Blind Man's Bluff

by BitterEloquence

Disclaimer: If I owned them would I be wasting my time writing fanfiction? Oh well, a girl can dream I suppose. le sigh.

For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.'

-John Greenleaf Whittier

Despite the way they had laughed off any uncomfortable feelings that had arisen from talking about the rumors circulating them, Izumo could sense that something had changed between them. Something small and infinitesimal had shifted and now Izumo felt like a rift had opened between them. Kotetsu still laughed and grinned with a mad sort of fierceness when they ganged up on Iruka together and teased their fellow chuunin.

His best friend suffered with him on the days when Tsunade was hung over and bitchy and they still shared meals but there was something different with Kotetsu.

Hell, there was something different with Izumo.

He'd started to have…..dreams. Confusing and hot dreams that left him frantically clutching for clues as he awoke with the memory of smooth skin and dark hair floating through his mind. Izumo was no stranger to wet dreams. He was a man after all and had been the slave of his hormones just like every other man since the age of twelve. Izumo was used to occasionally having lustful dreams that left him panting and sticky in the morning, his hand around his cock. He was not used to those dreams centering on slightly tilted dark eyes and a feral smile that was so sexy it had melted even the hardest of hearts. Izumo wasn't used to dreaming about Kotetsu and it seemed each night he was haunted with those erotic dreams.

Perhaps the drifting in their friendship wasn't wholly on Kotetsu's side. How could he look his friend in the eye over breakfast when he'd woken up sticky and covered in semen because he'd been dreaming about him the night before. Gods, what was wrong with him? Why was he panting after his best friend? When had this happened and why was he not freaking out as much as he should over the thought of lusting after Kotetsu.

Why did Kotetsu insist on walking around their apartment clad in nothing but a towel?

Was he trying to drive him to distraction with elusive glimpses of slender and muscled thighs and a lithely muscled body? Kotetsu was gorgeous no matter what he wore but when he was clad in nothing but dripping water and a brief towel, Izumo could feel what little control he had slip just a bit. "Oy! Put some clothes on for fucks sake." Izumo grumbled bitterly after almost spiting his coffee out when he caught sight of Kotetsu's mostly naked body. It was way too early for this sort of shit and he was beginning to feel certain parts of him twitch to life faster then the rest of him.

Kotetsu blinked sleepily before stifling a yawn behind one graceful hand. The ever-present white band across his nose was gone, revealing the thin, aristocratic lines of his nose and handsome face.

A handsome face that was currently dewed with small droplets of water sprinkling down from wet black hair.

Gah! Gods, was he glad he was seated at the table already.

"I thought you liked watching me walk around half-naked." Kotetsu smirked, dark eyes gleaming with an unholy mischief as he added in an extra shimmy just to watch Izumo squirm. He was trying to make his best friend uncomfortable; that was it. There wasn't anything else to it. Nope. Not at all!

Ah, sweet denial.

"B…Bastard!" Izumo's squawk of indignation made Kotetsu's morning and the shorter chuunin laughed boisterously as he helped himself to the steamed rice and miso soup sitting on top of the stove. Izumo's cooking was a lot like his personality. Very simple and straight-forward with very little in the way of frills. Kotetsu would have grilled some fish or something as well but Izumo just left it as is. "Like I want to see your skinny ass wandering around the apartment, go put some clothes on!" Izumo was starting to sound testy now that he'd stopped choking and Kotetsu gave him a wolfish grin as he carried his plate to the table and sat across from his friend.

"I have a nice ass, thank you very much. Never gotten any complaints before," He teased playfully, much to Izumo's chagrin as the man tried to slow down rate at which he ate. He was trapped unfortunately by the twinned desire to get the hell out of here but not being able to move without certain things being revealed. So instead, he settled for glaring balefully at Kotetsu over the rim of his soup bowl.

"You're getting one now. Go put some clothes on." Kotetsu rolled his eyes with open disgust and climbed to his feet. He hadn't even had a chance to eat his breakfast dammit! He knew he'd only be able to eat in peace if he did what Izumo wanted however and he walked back into his room with a pouting look over his shoulder.

"Yes, mommy." Even from ten feet away, he heard Izumo's teeth grind in agitation and he laughed softly before shutting the door behind him.

"Jackass!" Izumo called after him as he hastily gathered up his dishes and scraped the last bits of his breakfast into the trash. He hadn't finished eating but it was better then being trapped in a kitchen with the object of his confused desires.

Kotetsu emerged from his room in time to see Izumo's door firmly click shut and without his friend there to witness it, his cheery expression faded to reveal a far more solemn look. Why did it feel like Izumo was always running from him these days? It seemed like he saw more of his best friend's back in the past month then he'd seen in most of their friendship.

It was a lovely back however. He really had a nice ass.

Shit, that wasn't helping much! Kotetsu grimaced and slapped the back of his own hand as he settled down at the table to finish his breakfast in record time. His dishes were carried to the sink where he proceeded to wash them and all the dirties dishes Izumo had used in making breakfast. Dark eyes kept shooting furtively at the clock as he noticed how close they were coming to being late.

Izumo had been in his room for a while now.

A frown creased Kotetsu's brow and he dried his hands on a dish-towel before moving to Izumo's door where he rapped on in sharply. "Hey, you alive in there? We need to get going or the Hokage's going to string us up by our nuts." There was a stifled groan from beyond the door and Kotetsu's frown darkened into a concerned look. "Izumo? Are you okay in there man?" He couldn't be completely certain but there was definitely the strange sound of scuffling on the other side of the door. His hand moved to the handle only to feel the knob twist beneath his fingers and a pale-faced Izumo peeked out from the crack in the door.

"I'm not feeling so good, Kotetsu. I think I'm going to take the day off." In his own defense, Izumo did look a tad pale and grey, a little worn around the edges.

"You okay?" Concern touched Kotetsu's eyes and the worry on his face was evident as he moved to push the door open so he could view Izumo fully. The other man shook his head sharply and turned his head.

"Don't. I might be contagious or something." To demonstrate his point, Izumo coughed though it sounded fake even to his own ears. Of course, it was easier to pretend you were feeling poorly then admit to having a raging hard-on thanks to the man currently trying to come into your bedroom. Izumo was trying desperately to keep his body out of sight while bitterly cursing Kotetsu's inherent curiosity that demanded he investigate. All Izumo wanted to do was go back to jerking off and getting rid of the pesky erection currently making his life miserable. "Just go on ahead, Kotetsu. If I'm feeling better I'll come in. Right now I think I just need a nap or something."

His best friend granted him a suspicious and worried look but he didn't press the subject. Instead, he nodded sharply and turned away. "I'll stop by around lunch and make you something. You're on your own for dinner thought."

"Huh?" That intelligent reply came as Izumo blinked in confusion.

"I've got a date remember? Shizune finally agreed to let me take her out for drinks."

"Shizune?" The shocked mortification in Izumo's voice would have been comical anywhere else. He had an open wariness of the female jounin that was well known. In his mind, any apprentice of Tsunade's had to be a man-eater. Kotetsu rolled his eyes upwards and snorted.

"Don't start that again. I've got one word for you if you want to start picking on my tastes. Anko." As predicted, Izumo shuddered at the memory of one of his gravest mistakes in his 'younger and more foolish' days as he preferred to call them. Kotetsu laughed and waved jauntily at his roommate then. There was one good thing about being friends with someone for more then half your life. You have a lot of blackmail material to hold over their heads.

"Asshole." Izumo muttered at Kotetsu's back before he turned away and went back to…previous business.

They day passed rather uneventful for Kotetsu aside from his being worried about Izumo and the quietly withdrawn way he'd been treating him since morning. Even when he'd gone home for lunch, the young man had just merely sat there quiet and pale as Kotetsu tried to cheer him up with idly gossip.

Maybe Izumo really was sick and wasn't just pulling a sick-day because he didn't feel like working. Kotetsu wasn't used to seeing his best friend this…depressed? No, that wasn't the right term. Troubled was a better word for Izumo's mood though even that didn't quite cover what was going on behind his friend's solemn eyes.

He had seemed so…sad and alone when he went to visit him at lunch. And oddly lost. Kotetsu had wanted to call it a day and stay with him but Izumo had shrugged the suggestion off with a wan smile and a reminder that he was just going to go back to bed.

So instead, Kotetsu had come back to work and had finalized the plans he'd made with Shizune to take her out for drinks. He wasn't completely certain why the beautiful jounin was finally agreeing after months of shrugging off his flirtatious attempts to capture her attention.

He knew he shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth and Kotetsu had taken special care with his appearance that night as he dressed for his 'date'. When he wandered out of his room, he found Izumo curled on the couch watching an old action movie. "I'll be back later, Izumo." His hand ruffled those mussed and surprisingly silky locks in passing as he stepped past the couch. He garnered a dark look of annoyance from his pissy roommate before Izumo snuggled back into the small mound of pillows and blankets he'd carried out into the living room so he could watch the movie comfortably.

"Try not to let the man-eater steal your nuts the first date." Izumo didn't know what was wrong with him, why he was in such a pissy mood at the thought of Kotetsu going on a date. No, he knew exactly what was wrong with him, he just didn't want to admit it, that was the problem.

He was jealous.

Fuck, it was going to be a long night.

"You going to be okay by yourself, Izumo?"

"Yeah I'm fine, have fun." He muttered gruffly and fluffed his pillow up. Kotetsu watched his head where it peeked above the edge of the couch before gathering up his keys and slipping out the door.

The next couple of hours passed in a sort of dazed blur. No matter how hard he tried to concentrate on Shizune, his attention kept wandering back to Izumo. Ironically enough, Shizune seemed overly interested in inquiring about his best friend and Izumo came up a lot in their conversation.

"I don't know, Izumo seems kind of down lately. Do you know what's troubling him?" Shizune as one of the few women in Konoha who realized the Kotetsu and Izumo were not lovers. Not yet at least, a small part of her mind snickered as she eyed Kotetsu over the rim of her glass. She had noticed how the pair of them were moping around like a pair of love-struck fools and had taken it upon herself to….help nudge them along.

And judging by the brooding and troubled look in Kotetsu's eyes, that wasn't going to be too hard at all. "I don't know what's up with him anymore." The unusually bitter tone of his voice seemed oddly out of place to Kotetsu's usually warm personality.

"Is he having any kind of romantic troubles? A girlfriend?" She knew very well that Izumo didn't have a girlfriend but she played the part of the clueless, concerned friend all the same. Her opportunity came as Kotetsu shook his head, handsome face troubled and unhappy. "A boyfriend perhaps?" She timed that mild question perfectly and secretly chuckled to herself as she watched Kotetsu's eyes bug out in shocked surprise. The man nearly choked on his drink and ended up half-curled over their table as he felt the burn of sake sear his nose canals.

It had been deliberate of course, a sort of half-payment for all the really bad passes he'd made at her over the months. She wasn't interested in Kotetsu like that and no matter how cute and sweet looking he was, she knew better then to poach on other's people's property. And Kotetsu, whether he realized it or not, was already owned, branded and marked as Izumo's. It was a pity that the two chuunin themselves seemed to be the last ones in on the fact.

"Are you okay?" She asked with mild concern as she laid a delicate hand on Kotetsu's shaking and trembling shoulder. The dark-haired chuunin seemed to finally remember how to breathe and granted her a weak smile.

The fiery burn of alcohol had cleared his sinuses quite efficiently and he stared down at the slightly murky liquid moodily. The thought of Izumo having a boyfriend hadn't really occurred to him. He knew his friend had girlfriends briefly in the past but had never really stayed with one particular person. Like Kotetsu, something always seemed to come up and the females hadn't felt like sticking with a man who was unwilling to give so little of himself or his time.

Izumo hadn't had a girlfriend for a while. Maybe he had become interested in men? How did he feel about that if that were the case? Shizune watched the flash of emotions flicker across Kotetsu's handsome face and fell silent as she waited for the man to filter through that information. "Honestly, I thought for the longest time that the two of you were together, you know." She finally murmured and watched the look of chagrin fill Kotetsu's eyes as he shook his head.

"No, we're not like that."

"Ah, could have fooled me." That mild murmur was barely heard over the quiet background noise of the bar and Kotetsu's gaze sharpened as he laid the sake cup down.

"And why is that?" A hint of frost touched his voice as he eyed the beautiful woman across from him with shuttered and cynical eyes. "Is it really so hard to think that the two of us can be friends and nothing more?"

"To be honest? Yes it is." That wasn't exactly the most promising answer he could have received. It didn't bode well for any hopes he had for this night. "Look, Kotetsu. Something's between the two of you and I think it's a bit deeper then friendship. I've seen how he looks at you and I've seen how you look at him." The troubled look was back on his face as he cast dark eyes down on the table in front of them.

"We can't be like that, Shizune." There was an odd tone in his voice, a strange sort of fear touching dark eyes as he glanced up at her through thick lashes. Those exotically tilted eyes which were usually so fierce and full of light were dark and shadowed with a chaotic mix of emotions.

"Why not?"

"Becuase if it didn't work out, how could we remain friends afterward?" Kotetsu sounded so young and scared then as haunted eyes turned to Shizune. She suddenly felt a stab of guilt. Dammit, why'd he have to look so alone and scared?

"I don't know, Kotetsu. It's possible but it's also possible that you two could have an amazing relationship as well. It's obvious the love is there already." A part of her told her that she shouldn't be interfering, that it wasn't her place. But she was sick of seeing the two of them dancing around each other as well. Was tired of seeing this haunted look in Kotetsu's eyes and the look of confused longing in Izumo's when they looked at each other.

Besides, she had a bet going.

Perhaps not the most noble of reasons but in her mind, if she could get the two of them to admit their feelings for each other, then they'd be happy and she'd be happy because Tsunade would have to buckle down and actually work for once. That was the terms of their bet. If she won and the two of them stopped dancing around each other, then Tsunade would have to actually apply herself to her paperwork. If not, then she wasn't allowed to nag the woman about her dreadful lack of progress she'd made with her paperwork.

Too bad Tsunade had never told her she couldn't interfere and try nudging the two of them together.

"Look, Kotetsu. I don't know what would happen if the two of you were to go down that path. I think Izumo isn't to adverse to the thought of it though." That earned her a narrow-eyed look from Kotetsu though there was a gleam of contemplation in his eyes. It was obvious he was mulling the option over in his mind. Shizune was able to dismiss her conscience then with the assurance that what she was doing was the right thing.

Skewed and somewhat self-serving but right all the same.

"Look, why don't you go talk to him and see how he feels about it."

"I don't know how, Shizune. You're acting like it's easy to just risk over a decade of friendship on a maybe." He snapped.

"You're right, I don't know what you're going through but I do know that moping over this isn't going to help. And in the end, if you're not true to your feelings, then you're just going to end up more miserable." Her words made a sad sort of sense and Kotetsu sighed as if the weight of the world were settled on his shoulders. "Go talk to him, Kotetsu." She did something she never thought she'd do. She touched him.

Not a suggestive or a romantic sort of touch, just a cool brush of her hand across his cheek as she brushed a few locks of wild ebon hair back from his troubled face. The touch seemed to give him strength however and his shoulders squared as a weak smile curved pale lips.

"Alright, I'll go talk to him. Thank you, Shizune-san." On impulse, he grabbed her hand and brushed an affectionate kiss across her knuckles before grinning impishly at her. "You sure you want me to go talk to Izumo?" This was said jestingly and playfully because he knew he didn't have a chance in hell with her.

A man could hope though, couldn't he?

Shizune snorted and pulled her hand back with a delicate sniff. "Not interested." She felt an unwilling smile curl the corners of her lips however and she stifled it with a soft clearing of her throat. "Why are you still here, go talk to your boyfriend."

Kotetsu paled a bit at the word 'boyfriend' and turned an interesting shade of grey. Suddenly, this seemed a little too surreal and too insane. Was he really going to go talk to Izumo about possibly testing out this crazy theory that they were in love with each other?

Could he kiss his best friend and not feel weird about it afterwards? What about….sex? Oh dear, he could feel himself turning an interesting shade of red and Kotetsu hastily leapt to his feet. "I'm er…going now!" His voice was more of a squeak as he tossed down some money to pay for whatever Shizune might think to offer next and still have enough left over for a tip. Their drinks were already paid for and Shizune chuckled quietly to herself as she watched Kotetsu make a hasty exit.

She was already plotting how she'd strong-arm Tsunade into doing her back-log of paperwork.

By the time he'd made it home, Kotetsu had managed to tie himself into a nice little knot of nauseated tension and fear. Izumo didn't stir from the couch as he let himself in through the door and a dark brow rose as Kotetsu silently shut and locked the door behind him. The top of the couch hid the outline of his friend's body though his arm lay sprawled out in view where it hung with the boneless grace of sleep from the arm of the couch.

Kotetsu smiled fondly and padded silently across the ground to study Izumo's pale face as it was bathed in the blue screen of the television. It was obvious whatever movie he'd fallen asleep while watching his movie. The fact that he didn't snap away with the sense of Kotetsu's presence showed just how deeply he trusted his friend and the dark-haired chuunin watched Izumo for a long and troubled moment.

He took in the handsome features of his best friend with shuttered and unreadable eyes. In repose, Izumo's face lacked the slightly guarded and unaffected expression he usually put on. Without the wariness and those sharp, cynical eyes, his roommate looked almost boyish…..and cute.

Whoa, where the hell had he started to think of Izumo as cute?

Wait, for a while now, if he were honest with himself. Kotetsu had noticed how handsome his friend had been back when they were gennin and had been on the same team. He had thought himself long past having inappropriate thoughts about Izumo and had assumed the advent of the wonders known as breasts in the kunoichi of his class had stifled any feelings he might have for his friend.

Apparently, he'd been wrong.

Kotetsu squatted down on his heels in front of the couch then and just stared at Izumo in silence. The soft inhale and exhalation of Izumo's breath stirred the graceful lines of his shoulder as he curled on his side with his cheek nestled into the thick feather-down pillow Kotetsu had bought for him years ago. In sleep, Izumo looked peaceful and innocent and Kotetsu found it wasn't very hard to picture himself kissing the other man. His lips were soft looking and parted almost beckoningly until Kotetsu found himself entranced by those pale tiers.

He was so wrapped up in studying the minute textures of Izumo's lips because he missed the tell-tale fluttering of dark lashes. Kotetsu snapped out of his trance however as Izumo's lips moved and the pale flicker of a pink tongue could be seen as his friend nervously wet his lips and granted him a serious look. "What are you doing?"

Kotetsu jerked guiltily and managed to loose his balance as he fell back on his ass. For one startled moment, they were both frozen and then, Izumo sat up with a yawn and raked a hand through his mussed hair. "You're acting weird. How was your date with the man-eater?" Now that he knew to look for it, Kotetsu noticed the slight twisting pout of Izumo's lips and the faint note of jealous in his friend's sleepy voice.

Huh, wasn't that just curious?

Izumo's sharp look had Kotetsu snapping out of his contemplations once more and he shook his head to clear his thoughts. "Err…it was weird. She kept asking about you actually." That earned him a raised-brow look from a skeptical looking Izumo.

"Really?" Doubt was heavy in his voice as he eyed his friend. Another yawn fought it's way up his throat as he stretched. For the second time since waking up, Izumo found himself the recipient of a curiously intense look from Kotetsu and he truly started to fear for his friend as he canted his head to the side. "You're acting weird. What happened tonight?"

"Shizune-san seemed to think we'd make a good couple." Kotetsu finally murmured, dark eyes looking anywhere but directly at Izumo. He heard the stifled gasp of sound from Izumo as his friend froze.

"S…she did, did she." Izumo managed to croak as he looked at Kotetsu where he sat not too far away. The other chuunin finally looked at him as he smoothly crawled to his feet to kneel down in front of Izumo where he sat on the couch.

"Yes she did." That solemn whisper broke the tense air as intent and suddenly stubbornly determined dark eyes met Izumo's wide and startled ones. Kotetsu was too close for comfort now, that lean and rangy form being but mere inches from his own.

"And what did you tell her?" Izumo tried to swallow but found his throat bone-dry and clenched tight with emotions he didn't dare put a name to. Kotetsu watched the flash of emotions parade across Izumo's face, the uncertainty and fear sending a spike of pain through his heart.

The world seemed to close in around the two of them, centering on them until all that existed was their apartment, themselves and nothing more. Time seemed to almost still as Kotetsu reached up a hand to lay it against Izumo's in a strange sort of mirror of Shizune's earlier gesture. He caught that heavy forelock of hair in his fingers and pushed it back as warm fingertips skimmed the hot flesh of Izumo's cheeks where a blush gathered to heat his skin.

Something akin to panic glimmered in Izumo's eyes as Kotetsu's suddenly calm and determined gaze pinned his own. "I didn't tell her anything. You know me, I always thought actions spoke louder then words." There was a husky burr in Kotetsu's voice then as he moved closer, his face nearing Izumo's until their noses touched. It made it hard to stare into those wide and uncertain eyes but he gave his friend ample time to pull away before closing the distance between them. Kotetsu's lips settled over Izumo's in a soft, brushing kiss as he tested the waters. He was unsure how Izumo would react so he lightly kissed the other, silently pleading with him to return the gesture.

After a long moment, Izumo's lips stirred beneath his and parted to allow their lips to mesh fully. Theirs was an awkward and slightly hesitant first kiss but it was sweet all the same. It finally ended and Kotetsu drew back to regard his stunned friend with a grin gleaming in his eyes. "I take it this means yes?"

The question was enough to throw Izumo out of the spiral of his thoughts as he blinked owlishly down at Kotetsu. "Huh?" Came that intelligent answer.

"On whether or not your might be interested in seeing if we'd work out like that." Feeling a tad shy, Kotetsu grinned in that lop-sided and charming manner of his and rubbed the back of his head. "I want to try it, I think I'm genuinely attracted to you, Izumo but I don't want to fuck up our friendship." Izumo nodded tensely, the same fears having been eating him alive ever since he realized his feelings for Kotetsu went a bit deeper then friendship. "So if you've got some doubts about this, let me know now and I'll back off and leav-" Kotetsu never got to finish his sentence.

Izumo's lips pressed harshly to his own, a hint of the desperate hunger in his movements working its way into that heated kiss as Izumo twined a hand through Kotetsu's hair and slide slowly off the couch. This forced Kotetsu to either back up or let himself be guided to the ground by his suddenly aggressive best friend. Having Izumo take the lead was comfortable for the uncertain Kotetsu so he let the other call the shots as he lost himself in that passionate kiss. It's frantic start melted into a long and warm kiss that left them both breathless as Izumo leaned over Kotetsu and grinned down at him through that dark forelock of hair. His lips were slightly puffy and kiss-bruised and Kotetsu didn't think he'd ever seen him more handsome then in that moment. Izumo's dark eyes were hazy with passion and glowing with a warm love that had Kotetsu's heart rising in his throat.

"Is that a good enough answer?" Kotetsu just laughed softly and pulled him down for another kiss. The night would pass in a haze of carefully explored passions and hesitant expressions of caring and love. They had been friends for far too long and knew each other surprisingly well, so much so that it was almost natural that they branch out into this new area.

Come the morning, neither had really slept though they'd managed to find their way into Kotetsu's room where they curled sleepily on the other man's rumpled bed. Kotetsu had his arms around Izumo and he lazily stroked the other's bare back much like one would pet a cat. The other man didn't seem to mind and he nuzzled into the curve of Kotetsu's shoulder with a sleepy purr.

"I can't believe we waited this long." Izumo murmured into Kotetsu's skin as he feathered kisses across that silken skin where it covered delightfully defined muscles. Kotetsu laughed softly and a long-fingered hand caught Izumo's chin to tilt his head up.

"Well you know what they say about how the good things come to those who wait." That mischievous murmur had an affection smile curving Izumo's lips and he kissed Kotetsu softly with a lingering sort of passion. "I think your sickness has passed to me, Izumo? I don't think either of us is well enough to get out of bed today." Mischief gleamed in Kotetsu's eyes as he smirked playfully down as his new…what? Lover? Had things really changed all that much between them? He was still Kotetsu and Izumo was still his beloved friend and roommate. Their friendship hadn't really changed, if nothing else, it had grown and richened over the night.

Izumo chuckled wryly and nodded sleepily before moving his hand to lay it over the steady beat of Kotetsu's heart. "I think that's a grand idea. Let the man-eater and the old hag deal with the paperwork on their own for once." He muttered sleepily and closed his eyes after reaching over to tug the covers over them more securely. Kotetsu smiled softly and stroked his back for a soft and tender moment before he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.

"Where the hell are Kotetsu and Izumo?" Tsunade growled bitchily as she noticed the lack of her two favorite objects of 'stress-relief' weren't in the office. Shizune smirked around the large stack of paperwork she was carting into the office.

"They took the day off. You lost the bet by the way so get working." Tsunade eyed her apprentice with golden-brown eyes that were decidedly un-amused as Shizune set the pile of papers down on her desk.

"And what proof do you have?" Irritation sparked to life in her eyes though deep in her jaded heart, she felt a small stir of amusement. So the two brats had finally decided to stop lying to themselves, hmmn? Shizune shook her head sadly and pulled out a picture which she presented to the Hokage. It was a photo of Izumo and Kotetsu snuggled together asleep in a pile of mussed bedding. It was obvious they were naked because Kotetsu's leg had emerged from blankets at one point to wrap around Izumo's. And there wasn't a stitch of clothing marring the graceful line of skin peeking out from the edge of the covers.

Tsunade growled and made a swipe for the photo but Shizune kept it out of her hands with practiced ease. "Oh no you don't."

"I want that photo, Shizune!" The potential for blackmail was just too good to pass up, she had to have that picture! She'd frame it and put it up on her desk just so she could watch the color drain out of their faces when they saw it.

"No, that's wrong. Besides, you've got two months of paperwork to catch up on." Shizune narrowed her eyes on Tsunade and gave her a harsh and unmovable look. "This is one debt you're not going to dodge."

Tsunade growled threateningly in the back of her throat and gifted her apprentice with the most vile look she could dredge up in the face of the hopelessness of the situation.

She hated paperwork.

"Don't worry, Izumo-kun was nice enough to sort through all of them before he left. See how theses are all the reports you filled out wrong?" This was just one stack? It was going to take her all day to go through all this at the very least! That meant no time for lounging in the hotspring or lingering over sake during her long 'lunch break'

"You're an evil person, Shizune. Have I told you how much I hate you sometimes?" The dark-haired woman merely smiled serenely and placed a pen in front of Tsunade.

"Hate me all you want so long as you work. Think of how shocked Kotetsu-kun and Izumo-kun will be when they return to discover their desks are clear of paperwork, hmmn? They'll die of shock." Shizune smiled sweetly and pushed the paperwork across the desk at Tsunade before turning away. "I'll leave you in peace so you can do it." Tsunade growled and eyed the back of her student's head as the woman made her way to the door. She glared at the pile and then at the pen in front of her. Just for this, she'd fill out a lot of them wrong just so the chuunin would have something to do when they got back.

"And don't even think about rushing through those and doing them wrong." Drat. Shizune knew her too well. Maybe it was time to get a new assistant. What about if she just sat here and looked like she was busy?

"I'll be checking in on you to make sure you're actually working."

Yep, definitely time for a new assistant.

Sometimes having someone know you so well was such a pain in the ass.

A/N: That's it for Blind Man's Bluff, I hope everyone who stuck through this to the end enjoyed it. If you did, please drop me a line letting me know. My KoIzu bunnies do need feeding after all. And they don't get nearly enough lovin' and attention in the fandom. Excuse me while I pout.