Shamelessly inspired by "El Tango de Roxanne" from Moulin Rouge. ^^ I thought Gai, who would undoubtedly have romantic and old-fashioned ideas about love and devotion, would be especially upset if Anko took a mission that put in her bed with another man. Especially if they were a couple and he loved her. I mean, sheesh. But then again, "where there is not trust, there can be no love..." no? ;) Kakashi makes a cameo cuz I love him.

I don't own Naruto or Moulin Rouge. But enjoy! :)


Gai sat on a bench across from the deserted schoolhouse in silence, looking up every so often and feeling only mild disappointment at the lack of stars above the village. Though stargazing was ordinarily one of his favorite activities, he had far too much on his mind that particular night to waste discontent on something so comparatively minor. His thoughts were racing on a thousand different tracks, threatening to collide.

Anko coyly accepting a drink from a faceless man in a dirty bar.

Anko shedding her trenchcoat and smiling that smile she always saved for him.

Anko crawling into someone else's bed, a half a country away…

Gai had wandering the streets for awhile, but eventually it had begun to feel like the constant shuffle of the gravel beneath his feet was an abominable distraction. Everything was a distraction. In fact, he had told Lee to end training earlier because he needed sleep for a mission, but it was really just because he needed silence to think.

He didn't know why he wanted so badly to think, because thinking only made it worse. A distraction would have made him feel infinitely better, in reality. But no. That would be horribly wrong. He would never be able to live with himself if he sat idly by.

Picking a leaf off a nearby tree, Gai regarded it for a moment. It was their symbol. The village's symbol. It stood for everything they held dear and fought to maintain. He knew he would give anything, his life included, for the safety of his precious village, but they shouldn't ask her to.

Especially if they were going to ask her to give that.

Gai crushed the leaf in his fist, his eyes narrowing in frustration. However, before he had time to mash it to a pulp (as he had been intending to) a gloved hand atop his own interrupted him.

"You don't look so well," Kakashi remarked.

"My eternal rival!" Gai exclaimed, jumping to his feet. "What brings you to this empty square tonight? Have you masterminded a new challenge?"

"No," Kakashi replied evenly, taking a seat where Gai had been only moments before. "Just a bout of insomnia. Besides… you don't look up to any sort of face-off right now. Sit back down and talk with me."

Gai paused for a moment. Though he didn't want to admit it, some fierce competition might have been welcome – perhaps an acceptable sort of distraction. The kind that wouldn't make him a heartless cad who sat around while his true love seduced another man.

"Talk to me, Gai," Kakashi insisted.

Sighing deeply, Gai took a seat back on the bench.

"It's Anko," he said simply.

Much to Gai's chagrin, Kakashi laughed out loud.

"That I could have figured," he said, shaking his head. "What's she up to now? It's always something."

"It's not like that," Gai said. "She's on a mission from Tsunade."

"And you're worried about her safety?" Kakashi asked. Clearly he still wasn't impressed. He knew as well as anyone what kind of warrior Anko was. The last thing anyone needed to worry about was somebody getting the better of her. She was about as twice as strong as any man and at least three times as smart.

"I know what you're thinking," Gai said sternly. "You think I'm overreacting just because I'm in love. But it's not that. I know she can take care of herself. It's… not injury I'm worried about."

"Then what could possibly be the matter?"

Gai paused. His reluctance was born of a mixture of discomfort and pain. The pain that he knew would come from saying the words out loud. However, the desperation for relief and empathy finally won him over. Anything was better than keeping everything locked away inside, after all.

"It's one of those missions," he said finally.

Kakashi was confused for a moment, but only a moment. And when the realization came, it hit him like a load of bricks.

Anko was on a mission to seduce information out of an enemy shinobi. Most all of the kunoichi were presented with those occasionally – after all, there were situations in which diplomacy called for a more subtle extraction of information than torture. When Anko accepted the scroll, it became her duty to do whatever was necessary to coax the words from the preordained mercenary – up to, and including, sleeping with him.

Kakashi nodded slowly, indicating that he finally understood.

"Oh."

"I couldn't tell her not to go," Gai began. "She's been taking those missions ever since she got old enough, and you know she thinks it's her duty. By suggesting I didn't want her to accept the assignment would be getting between her and her devotion to the village. You know that that's not my place."

"She wouldn't take it well," Kakashi agreed. "So what did you do?"

"I hugged her especially tightly and told her to be careful," Gai said miserably. "Then I let her go."

"That's all you could do," Kakashi said.

The silence that had hung so heavily prior to Kakashi's arrival resumed, and Gai squeezed his eyes shut tightly. The words of his archrival were actually making him feel a little less miserable. There was just one thing… and it was something that he wasn't sure how to begin putting into words. So he didn't think he was going to try.

He was afraid she didn't love him anymore.

A part of Maito Gai insisted that if Anko cared about him as much as she said she did, she wouldn't have accepted the mission at all. She would have realized what it would put him through and told Tsunade to find herself another kunoich for the job. Or maybe, just maybe, Anko wouldn't want to give herself to another man. Maybe it would hurt too much to make herself that vulnerable to a stranger. To give a piece of herself away that so truly and rightly belonged to Gai.

If she really loved him.

It was about that point that the silence between the two men was split by footsteps in the distance. They sounded as though they were coming from the direction of the village gates.

Movement at that time of night was highly unsual… and highly suspect.

"You flank me from the shadows – I'll approach," Kakashi said, jumping to his feet. Gai wasn't really surprised that his rival had managed to think more quickly than he had – in that moment at least. So he nodded, slinking back towards the overhang of the buildings and following a few steps behind Kakashi. Their progress was quick, and they managed to catch the person just as she ran through the gates.

As soon as Gai saw who it was, his assignment to the shadows was long forgotten. Kakashi nodded as he emerged and gave him a quick salute before disappearing into the night.

"Anko!" Gai exclaimed, holding out his arms. She looked up for the first time, tearstains visible above the upturned collar of her coat.

"Gai!" she shouted.

Both of them picked up their pace, and before either knew it, she was crying into the chest of his jounin vest and his arms were locked tightly around her waist.

"I couldn't do it," she sobbed. "I got as far as the tavern. Then I saw his face and I remembered the look in your eyes as I left and I just couldn't pretend anymore. I've never failed a mission, but I knew that whatever happened if I went home with him would be worse than failure."

"Shhh," Gai whispered in her ear. "It's okay now. You've come back to me. And you'll never have to go there… go to anyone else… again. As for the mission… I don't care. Nobody cares. You mean so much more than that."

Anko grabbed the back of Gai's head and kissed him deeply before promptly going back to crying.

"Forgive me for trying it," she begged. "Forgive me for leaving Konoha at all. It was stupid and it was wrong. It wasn't worth losing this."

"Of course," Gai exclaimed, realizing his own tears were falling into her hair. "All is forgiven. You're here with me, in my arms, and that's all that could ever matter here in this life."

"Gai, I love you," she said, her hand sliding down from his hair to cup his face as she kissed him again. He returned the kiss in earnest, only dimly realizing that it was the first time she'd ever said those words to him. He was too wrapped up in the moment.

"Come back home with me," he insisted. "Don't spend the night alone."

"Of course I'm going with you," she replied, wiping her eyes and managing to take his hand. "I'm never spending the night in anyone's bed besides yours ever, ever again."

As Gai led Anko back to his apartment, his heart was glowing.

Never, ever again…