Disclaimer: I do not own the copyright or any other associated rights to Naruto. I also don't make any money from Naruto.
Zabuza knew he was dying. The wounds he sustained were severe. Only a qualified medic-nin could heal him. The village didn't even have doctors, let alone medic-nins. After all, the doctors, educated and prosperous as they are were the first to leave the dying village when Gato began his reign.
Thankfully, he had pushed Haku out of way so the young boy didn't take the full brunt of Kakashi's jutsu. He and Zabuza had been injured but Haku's wound was paltry compared to his. The boy would survive long enough to get aid. He wouldn't be so lucky.
Zabuza turned and looked at Haku. Horror and fear shined in his gaze. Haku knew he was dying. Not like he could hide it with the gaping hole in his chest. "You've done well, Haku. You've been a great tool for me, but-" He paused unsure what to say. Thankfully, Gato chose that moment to show up.
High pitched laughter brought by sadistic glee filled the air. Zabuza turned to see Gato standing in the middle of a large group of mercenaries. "Just look at you, Zabuza. Seems like the Demon of the Mist wasn't so tough. You got defeated by a brunch of tree-hugging brats." He turned and looked at Haku. "You and your useless brat!"
The group behind him laughed, mocking the hurt duo.
"Good thing you failed, not that I was planning on paying you anyway." Gato strode forward. "As soon as these men are done with you all I'm going to turn in your heads for the bounties."
Zabuza straightened at those words. So the slime was never planning on paying him huh? He glanced at Kakashi. "Seems like my employer has betrayed me. Our conflict no longer exists."
Kakashi nodded his head in agreement and then glanced back at the approaching group of mercenaries. "What are we going to do about them?" he asked.
Zabuza grinned, flashing his sharp teeth. "What we do best." He sought out the gaze of the blonde kid. "Hey, let me borrow one of your kunai."
The kid jerked, no doubt surprised that he was speaking to him and so politely. At least it was polite for him.
"Yeah, sure." He threw him one. Zabuza easily caught it but the act pulled on his torn shoulder. He grimaced, but worked past the pain. He was bleeding heavily, but he wasn't too hurt to take out some mercs.
"Show those villagers why they shouldn't oppose Gato," the little wormed yelled to his men. The group cried out, pleased with the thought of ransacking the village and moved forward.
"Master Zabuza?" Haku cried out.
"Haku, you've been a good boy, but I want you to sit this one out."
"Don't make me repeat myself, Haku."
He went silent but Zabuza could see the protest in his gaze. He ignored it and turned to Kakashi. "I'll take of Gato. You deal with the mercs. I'll join you when I finish him." Kakashi nodded and tightened his grip on his kunai. Zabuza ran forward, moving past the few men in his way until he reached the little businessman. Gato screamed and demanded that his bodyguards take care of Zabuza, but they barely slowed the injured Demon of the Mist. In no time Zabuza reached Gato and sliced his head off.
The head hit the bridge and time seemed to stop. The gathered men looked at it in surprise and anger. "You killed our meal ticket. Damn you. Kill him. Kill them all," one of them yelled and the others immediately obeyed rushing to cross the bridge and take their anger out on the townspeople.
Zabuza went to meet them but he wasn't the only one. Kakashi and the blond were with him. Actually several copies of the blond were with them. He mentally smiled at the thought. The blond was something. No doubt he would get his own name in the bingo books in a few years. He would have liked to see that.
The men stopped when an arrow landed in front of their leader. A crowd of armed villagers stood on the other side of the bridge, preventing anyone from passing. In front of them was the bridge builder's grandson. "A hero always arrives at the last moment," he said.
With a flash of a wicked grin, Zabuza ran forward determined to take out as many mercenaries as he could while he lived. One by one the men fell to their kunai until not one of them stood to threaten the village. Exhausted and finally feeling the seriousness of his wound, Zabuza looked around him. The villagers were just starting to celebrate Gato's defeat. He'd set things right. Almost. "Haku," he called.
"Yes." The boy appeared before him, body tight with tension.
"I'm sorry, Haku for making you think you were no better than a tool." He paused to take in a deep breath. It was getting hard to get air in his lungs and to keep standing. "I'm dying," he admitted.
Haku's grave face became stricken. "No," he cried out.
Zabuza's jaw tightened and he shook his head. "There is no point in lying to you, Haku. I am dying. This is not the kind of wound you can heal. Hell, even a medic-nin would have a hard time with this. As your master, I have a last request, two requests actually. "
"Yes, Master Zabuza."
"I want you to take everything I own, including my sword. It is yours to do with. Do not bury it with me. I want you to have it. Find another swordsman to wield it or pass it on to your family. Do what you will with it, but do something with it. You're my legacy. You've earned my blade."
"Good." He placed his hand on Haku's shoulder, trying to convey the importance of his next request. "I want you to live your life. Find your own dream and work toward it, let no one take it away from you. Let no one stand in your way."
Haku stared at him in utter shock. Zabuza couldn't help laughing at that. "Promise me, Haku."
"I promise, Master. I will allow no one to stand in the way of my dream."
"Good boy." He turned to Kakashi. "I want you to take the boy with you to the Leaf. He deserves a nice home. The Leaf would suit him." Kakashi glanced at Haku before speaking. "I'll make sure he's taken care of, even if it is not at the Leaf."
"Thanks." Zabuza knew that was a lot more than he deserved. He turned back to the young before him. "Haku, I'm proud of you. You've been like a son to me. I might to have been the best father, but know this, I cared for you and always will." With those words Zabuza felt the last of his strength leave him. He closed his eyes and allowed the exhaustion to overtake him. From seemingly faraway he heard Haku screaming his name.
I hope the devil is ready for me, was his last thought.