Categories > Anime/Manga > Naruto > A Moment Too Late

A Moment Too Late

by Vegas 1 Reviews

"You...killed Zabuza." Now was the perfect time to exact my revenge. "He was the only one who ever helped me. He saved me, and you killed him. The one most precious to me...How would you feel if I ...

Category: Naruto - Rating: PG - Genres: Angst - Characters: Other - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2006/05/22 - Updated: 2006/05/23 - 2245 words - Complete

Author's Note: This is for all the Haku fans. If he hadn't have died, do you think he would've truly been able to live?

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"Please...Kill me, Naruto." I said quietly, looking up into the blonde boy's frightened eyes. He looked shocked, maybe even revolted, but he would have to kill eventually to become Hokage. It might as well be now, when he probably wouldn't die if he didn't kill. He still hesitated. "Please, Naruto, kill me. I'm of no use to Zabuza since I've failed...don't you want to avenge your friend's death?" I pleaded.
The boy still hesitated. He didn't understand. I had failed Zabuza; I wasn't worth anything to him anymore. It was a horrible feeling, to be worthless, so I wanted the pain to go away. And I might as well help this boy with his dream if my own one failed. Helping his along, while destroying the other boy's dream...was this some sort of sick karma?
"Naruto...please..." I begged. He took a step back. I feared he wouldn't help me, that I would have to take matters into my own hands. But he dropped his head, nodding very slightly. Relief washed over me. "Naruto...thank you..." I breathed, although he couldn't hear me.
He slowly took out a kunai, tilting back his head to look at me as he took more of a fighting stance. I smiled weakly, tears stinging my eyes. He charged at me, his eyes full of contrition, but also a twisted kind of determination. "Thank you, Naruto." I said, so he would hear.
He let out a battle cry as he charged, swinging back his arm to strike. Something suddenly itched at the back of my mind, but I brushed it aside and prepared myself for the sweet embrace of death. The itch became more of a fierce poke, and I realized what it was. My sixth sense told me Zabuza was in trouble.
I had to stop Naruto's attack just before it hit. "I'm sorry, Naruto, but I can't die yet..." That's what I meant to say. I barely had time to spit out 'I'm sorry' before his other hand came over and punched me in the jaw. Unprepared as I was, and unable to protect myself from the unexpected attack, it was a solid blow. I flew to the right of him several feet, skidding to a stop. Scrambling back up, I shouted, "Please, Naruto, I'm sorry, but I can't die yet!" before disappearing after the completion of my hand signs.
I was too late. The Copy Ninja was standing, fist crackling with pure energy, with his arm thrust through Zabuza's chest. Blood was everywhere. Kakashi's hellhounds were disappearing in puffs of smoke, as Zabuza's beloved sword dropped to the ground with an ear-jarring clang. The silver-haired ninja yanked his hand out of my master's body, without grace or finesse. I stood, horror-struck, as Kakashi let go of his shoulder, letting him fall back to the ground. Poor Zabuza's face was twisted into a mixture of shock and a sense of impending doom, but still managed to retain the peaceful quality Death gives to his children.
The Copy Ninja turned to stare at me. His face held no remorse or sorrow, but there might've been a hint of shock at the fact that I would've come to Zabuza's rescue, had I been given the chance. "Haku." He said my name, almost making me jump. I turned to stare at him, after glancing at my fallen master, resisting the urge to bite my bottom lip.
At that moment, Naruto came running up. He looked from his sensei's bloody hand, to my horrified expression, to Zabuza's sword, then to his bloody body. "Kakashi-sensei...you...killed him?"
"Yes, Naruto." was all the Copy Ninja said. I almost snarled at him. How dare he not show some sort of contrition, or at least be proud of the fact that he had managed to kill the Zabuza, Demon of the Hidden Mist. That low, monkey-mouthed ninja with his stupid eye with it's fake tricks, with his flea-ridden hellhounds didn't act sorry, proud, happy, or even sad at the fact that Zabuza was now dead. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Naruto take a step back. In the reflection of his hitai-ate, I saw a pair of my crystal ice mirrors behind me.
Yes, that would be perfect. I would exact my revenge on that mirror-ninja. For the moment, my life had a purpose again.
"Haku, don't." Kakashi said quietly, reaching up to pull his hitai-ate back over his Sharingan. "Zabuza is dead; I have no wish to fight you now as well."
All three of us stopped, though, when that pink-haired kunoichi shouted over to us as the mist cleared. It was apparent that she had slipped all of our minds, as well as that bridge builder. Perhaps I should kill him as well; it was Zabuza's mission to.
"Naruto! You made it!" That girl shouted, smiling as she waved over to him. "Where's Sasuke?"
I saw, with the slightest note of regret, Naruto turn away. Tears were welling up in his eyes, almost threatening to come into mine as I remembered that black-haired ninja. He was strong, fast, smart and could think on his feet. He almost reminded me of me...
"Naruto? Where's Sasuke?" Sakura (I think that was her name...) repeated, this time looking a bit more concerned.
Kakashi looked somewhat alarmed. He scanned the scene, looking for his other student. He spotted the boy laying on the ground behind Naruto and I; his normal eye widened slightly. Sakura must've noticed Naruto's expression, because she looked at the bridge builder. He said something to her, she nodded, took his hand, and ran over to us.
Naruto didn't look at her, but he heard her gasp as she saw the Uchiha's corpse back where my original ice mirrors were. The blonde ninja looked away as she ran past him, still holding the bride builder's hand. The Copy Ninja, Naruto and I all stared down at the ground as we heard some quiet talking, then loud sobbing. That girl clearly loved that boy, and I regretted having to fight him. I didn't regret killing him; it was Zabuza's wish that I did. I just regretted fighting him.
"Well, well, Zabuza is dead." My head snapped up; that was Gateau's voice. Kakashi and Naruto both looked over as well. There was a large crowd of people behind Gateau, looking like they weren't ninja. As long as they weren't ninja, they were no threat. "I suppose it turned out better this way. We were going to kill him anyway."
This time, I actually did snarl. Naruto looked alarmed, but Kakashi was still staring mildly at Gateau and his thugs. Sakura still sobbed behind us, either oblivious or not caring about the current situation.
"Hm, but it looks like that brat is still alive." Gateau tilted his head back, glaring at me. "I don't forgive you, kid. You nearly broke my arm." He held up his bandaged arm, while behind him, two samurai grinned and put this hands on the hilts of their blades.
"Not so fast!" Behind us, another voice called out. Naruto looked overjoyed, but I looked somewhat disappointed that it was a mere child speaking. Behind him, however, stood most of the men of the village. "You can't take over our country without fighting every one of us for it!"
A child with a crossbow, and a small crowd of non-nins. It helped, but not by much. I'd just have to even it out, then.
I allowed my beloved mirrors to melt, smirking slightly at the puddle around me they created. A quick succession of hand signs, and my ice needles appeared. I grabbed six more senben needles, three in each hand, and prepared to strike them down.
Gateau and his thugs looked somewhat alarmed, but held their ground. Beside me, however, Naruto grinned and created five more of his shadow clones. The men opposite us looked a bit more frightened.
I decided to avenge Zabuza's death, but first by taking out the desecrator who wanted him dead after using him. Gateau looked shocked as nearly all of my needle attack was devoted to him. Kakashi, even, looked surprised at the speed of my attack.
He was dead before he even blinked.
The thugs behind him looked shocked and amazed for a moment, but quickly recovered their mask. "Oh, you just killed our meal ticket! Once we kill all of you, we're going to have to ransack this whole village to pay for our compensation!" Several of them shouted, still putting on the façade of their strength.
Kakashi, however, rather than letting me or the villagers take care of them, solved the problem in a pacific way. He created several dozen shadow clones, mere illusions. Naruto and I both looked surprised; an academy student could even figure this out. But the thugs looked like they had frozen from terror.
They ran away, yelling and trampling each other in their fright, as the villagers behind us began to cheer. Why would they cheer? Couldn't they see a great ninja had fallen today?
The clones of both Kakashi and Naruto disappeared in puffs of smoke, and above the din I heard a certain kunoichi shouting. "NARUTO! SASUKE'S ALIVE!!"
The pink-haired girl came running at Naruto and Kakashi, waving her arms and grinning broadly, despite her tears. "Sasuke's alive, Sasuke's alive!!" True enough, the black-haired ninja was standing, with the help of the bridge builder, with a bored expression on his face.
How that boy managed to live was beyond me, but my conscience felt a bit clearer at this fact. I looked over at Zabuza's body, however, and my conscience was plagued by guilty thoughts. I could've saved him if I had just been quicker. I could've thrown myself between the Copy Ninja's attack and him, I could've killed the Copy Ninja with a surprise attack, I could've--
"Haku, don't blame yourself for his death." Kakashi said quietly, turning to face me. I stared coldly at him. "Yes, I killed him, but I had to. He would've killed one man, fulfilled his selfish desires, and doomed an entire nation."
"You...killed Zabuza." Now was the perfect time to exact my revenge. "He was the only one who ever helped me. He saved me, and you killed him. The one most precious to me...How would you feel if I torn away whoever was most precious to you?!" I demanded, tensing my hands to get ready for some signs.
"You can't." He said placidly.
Are you insinuating that I'm weak? "Why not?"
"Because they have all already died." This took me by surprise. Then again, I should've expected it. How else would he be able to kill so easily, enter a battle where he himself may die so easily?
"Then I'll just kill you. Like you murdered my will to live." I said, as slowly and deliberately as I could manage.
"HE was your will to live?" Naruto demanded, tactless and blunt as ever. I turned to look at him, narrowing my eyes very slightly before nodding. "That guy was a creep! Even if he did save you, now that he's gone, you're free! You can come live in Konoha with us, start a new life and forget about your past!"
What Naruto was suggesting was bizarre, unorthodox and basically unheard of. Ninja didn't just switch countries like that, and there was no one person who can forget his past.
"Naruto, I can't--"
"Naruto, that isn't allowed. Shinobi cannot just switch loyalties like that." Kakashi pointed out in a flat tone. "Plus, an hour earlier he was trying to kill both you and Sasuke."
"He...had reason to, Kakashi-sensei. Zabuza, no matter how weird it is, saved him. He was only following the one most precious to him." Naruto said quietly, smiling slightly.
I cast a cold look over to Kakashi. In his current state, I could probably beat him with relative ease. That might cause Naruto to reveal that demonic side of his, however, and I didn't feel like getting defeated twice in the same day. Of course, with Kakashi gone, I could simply take that pink-haired girl hostage, kill Naruto while he was distracted, then easily dispose of the girl and bridge builder. But...wouldn't that be accomplishing what Gateau wanted?
I was confused.
Without bragging or lying, I can easily say I am a very intelligent person. For me to be confused is no small matter. But by killing Kakashi, it would be avenging Zabuza. By killing the bridge builder, which Zabuza was trying to do, would be helping that fiend, Gateau. It was quite the dilemma. If I just killed Kakashi, however, Naruto would become that bloodthirsty demon, and I would either have to kill him or flee. I wouldn't flee; it was against my honor, and I probably couldn't escape with my condition.
But to let Kakashi go, it would be dishonoring Zabuza's memory. This was quite the conundrum.
"Zabuza..." I sunk to my knees, at a dead end. I couldn't do a thing. I couldn't avenge Zabuza without also avenging Gateau in some way. It was horrible. And I couldn't take it. "ZABUZA!!"

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Yes, it's ending there. Yes, Haku dies anyway. How? The world shall never know...(coughsuicidecough)
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