiles. "I think I have feelings towards you…."

"Spit it out."

She sighs. "Zabuza, you're fucking gorgeous. Date me?"

"Thought you'd never ask."

A/N: This was hard. Never written Zabuza before. I didn't want to make something totally creepo and lemony for a contest… I'll do that next. :D Muhaha. But I wrote half of it two months ago, got sidetracked by my MadaSaku, and finally remembered it. I started experimenting with my style, looking at some of Stephen King's stuff.

I used:

2. Sakura x Zabuza

e. It seemed that Mother Irony truly loved meddling with his/her life.

3. Foolhardy