Title: Heat and Sun
Rating: Pg-13
Pairings: Deidara / Sakura
Word Count: 5,578

Chapter 3 – The Gentlemen's Club

"Jaurès, Jaurès," Sakura repeated to herself, trying to spot a street sign. She glanced behind her and quickened her pace.

It wasn't that she was being followed – there was nothing behind her but abandoned streets and a few flickering streetlamps. She shivered and tugged her coat tightly around her shoulders. The night wasn't cold, but it was creepy.

Perhaps she should have foreseen that the rendezvous point with the revolutionaries wouldn't be in a very reputable part of town. When she'd asked her landlady for directions to one of the streets the man had named the night before, the older woman had asked in surprise why she would ever want to go there, and then reluctantly drew her a map.

So while Sakura had at least had some warning, she certainly hadn't expected this. When she'd left her flat it was dark already but there were, if anything, even more people out on the streets than in daylight. This came as no surprise, as parties always seemed to go until morning and if Sakura left her windows open at night she'd awake to the drunken laughter of the rich.

But here in the old part of town the buildings were in disrepair and instead of white and gold the pervading colour of the area was a dirty gray. The dimly lit streets were empty except for a few women who loitered in doorways and who would turn their heads from Sakura in disinterest once they realized she wasn't a man.

At last she caught sight of a rusted sign nailed to the side of a building. Most of the paint had peeled away, but the faded imprint of 'Avenue Jean Jaurès' was still visible.

Sakura glanced around hopefully but saw no sign of anyone resembling the men she'd spoken with the night before. Beginning to worry, she rechecked the street sign and hoped she hadn't misheard the meeting point. She fidgeted nervously and tried not to think of what she must look like in her short skirt and long trench coat, standing on a street corner.

At last she spotted a man a little ways away who seemed to be approaching her cautiously. As he came closer she could see that he was slender, of average height, and had long black hair that he kept tied back. His eyelids seemed to droop heavily, and Sakura wondered if he was terribly tired or just looked like that all the time. There was something about him though, that made her want to listen to him.

"Excuse me," the man began hesitantly, and Sakura recognized the slightly accented voice as one of those she'd heard the night before.

"Oh good," she said, greatly relieved. "I was starting to think that I'd got the meeting place wrong."

"It is you – excellent!" His face lit up in a smile, yet his eyes kept their lazy look to them. "I was a bit worried too, I didn't know what you would look like and I thought for a moment you might just be one of the usual pros—" Wisely, the man seemed to rethink his words. "Actually, never mind." He gave her a wide grin and offered his arm politely. "Shall we?"

Bemused at his old-fashioned gesture, Sakura took his proffered arm and allowed herself to be lead to the revolutionaries' hideout, trying to memorize all the turns they took. It was only a short walk away, the man reassured her, and then proceeded to deluge her with an unending stream of irrelevant chatter.

At last the man broke off his commentary about how this part of town wasn't as bad as it seemed – there used to be a wonderful bakery down the street, didn't she know? "Ah, here we are," he announced as they paused in front of one of the nearly identical rundown buildings.

Approaching the door, he knocked in a particular rhythm. Sakura tried not to grimace at what was obviously supposed to be a secret code.

The door flew open to reveal a boy.

"She's here!" the kid called loudly over his shoulder in a high-pitched, familiar voice, before turning back to Sakura. "Hello," he said, only slightly more subdued.

"Um," said Sakura, a little thrown off by this unexpectedly friendly reception. "Hi."

The man who'd lead her to the apartment ushered her inside and closed the door. "His name is Jean," he said, nodding towards the child.

Jean was a small, skinny boy with ears that Sakura dearly hoped he would grow into. He looked no more than twelve and stared at her with the same open-mouthed admiration that Naruto still gave pretty girls. "I-" he started with a squeak, clearing his throat before he continued at a different pitch, "I can pick locks."

"That's nice," Sakura told him as he broke into a toothy grin.

"That reminds me!" said the man beside her suddenly, as though he'd just remembered something very important. He turned towards Sakura and extended his hand. "I'm Sorel."

"Pleased to meet you," Sakura replied automatically as she shook his hand. "I'm –"

"— I completely forgot to introduce myself earlier," Sorel continued with a laugh, as though this was somehow very funny. Sakura gave him a strained smile and decided to save her own introductions for later.

Sorel continued to talk, partly to her but mostly to himself, as Jean ran ahead of them down a flight of stairs into the building's basement. When they pushed open the door of a room on the lower level, Sakura was completely unsurprised at the state of the revolutionary headquarters.

Any part of the cement floor that wasn't covered by stacks of crates or boxes was worryingly cracked. The walls were grey and mostly plain, with the exception of a few maps and pamphlets that had been hastily taped up. There was a cheap plastic table in the centre of the room, with only one folding chair placed beside it. The single uncovered light bulb that hung from the ceiling hummed.

A broad-shouldered man with a square jaw and short, bristly brown hair sat on one of the many boxes. He watched Sakura calmly as she entered the room and, not once losing his serious expression, nodded at her in greeting. Aha, thought Sakura, he had to be the leader, since it was exceedingly clear that Sorel was not.

"This is Pascal," said Sorel.

"Sorry about the whole roof thing last night," the man said politely. From his deep voice, Sakura recognized him as the third man from the evening before, the quiet one who'd only spoken to hush Jean.

"It's alright," Sakura reassured him while wondering inwardly if she could just kill him and go home.

"He's our medic," added Sorel happily, effectively dashing Sakura's hopes. "Take a seat anywhere you like," he continued, pulling up the folding chair for himself.

Long-standing habit caused her to choose a row of crates in view of the door. Keep the exit in sight, she told herself, and get out once the mission is accomplished.

The medic, Pascal, checked his watch and sighed in disgust. "The others are late." From the tone of his voice, Sakura got the impression that he didn't much like 'the others'.

Jean wrinkled his nose as he clambered onto a set of boxes so he could sit beside Sakura. "That's not very surprising though, knowing them."

The door opened suddenly and a beautiful blond woman strode into the room, her heels clicking smartly against the cement floor.

"Late as always, Estelle," remarked Sorel with his usual good humour.

"Fashionably so," said the woman as she ignored Sakura entirely and took a seat beside Pascal, crossing her legs.

Sakura watched as the woman lit up a cigarette, ignoring the disapproving looks Pascal sent her. She wore a tight-fitting, long black dress that seemed to be held up only by her enormous breasts, and was wrapped in an absurdly large white feather boa.

On second thought, Sakura concluded, Estelle wasn't actually beautiful. Estelle's beauty was that which came packaged in a tube - the sort that only men could see and truly believe to be real. She had a nose that hooked too much to be disguised with tricks of makeup, and penciled-in eyebrows that were drawn too thin. Beneath the thick layers of foundation and powder, faintly visible lines betrayed that she wasn't quite as young as she would like everyone to believe.

"She gets us information from the enemy," whispered Jean, eager to be helpful.

"How does she do that?" Sakura asked, before she stopped to think.

"I'm not sure yet." Jean frowned and knit his eyebrows. "Everyone says they'll tell me when I'm older."

If Estelle heard their conversation, she gave no indication of it. She took a long drag on her cigarette, looked around the room and asked, "Where's Titian? Usually I'm the last one to arrive."

"He's off getting our other new recruit," Sorel said. "Stendhal and St. Charles is a bit further away, so I'm not surprised he's taking this long."

Just then, the door opened yet again to reveal an attractive, tanned young man with curly brown hair that badly needed to be cut.

"Hey," he said without enthusiasm, taking no notice that his hair seemed to be falling in front of his eyes. "Got him."

With no further words of introduction, he shuffled over to a corner of the room and slouched against a pile of boxes, looking like the most bored revolutionary Sakura had ever seen. At least he was cute, she decided, but it was kind of a shame that he had to be arrested along with the rest of them. She hoped he wasn't the leader.

"And here's our second new member," announced Sorel cheerfully. He pointed to the stack of crates that Sakura was sitting on. "Why don't you take a seat over there by the young lady?"

Turning her attention back to the doorway, Sakura was pleased to note that the other man there was also very attractive. He wore a pair of well-fitting chinos and a bright blue shirt that was open at the collar. Despite the heat, his hands were clad in a pair of thin leather gloves. He had long blond hair that was pulled loosely back, leaving some to fall over the left side of his face, and an expression that told the world not to mess with him. From first-hand experience, Sakura knew that girls liked that sort of thing. A pity he'd have to go to jail too.

She was about to turn her attention back to Sorel when it occurred to her that the blond man was oddly familiar.

She glanced back at him. He stared at her with a look of dawning horror and Sakura was momentarily confused as she couldn't place where they'd met before.

Then she really looked at him.


Oh no.

He should have stayed at the bar, Deidara decided.

He hadn't minded wandering into a sleazy part of town late at night, and the guy who came to meet him was quiet and didn't get on his nerves, but suddenly everything went very wrong the moment he stepped into the revolutionaries' hideout.

The first thing that pissed him off was that that Sorel person was there, grinning at him like they were old friends. The second was that the brat who'd claimed to be a professional revolutionary was also there, and made a face at Deidara as he entered. There was also some blond chick who was eyeing him in a way he didn't like, and a very plain older man who Deidara didn't care enough about to form an opinion on.

Things seemed to get better for an instant as he recognized the pink-haired girl sitting on some boxes as the same one that had inadvertently flashed him while getting on her bike a couple weeks ago. She was pretty, but she was watching the guy who'd brought him to the hideout – Titian, was it? – with some interest, so that was probably a 'no'.

But then she had to go and fix her green eyes on him and Deidara realized with a sinking feeling that he'd once seen her a long time ago, before she'd grown up and got so cute.

Frozen, he couldn't believe that Konoha had finally managed to track him down. How could they? He'd stayed far away, kept his head down. And what should they care anyway? The most trouble he'd caused in years was a bit of robbery and blowing up those safes – and a few necessary murders here and there but who was counting? None of that should have clued them onto his trail.

But as Sorel coughed and gestured for him to take a seat, Deidara noticed that the girl seemed just as surprised as he was at their sudden encounter. Maybe she was on the run too? As he sat down next to her, keeping as much distance between them as was possible on the crates, he figured that wasn't the answer either. She looked too infuriatingly 'good' to have ever become a missing-nin.

The revolutionaries certainly couldn't have scraped together enough money to hire her. So why did she have to show up and ruin his fun? There was only one other explanation he could think of, but that was unlikely as well. The Sun Country was known for its distrust of ninja, he couldn't imagine they'd ever hire one.

At least for the moment she seemed to pose no threat. She made no move to attack him or denounce him as a missing-nin, only sat uncomfortably stiff and silent. So he did the same, unwilling to leave the revolutionary group that he'd so hoped to join over the appearance of one girl. Choosing to neglect the knowledge that his former Akatsuki partner had met his end at her hands, Deidara vastly overestimated his own skills and figured that he could deal with her if she tried anything.

"So," began Sorel, clapping his hands and pasting on a huge grin, clearly trying to dispel the awkwardness that had settled over the room. Deidara hated him even more for it.

"Um," he continued and smiled at both Deidara and the girl but for once couldn't seem to find a topic to talk about. He hesitated some more before finally asking sheepishly, "What are your names, by the way? I'm afraid I forgot to ask."

The girl laughed nervously and Deidara clung to one last desperate hope that maybe he'd mistaken her identity and she was really just a very nervous, shy girl with an odd colour of hair and an uncanny resemblance to someone he'd once tried to kill.

"Why don't you go first?" Sorel suggested, looking pointedly at Deidara.

He gave his real name, not bothering to lie.

The girl beside him went absolutely still.

"That's a weird name," the kid next to her took the liberty of informing him. He was lucky he was more than an arm's length away this time.

Everyone made shushing noises at the brat and then turned towards the girl expectantly. She opened and closed her mouth a few times before she managed to stammer out: "S-Sakura."


Okay, thought Sakura as she concentrated on breathing deeply, she could deal with this. She still had the mission under control.

There was just the slight hiccough that apparently the Akatsuki weren't quite as dead as they'd thought and now they were clearly trying to continue their diabolical plans of world domination, starting with a tiny city-state that had no ninja and little contact with the outside world, and by using a ragtag band of amateurs playing at being revolutionaries.

Surely that explained everything.

Except that it didn't make sense at all.

And why had she given her real name? She'd had a fake identity memorized, but every coherent thought had evaporated from her mind the moment the Akatsuki had said his name.

Everything would be so much simpler if he'd just stayed dead.

But she had no time to ponder these thoughts further – for the moment he seemed just as shocked as she was, and the revolutionaries were proceeding with their meeting. As unexpected as this turn of events was, she couldn't let it interfere with her mission. Besides, he hadn't done anything to expose her true identity just yet – but why would that be?

"Now that introductions have all been made," said Sorel warmly, interrupting Sakura's thoughts, "I'd like to welcome both of you to the Gentlemen's Club."

Sakura blinked a few times and wondered frantically if she'd misheard. "Pardon?" she asked. She was there for revolution and mayhem, right?

Sorel's cheerful face instantly morphed into the picture of fear. "You're not offended, are you? We were a little concerned that 'gentlemen' wasn't very gender-inclusive and that some might have moral objections to a group that shares the name of a – let's say – lewd establishment."

"I told you we should have chosen something more politically correct," muttered Pascal as he shook his head.

"But really, it's for the best," Sorel continued quickly, giving Sakura a reassuring smile. "It's better than a name that gives us away. Think about it. If you say, "I'm off to the Gentlemen's Club!" and get overheard by one of the monarchy's dogs it's probably no big deal. If anything he's going to regret he's on duty and can't do the same. But if you say, "Off I go to the Conspiracy of Equals!" or something to that effect, we're all going to find ourselves in irons before we have time to think up a less moronically obvious name."

"Not to mention," added Estelle with a sigh, "Anything with 'liberation front' in it is so overdone."

"I'm sure the name's fine, yeah," said Deidara dryly, giving Sakura the unpleasant reminder that he was really there. "But more importantly, who's leading this thing?"

At least he was useful for something, she thought as she leaned in to hear the answer. This was information she needed.

Jean cleared his throat importantly. "We don't believe in leaders," he informed them proudly, "Because power leads to corruption."

The other revolutionaries looked at each other uneasily before Pascal began, "While that is technically true, Jean..."

"In difficult times, there is occasionally the need to delegate decision making to one individual," finished Sorel.

Sakura waited eagerly for a more concrete reply. Beside her, Deidara raised an eyebrow, equally awaiting an answer.

"And I guess," said Sorel awkwardly, "That that person is me."

Deidara made a small, strangled noise as Sakura stared incredulously.

"However," he continued quickly, "I only make the decisions for this one group."

The other revolutionaries nodded enthusiastically. "That's right," said Estelle, "There are lots of other cells!"

"Lots lots," added Jean, making extravagant hand gestures to illustrate his point.

Sakura felt her heart sink. "And each one has a different leader?"

"That's right," said Sorel with an enormous grin. "And we operate under the highest levels of secrecy! Only a few of us know a handful of people in other cells. This is the same across the entire revolutionary network. While this makes communication a bit difficult, it's much safer – even if one branch is compromised, most of the others will remain untouched."

The other revolutionaries – minus Titian, who was still regarding the scene with complete apathy – rushed to affirm these facts.

What had only hours before seemed like a simple mission suddenly made Sakura want to break down and sob in frustration. She couldn't just kill Sorel and be done with it. Somehow she had to find out the locations of all the other groups and the identities of their leaders. And while she'd taken the first step by infiltrating a cell, something seemed to tell her that it was a cell of the lowest order, with the least amount of contact with the other groups. Not to mention there was now the additional trouble caused by the appearance of a dangerous mass-murderer who was a threat to her undercover status.

"I don't care about any of that, yeah, " said Deidara brusquely, cutting off the chatter of the revolutionaries and silencing Sakura's thoughts. "What do you need me to blow up? More banks?"

"Banks?" asked Sorel, genuinely perplexed. "Why would we ask you to blow up a bank?"

"Because," explained Deidara, in a way that told Sakura the entire situation was trying his patience, "You must need some money, yeah?"

"No," said Jean, in a tone that conveyed he thought Deidara must be extraordinarily stupid. He continued as though he had rehearsed his words many times and was now delighted to share his wealth of knowledge with the less informed: "The concept of money is an evil created by the royalist scum to instil greed in the population and thus distract their minds from the injustices being perpetrated by the oppressing classes in society."

Jean looked infinitely pleased with himself and was oblivious to the murderous glare he was receiving from Deidara.

When none of the revolutionaries jumped to correct their fervent young comrade, Sakura asked, confused, "So if that's true, does that mean you didn't blow up that bank's vault a few weeks ago?"

"Oh goodness no!" cried Estelle with exaggerated shock.

Sorel's smile was unbroken as he explained, "We're peaceful revolutionaries, you see."

"Nonviolent," added Jean happily.

Sakura and Deidara stared.

"But," said Estelle, spreading her hands in a sign of defeat as she gave a pouty frown, "Just distributing pamphlets, spreading revolutionary ideas, and preparing the lower classes for the next step in history isn't going to get us the change we need."

"That's why we contacted you two," said Sorel.

"But wait," began Sakura, still confused about one thing. "If you guys didn't do it, then who blew up –" As she suddenly remembered who she was sitting next to, everything clicked into place. "Never mind," she finished glumly.

"Anyway," continued Sorel, "You must want to know why we've recruited you." While neither Sakura nor Deidara appeared very enthusiastic any longer, he continued anyway: "We've realized that we can no longer rely on our traditional methods to incite revolutionary spirit among the masses. It's time for us to take action – bold action. Even if that means slightly bending our ideals."

He leaned his elbows on the table in front of him and fixed his new recruits with an intent stare. "That's where you come in. The monarchy makes strong use of symbols to uphold its power, and by undermining or destroying these we will strike a direct blow at the regime's image of omnipotence. That's why we chose you two – for your power and stealth."

"Also," added Pascal, "Because you take measures to avoid casualties. You can't claim to speak for the people if you're killing them."

Sakura raised an eyebrow and shot a questioning glance over at the Akatsuki. He glared back at her, and Sakura decided not to make any comments for the moment – not until she figured out exactly what was going on.

"We've planted the seeds of revolution," said Sorel. "We've spread the ideas and used our time wisely. But now we need to inspire the masses to action, show them that they can throw off their shackles and be free from oppression, that the monarchy isn't infallible."

"But before we can get started on that," he continued with a grimace, "There's another small matter to attend to." He turned towards Sakura and gave her a small frown. "I've spoken to the thieves' guild on your behalf, and they refuse to let you off completely."

"You really should have got a permit before you stole anything," Jean told her. Sakura ignored the surprised look the Akatsuki was giving her and hoped that her expression was at least partially apologetic and not entirely confused.

"Fortunately," said Sorel, suddenly cheerful again, "We've come to an agreement that will satisfy both of our groups."

Sakura was doubtful that the arrangement would also satisfy her and her mission, but she listened anyway.

"Since you stole a considerable amount without permission from the guild, they require you to do one high-risk job for them," Sorel explained. "They've been dreaming about hitting the police chief's mansion for ages but haven't figured out how to get past his security. We're both confident though, that it'll be possible with your skills."

Sakura could see where this was going and didn't like it one bit. At this rate, she'd rob the whole country blind before she took out a single revolutionary leader.

"Once you get into the mansion, the guild is looking for one particular item: a platinum and sapphire necklace belonging to Carlotta, the chief's wife. It's common practice for the upper classes to pay for their luxuries out of the pockets of the taxpayers, and the thieves' guild is particularly convinced that this is one such ill-gotten item. This is where our part of the arrangement comes in."

Sorel looked enormously pleased with himself as he continued, "You'll deliver the item to a guild contact, who will then hand over its value in cash. The guild is in favour of the revolution, particularly the concept of class equality, and has agreed that since the item was paid for with the money of the people, it should make its way back to them. As such, you're to then redistribute the money to the oppressed population."

Sakura didn't like this idea at all. She'd stolen the other jewellery with the intention of returning it once the mission was over – something that didn't seem likely in this situation. "How am I supposed to do that?"

Sorel shrugged, unconcerned. "I'm sure you'll think of something."

Sakura nodded in agreement, despite her mounting frustration. She couldn't back out of this – she needed to gain the revolutionaries' trust so that she could infiltrate their organization and the other cells further. And while she was cleared to use whatever means necessary to achieve her mission, Sakura wondered if she was pushing it a little too far.

Estelle lit up another cigarette and watched the two newcomers closely. "You know, Sorel," she purred, keeping her eyes fixed on Deidara and Sakura, "I think this mission might be a bit too much for the girl alone. Why don't we send the other new blood along with her?"

"I'm perfectly capable of handling this on my own," Sakura replied hotly, both offended and frantic to keep her interaction with the Akatsuki to a minimum.

Sorel pursed his lips and considered this for a moment. "Actually, I think Estelle may have a point. I'd feel awful sending anyone into such a dangerous situation without backup." He gave her a wide smile. "Yes, it would be much safer for you to go together."

Sakura didn't quite know how to tell him just how wrong he was.

Deidara concluded that there was no other description that fit the obnoxious blond lady – Estelle or whatever her name was – more than 'conniving bitch'.

Obviously fully aware that the atmosphere between the two new recruits was more than a little strained, she'd done her best to exacerbate the situation. Not only had she arranged for him to accompany the Konoha girl on her mission, she'd also insisted that he walk her home. "A young lady shouldn't be walking alone at this hour," she'd said, her concern exaggerated and artificial. "Since you two live in the same area, clearly you'll have to escort her home."

She'd then batted her eyelashes, too long to be real, and ignored Sakura's protests that she could take care of herself. Deidara had kept quiet for the most part, simply because the entire situation had become so absurd that he had no idea how to deal with it. The revolutionaries had all agreed that it wasn't right for Sakura to walk home alone, and despite Jean's insistence that he would go with her instead, decided that Estelle's suggestion was for the best.

And that was how the two bitter enemies ended up walking together down the dark and abandoned backstreets of the Sun Country.

Deidara kept his guard up, alert for any sudden movements or a suggestion that she was reaching for a kunai. But the girl made no hostile actions and seemed equally tense, watching him out of the corner of her eye. He knew she had at least a few concealed weapons, but she didn't appear to be heavily armed. More and more he had the feeling that she wasn't there with the express purpose of hunting him down, and that their meeting was purely due to a horrible coincidence.

At last, when he was certain the revolutionary base was out of earshot and he could no longer stand the silence, he rounded on her and demanded, "What the hell are you doing here, yeah?"

Her temper snapped at the same time and she hissed back, "I could ask you the same! You're supposed to be dead!"

That was at least a relief to hear – if she was surprised to see him alive, she hadn't been sent to look for him. That still didn't answer his question though, and there was another small detail that had to be addressed.

"You didn't tell anyone who I am," he said, watching her guarded expression.

"You should be glad – for all their talk of peace and nonviolence, I take it they don't know about your past."

"And if they won't even let you walk home alone, they probably don't know yours either."

The girl nodded slightly, still on edge. "Are you going to leave the group now?" she asked.

"Why would I do that, yeah?" he sneered. "Don't think of yourself so highly."

She clenched her fists, and Deidara was almost amused that she was so easy to annoy. "Well I'm not leaving either."

"I didn't ask you to."

Her fists tightened. This was too easy.

"Why are you with them anyway?" she asked, her voice harsh and full of malice. "They're a bit of a step down for you."

"Maybe, but you're not really one to speak -- for the high and mighty Konoha I think this qualifies as slumming it," he shot back.

"What do you mean 'high and mighty' --" she began furiously, but stopped short at the appearance of a grin on his face.

She wasn't a missing-nin if she was still willing to defend her village, he concluded, pleased with himself. That only left a few other options.

Clearly unsettled by his sudden good mood, she set her mouth in a thin line. "Look," she said, changing the topic, "I won't tell them anything about you if you don't say anything about me. Just leave me alone, and I'll do the same for you."

The fact that she so desperately wanted her identity to remain a secret was the last hint he needed. She wouldn't need to take any precautions if she'd been hired by the revolutionaries, so that left him with only one other guess at her motives.

"That sounds alright," he said, making sure to smirk at her because it was obvious she didn't like that. Hoping that his guess was right, he added: "I wouldn't want to interfere with your mission – can't have you screwing up after the Sun Country finally broke down and hired you, yeah?"

Sakura tried to keep her face neutral and cover up the stumble in her step, but she wasn't much of an actress. Deidara congratulated himself and watched as she kept her eyes fixed straight ahead and swallowed hard.

Before she got any crazy ideas of taking him out to preserve the secrecy of her mission, he continued: "I really don't care, you know. It's not like I'm not going to stop you from assassinating them all."

Her face went through a few contortions of anger and disbelief before finally settling on confusion. "Then why are you even helping them?"

He shrugged and decided to save the artistic lecture for another time. "Sounds like it might be fun."

She stared at him for a moment, then turned away and muttered something that sounded like a remark about his mental state. Deidara was in too good of a mood to take offence – now not only could he destroy the Sun Country under a legitimate pretence, he'd also get to watch the downfall of the impossibly annoying revolutionaries. If ever the girl's mission began to pose a threat to him, he'd take off for somewhere else. He'd just have to watch his back.

At last, life had become exciting again.

The girl continued to watch him silently. She had calmed down and eyed him cautiously, still tense and ready to act. It had been easy to bait her, but Deidara was suddenly reminded that he still needed to be cautious. It wouldn't do for him to forget that she'd killed his former partner. And as much as he tried to avoid admitting it, he wasn't the same as he used to be. A bit angry with his own carelessness, he scowled at her.

The girl took a deep breath and seemed to gather her courage. "Truce?" she offered uneasily.

He eyed her warily, but decided that he really didn't care if she slaughtered the entire revolutionary group, just as long as he got to explode at least a couple architectural monstrosities. He nodded.

"For now."

A/N: If you're seeing references to history or cinema, you're probably right. Some of the biggest ones: Jean Jaurès was a famous French socialist, and just about every French town has a street named after him. The Conspiracy of Equals was a real organization during the time of the Directory, but was infiltrated and destroyed by the government. Supposedly they were also one of the first major groups to have advocated the use of revolutionary cells. I hope you enjoyed this chapter, and thank you to all reviewers!