Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Naruto Shippuden. I do not own any characters, ideas, or any franchise that is clearly already owned by the producers of Naruto. Common sense, people.

Heaven or Hell

Hell was full of snow.

Zabuza had never thought of this. He truly believed every word he told Gatou. Hell should be dark and cursed looking and evil. It should be filled with hellfire and demons of all shapes and sizes. He should be burning, suffering, in pain. Something. And he deserved to be in a place like that. His life had been nothing but one long murder spree.

First, as a rookie, when he'd been forced to kill defenseless people as practice. Then, as a genin, he'd had to kill everyone else in his class or be killed. His chuunin exams had only raised his body count and as a jounin, he'd topped the hundreds. That wasn't even to mention his time as one of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist. His brief debut there had pushed him over into the thousands.

Zabuza's hands were stained, sullied, corroded with the blood of his victims. He didn't have the pure soul Haku had and he was definitely no innocent.

But through it all, his worst crime had been Haku. Staining Haku had to be his greatest sin. Bright, beautiful, pure Haku. Oh, yes. Zabuza deserved the deepest pit of hell for that.


Where was he? Surely this couldn't be hell. It was too bright, too sunny, too serene. The grassy plain was filled with winter flowers and covered in unbroken snow. Snowflakes and snow flurries gently floated down from the gray sky.

Zabuza's upper lip curled in disgust. What kind of hell was this? Zabuza had killed hundreds, thousands!

"Is this how hell treats a murderer of thousands?!" he demanded angrily.

Someone was in the distance.

Zabuza geared for a fight. Was it an enemy? His tormentor? It didn't matter, he was going to fight this, barehanded if he had to. "That's more like it," he growled.

At first, Zabuza didn't recognize him. Then he got closer…and Zabuza would know that pink kimono anywhere.

A wordless cry left Zabuza's mouth. Then, a rasp, "Haku!"

But…he was in Hell! Hell was for the wicked and evil, like him! Haku was–Haku was everything pure and good, the only purity and goodness Zabuza had ever known. He was sweet and kind and precious. Why was Haku in Hell?

No! This was Zabuza's fault. He'd sullied him, ruined him. Couldn't Zabuza shoulder Haku's sins? Couldn't he carry that weight? Couldn't Haku be let into heaven?

"Haku, I'm…" Zabuza choked on it. He'd never ever said the words before. "I'm sorry." And he was, but the words were acid in his throat. "This is my fault. You should have…gone to heaven."


Haku was smiling. Haku wouldn't be smiling in Hell. Haku didn't smile in serious situations. The boy knew better, Zabuza had taught the boy better. Did that mean they weren't in Hell? Zabuza looked around again. It was too peaceful and quiet, just like he thought. So were they in heaven? Where Haku belonged?

Zabuza stepped forward, speechless.

"Zabuza-san," Haku said first.

"Haku," Zabuza managed, trying to regain his bearings. "How…Where…" Haku waited as patiently as he ever did for a command, with the same look of adoration he always had. The sweet smile and falling snow was too nostalgic for Zabuza's taste. "What is this–" accursed "–place?"

Haku tilted his head curiously.

"Is this heaven? Or hell?" Zabuza clarified. Haku smiled wider.

"Does it matter?" he asked.

Zabuza stared, nonplussed. Well if he put it like that…no. Because they were still dead. Of that, Zabuza was certain. That's what the strange weightlessness meant. They might not be in heaven, but they weren't in Hell. If he were alone, that wasn't okay. It was an insult. But if he was with Haku, it was fine for him.

"Ne, Zabuza-san? Do you think our sins were weighted together?" Haku asked with his ever-present curiosity. "Maybe our good balanced out our evil?"

Zabuza snorted. More like Haku's good balanced them both.

"Didn't you hear me? It doesn't matter," Zabuza said sternly.

"Hai," Haku said, but he thought about it for another minute or two before dismissing it. Then, he lifted a finger and pointed onward to a glowing light. "Shall we go?"

Zabuza hesitated.

He didn't want to go to heaven or anywhere as bright as that. He was a demon of the mist, damn it, and he was proud of it. Demons didn't go to heaven, they languished in hell. But Haku was smiling at him and waiting, and Zabuza knew if he didn't go Haku wouldn't either. And Haku actually deserved heaven. So he swallowed and started forward. Haku followed beside him, as he knew he would. At the light, he glanced at Haku in a moment of doubt and almost didn't continue, but the kid had the purest smile on his face…

"Together?" Haku asked, equal parts eager and happy. Zabuza didn't answer but when he didn't disparage the boy, Haku gripped his forearm. Impulsively, he said, "In the next life, I hope we meet again, Zabuza-san. I hope I can be of more use to you."

"You already were," he muttered.

Zabuza pulled Haku into the light with him.