Hey! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! This is my little gift but since I'm not that good at fluff I wrote an angst story.. -blushes- Hope you enjoy it. Characters aren't mine.

Like A Phoenix, From The Ashes We Shall Reborn

It was before a year but it felt as if a lifetime had passed. Haku still remembered that day, the day he died. He remembered throwing himself in the way of the raikiri. People say that when you face the death your whole life goes in front of you like a film reel. But it hadn't been like that for him. His mind had been blank, the desperate prayers "No! Not him. Please, anything but him" repeating over and over. He hadn't even been aware he had moved before the raikiri hit him. If he had had some energy he would had smiled. Of course, he knew what was going to happen to him- he had been given an one way ticket to hell the moment he met Zabuza.

There were so many reasons for that. The most trivial- he had killed more people than some met in their whole life. And then there was his love, the mad devotion, he felt for his master, another male. He knew that it was pointless, he was just a tool for the older man and when he broke he was just going to be replaced.

But still as he was falling to the ground he couldn't help but being happy. He had repaid his master- not entirely, he knew he can never do that, after all the man had picked him off the street, he had saved his life, had trained him and made his existence mean something. He had given him a reason to live- to protect the only one who mattered for him.

The next time he came around he was in a room. He was lying in a soft bed, covered with a few blankets. It was so warm that for a second he thought he was in Hell. But then he smelled that wonderful scent, a mixture of herbs and flowers, that he loved so much. There couldn't be any plants in Hell, right? He felt someone squeeze his hand and looked at his right. There on a chair was peacefully sleeping Zabuza, his hand gripping tightly Haku's. The raven closed his eyes, willing the dream to go away. Because that hurt way too much. He even preferred his worst nightmare. It was one thing to watch the person you love die and entirely different to see what you can never have. But after all Hell was about torturing, wasn't it.

Later on he found out that it wasn't a dream. It wasn't Hell... pretty far from it actually. The day when they fought against the Konoha ninja Haku, the orphan, Momochi Zabuza's weapon had really died. And had reborned as Haku, the shy boy living in the wood with his friend, considered by most as his boyfriend, Zabuza. They had started anew. His master found a job in the town, not so profitable as killing but enough for them not to starve. Haku, on the other hand was making potions for the local shinobi. It was so ironically that sometimes while brewing the potion he would start laughing so hard that his master would burst into the room with a worried look and ask what had happened.

The things between him and Zabuza were almost like before. Now, of course they were closer, the knowledge that they won't be putting their lives on risk tomorrow making them brighter and more opened up. But that was it. Despite the whole village, that thought they were lovers, they were nothing but... two people forced to stick to each other, because they had no one else. And no matter how hurtful even the though was Haku knew that someday his master would find himself a girl and he won't need him anymore. But til then he was going to enjoy the fake closeness.

But something was preventing him to do it. At first he thought it was harmless- Zabuza had started drinking a little, it wasn't that big of a deal. After all what ninja could easily get over the fact that 3 genin and their mentor had almost killed them and their partner. But then it became more serious, the amount of alcohol increased. Haku started thinkin that there was something more bothering the spiky-haired man but he couldn't dare ask him. So he didn't say anything when his master started coming home at ungodly hours, so drunk that he couldn't walk straight.

That was the reason why he was still up now- he was waiting for Zabuza to return so he could put him to bed and go to sleep not worrying for the older man. He glanced at the clock and groaned when he saw that it was two in the morning. At least tomorrow his master had the day off so he would be able to spend the day in bed. And Haku would make him soup, the only thing that seemed to work on him against hangover.

Haku heard the door being unlocked and he nearly had to force himself not to burst out of the room and jump on the intruder. The worst thing he could do- break some poor thief's neck. Because no matter how drunk Zabuza was still able to defend himself perfectly and no one, not even Haku could harm him. Seconds later Zabuza came into the small bedroom, wobbling. Haku jumped out of the bed, yes, they were sharing a bed because the room and the house in general was too small for 2 beds and.. well, no one had been complaining, and hurried to help him. He made him sit on the bed and proceeded to take of his shoes.

"You are here" wispered the older man, looking him with glazed eyes. Haku looked at him confusedly. It was the first time Zabuza said anything while drunk.

"Of course I'm here. I'm never gonna leave you, remember" the long-haired boy smiled. It was a promise he had made to his master when he had been a kid. They had never mentioned it before. God, he hoped Zabuza didn't remember their conversation in the morning.

Zabuza reached out and cupped Haku's cheek. He rubbed his thumb over the pure white skin and then brought their faces closer. Then the older man leaned in and rested his forehead on the younger boy's one. He closed his eyes, while Haku's were still wide open. The long-haired boy's heart was thumping in his chest and his mind was slowly going blank. Was his master going to kiss him? Would it be appropriate for him to lean in and connect his lips with the older one's.

"I see you" suddenly said Zabuza, his hot breath ghosting over Haku's mouth and sending shivers down his spine. But Haku tried to stay concentrated, what his master was going to tell him seemed important "Every time I close my eyes I see you. Bloody and dying. Because of me" a tear slid down his cheek and Haku gasped. His heart clenched when he realized that the older man was sad because of him. Now everything made sense- the drinking, the coming home late, the nightmares. How come he didn't figure it sooner? Nothing more simple- he didn't think Zabuza cared "And I keep thinking what if I hadn't saved you. What if I hadn't managed to bring you to the local doctor and you had died because of me..."

"When I thought that live was slipping out of me I couldn't be more happy" Haku said in a soft voice, almost a whisper. His own eyes welling up with tears, threatening to slide down and embrace Zabuza's "At that moment I knew that it was meant to be that way. You had saved my life, it was only fair for me to give it for you. It was yours for years, anyway. There is no better way to die"

"There is! With me, when we both grow old and grumpy. When our previous life become just a distant memory, a faded away nightmare" Zabuza opened his eyes and brought Haku closer, placing the knelt down boy between his parted legs. His gaze was still fogged and the younger forced himself to think straight. His master was drunk and that obviously made him over affectioned. But before he could stop Zabuza from doing something he would regret in the morning the older man held him close and told him things he thought he would never hear from him

"That day, I thought you were dead and suddenly everything was blank. Life, death.. I didn't care, you were gone and I was going to follow you.. I wanted to. And as I was lying there, watching you face and knowing that would be the last thing I see I realized I loved you. You don't know what you've got before it's gone, right? Then I was given a second chance, a new life with you. Alas, I was too afraid to tell you. What if you left me, disgusted by my feelings. Or worse, if you thought that it was your duty to please me and..." the older man shook his head, grimacing. However, when his gaze met Haku's his eyes softened. He took the younger's hand and squeezed it lightly "But now I'm not afraid. There is nothing wrong with my feelings, I realize it now. There are as pure and innocent as you, Haku. You deserve to know that I love you. And if it disgust you I'll never bring the subject again but I'll never stop feeling that way, either."

When Haku remained silent, too shocked to even open his mouth, Zabuza sighed and cracked a forced smile "I understand. Just one more thing" he leaned down and connected their lips. The kiss was light, just a pair ot wet lips sliding over suddenly dry ones, but it still managed to steal the lond-haired male's breath. Seconds later, when they separeted, Zabuza got up and quickly started undressing. When he finished he quetly went to bed

"Are you coming?" he asked, voice tired, as he was pulling the covers up.

"Let's continue the conversation tomorrow when you are sober, okay?" tried to fix the situation Haku. He wasn't willing to risk getting beaten the next day when his master was thinking straight but his heart clenched when he saw the expression on the older man's face. Zabuza nodded, turned away and pretended to sleep. Haku silently got in the bed and faced his master's back. He wrapped his arms around the man and fell asleep, surrounded by the his scent. He did this without thinking, lead by an instinct as strong as the one making the mother protect her child.

In the morning Haku woke up warm and refreshed. Almost instantly he realized he couldn't breath and that he was squashed against Zabuza's chest. He tried to squirm out of his master's hold but in vain, the older man was holding him too tight. The haze from the waking up cleared away and the boy froze... Was he in Zabuza's arms... head resting on his chest.. the other man's hand entwined in his locks? He looked up, trying not to panic and praying Zabuza was still asleep. Unfortunately the man was not only awake but watching him with a look in his eyes that clearly said he was expecting something from Haku. The boy tried to say something, anything but it was too hard to concentrate while being so close to the one he loved for years, feeling his heat. Zabuza caught his hair in a firm but not forceful grasp and tilted his head so he could look him in the eye. The seriousness in his eyes made Haku tremble.

"I'm sober and I still want the things I told you about last night. I wasn't planing to tell you like that but what is done is done. Are we going to talk now?"

Haku's eyes widened comically. So it was true? Zabuza loved him for real! His lips formed such a big smile that it actually hurt. He shook his head, no, he didn't want to talk, there was nothing they had to discuss, everything was perfect, and kissed the older man. Zabuza didn't react for 5 whole seconds before he returned the kiss with hunger. But with time it became less passionate and more gentle, until all they did was kissing lightly on the lips.

"Are you sure? You aren't doing this for me, are you?"asked the older man, concern filling his usually dull eyes. For just a few hours Haku had seen so many emotions on his face and his heart fluttered when he remembered that they were all for him. Sadness, love, anticipation and worry.. feelings only for him to observe.

"Of course, I'm doing this for you. Of course I want you to be happy. But I'm not doing it because I think that it's my duty. My one and only reason is that I love you" he smiled when Zabuza obviously relaxed and then giggled when he showered his face and neck with light kisses

"Why didn't you tell me sooner?" his master suddenly asked and looked at him

"Same reason you didn't" Haku looked at his hands, guilt washing through him "Too afraid" Stupid! If he had realized it sooner they would had been together months ago. And more importantly Zabuza wouldn't had been suffering

"Not again" Zabuza toom Haku's hands, making him look at him "Never be afraid of me" he whispered, leaning for another kiss.

The younger opened his mouth and eagerly returned the kiss. It was slow and gentle, Zabuza's hot tongue moving in and out and stroking all his sensitive places in steady rhythm, and it seemed to go forever. He barely registered something toying with the buttons of his shirt and realized it with a pant only when cold air hit his chest. Zabuza's big hand caressed his skin and he gasped again, this time from the heat that spread in his body caused by the mere contact. The palm ran across his nipples, barely touching the buds, and headed to his stomach. From then it went to the younger's arms, to his back. For some it might had been stupid but for Haku it was sacred. 'Like a ritual' the long-haired male thought as his own hands explored Zabuza's exposed skin. His cock was so hard it hurt. It was weird how his master was able to relax him and arouse him in the same time. Zabuza broke the kiss and leaned to whisper in his ear.

"I'm gonna show you there is nothing to be afraid of" his hand ghosted over Haku's member sending little jolts of please though his whole body and it was the only thing that the younger needed to come undone. He moaned loudly and clutched at his lover's shirt as pleasure washed through him on waves. The first thing he realized when he came down from his high was that Zabuza had been whispering in his ear the whole time. The second was that he had just came in his pants! He blushed when he remembered how intense was his orgasm, just from a brush across his member. But, well, that was the first time someone had touched him intimately and after all it was the one he had always dreamed about doing the touching.

"I'm sorry" he wispered and looked at Zabuza. Hazzy eyes met amused one's and he found himself in even tighter embrace than the one he had woken in this morning.

"Don't worry. We have time... an entire lifetime"