Hiya.

Sorry for the late update. I just haven't been able to write much. And I had to merge chapters #9 and #10 to make this work. Needed an overhaul, lol. :)

Anyway, because I've been asked about this enough times (and I wanna say it): there once was a GaaSaku story called Gaara's Sex-Ed that made me want to write a GaaSaku humour multi. It was the first thought that eventually led to My Enemy, My Friend. But MEMF was actually set in motion by my love of KakaSaku. Seduction missions are predominantly a KakaSaku cliché. But in that pairing, it's mostly Sakura losing her virginity to Kakashi so she can go on seduction missions. I got the idea in my head of merging my OTP (GaaSaku) with one of my favourite non-GaaSaku clichés but obviously, My Enemy, My Friend is different again.

To those who asked, I hope that clears things up. Enjoy! ^_^

– Chapter 9 –
.:. Affairs of the Heart .:.

Night-time was a thing of beauty in the village hidden in the sand. The sky was always clear, the stars were always out, and romantics everywhere were gushing over the idyllic atmosphere of the night air. And someone, somewhere, was getting his or her rocks off to some mellifluous tune: many, many people... He was envious really – mostly because Sakura was having all the sex on this mission, and he had just spent the majority of his Friday night following old codgers around instead of getting lucky.

So much for his big brotherly advice that she steers clear of the overbearing Kazekage: but she wanted to stick close to him, no matter how this turned out. That and she was right – it would be far too suspicious for her to suddenly stop seeing him.

Sighing, Tenzou gazed up at the sky; through the open roof of the bathhouse, he had the perfect view of the crescent moon. It was brilliant against the stars, but not bright.

Perfect...

Yeah, he was a romantic at heart; he was still looking for the "one" though. Most ninja never found him/her, and he heard it was the same for civilians. People just weren't as lucky as they thought.

Thought...

It made him think of Sakura, her crush on Gaara, and everything Naruto had told him about it before they'd embarked on this mission.

"She's infatuated, Yamato, but she won't do anything about it," Naruto had said.

"So you'll force her into a seduction mission just to get her over to Suna?"

"Nah, she has a choice sensei."

Sensei...

Old habits of martial authority were hard to break. As Hokage, Naruto outranked all of his surviving, former sensei's, and yet still couldn't address them as anything but. Kakashi had been in the room too, and from what Tenzou could tell, already knew everything Naruto was saying.

"It's a risk," the copy-ninja agreed with the wood master. "But one that she otherwise refuses to take: don't worry, it'll work out."

Tenzou had glared at him then. "It's not a risk – it's downright reckless."

But the conversation had continued, and Tenzou understood a little more of what was going through Naruto's head: still, it bothered him. Until this was all over, and Sakura was definitely not heart-broken, he wasn't going to relax. No matter how much faith Naruto had in both Sakura and Gaara, Tenzou didn't trust the redhead. He was a Kage, popular, powerful, and despite the tribulations he'd experienced in his young life, was not above hurting others – accidentally or no.

"You're an odd man."

Tenzou looked over at the men nearby – the one that had spoken was Councillor Noboru, a man who had a penchant for stating the obvious. What the hell was he going on about now?

Tenzou "hn'd" him, mildly disrespectfully. "Says the black tea pot."

The other councillors (there were five of them here tonight) gave Hayato varying degrees of expressions, from shocked to annoyed, to downright pissed off. But Noboru just shrugged, like he'd expected that response.

"We all need a bit of R&R once in a while."

Two hours... two hours of following them around, to see where they were going, then beating them to the onsen to assuage any suspicion, and to get them to finally speak around him.

He could handle any shite they had to say.

Besides, following a handful of the Sunagakure councillors around hadn't been a picnic, and he was glad he could rest in the hot springs afterward. Tenzou smirked at the older man. "Because Friday nights were meant for pleasure."

Noboru chuckled. "Indeed."

Tenzou let his gaze drift back toward the night sky. From the southern sand tower, the civilian district was a clear route for ninja, and it was there that he'd realise where these old men had been heading. He had followed them, from the western district, to the north western tower, then south, south-west, west, and finally, to the southern sand tower, making a distinct beeline for the southernmost onsen in the village. They were careful as they moved, in how they moved, and how they checked to make sure that no-one was following them – no less than he expected, from such high level ninja. It made his success in finally pinning them down all the more satisfying. He decided to use one of his own versions of the Mokuton abilities he inherited, for this one.

The paranoid gits.

But it had actually been a lot of fun.

'I need to get out more.'

Tenzou wasn't sure what his play here was going to be, until they were graced with the presence of a sixth councillor – Shin. He remembered that the man's personal assistant was in a budding friendship with Sakura, and perked up when he heard the feminine voice through the screen that separated the male and female sections of the onsen.

This was his play.

'And I am in no way compensating for my recent, abysmal sex life,' he thought, trying to convince himself.

He gave it a few minutes before leaving the springs and heading into the changing rooms. Placing a bug on a councillor was not something he had been looking forward to – mostly with the risk factor – but Shin was apparently the councillor who dealt directly with Gaara the most. So Yoshiko Mori was the easier (but not necessarily easy) target. If the two were as close as he'd heard, then Yoshiko would most likely hear everything Tenzou needed to know.

He just needed to wait for her, outside the women's changing area.

"And who are you?"

He looked up at her as she approached, noting he'd only been waiting for half an hour – she moved quick.

"Hayato Nakayama," he grunted.

"Ah, Sayuri's brother." She held out her hand. "It's a pleasure."

He smirked, taking her hand and kissing it lightly. She didn't blush, but he noted the way her eyes appraised him intently.

"It doesn't explain why you're waiting here," she said, moving behind a partition to change.

"Sayuri's been tied up with the Kazekage," he said, mentally shivering at that image. "And I suppose I'm lonely."

Yoshiko stepped out a minute later, curiosity keeping her from calling him a pervert and chasing him out of the bathhouse. He appraised her also. She was in her mid-thirties, from the looks, and from what he'd heard from Sakura, had a preteen daughter. Tenzou was glad that Sakura had been spending a lot of her off time with Yoshiko (if only she'd spend less with the Kazekage). Their budding friendship reminded him of the one the pinkette had with Shizune, the former fifth Hokage's apprentice.

He sighed. Those were the days.

"I'm heading home," she said finally, a cheeky smirk challenging him. "My daughter's with friends for the weekend and I have the place to myself."

She was testing him – both to see how he'd react to the fact that she was a mother, and whether or not he'd be willing to go home with the woman he just met. The latter was obvious, he thought.

Yoshiko was attractive enough, he supposed; Tenzou could understand why the old man, Councillor Shin, kept her around. She was older than him, but that didn't bother him. It bothered Hayato even less. He grinned, returning her cheeky smirk.

"I wouldn't say no to a night cap."

No more words were necessary. She gathered up her things, and led the way. More excited than he'd anticipated and grinning, Tenzou followed her out of the onsen, with every intention of following up on his recent comment of pleasure. It was after all, the perfect way to bug someone without them noticing.

...

It was almost sunrise, the following Sunday morning (the 14th of July), and Sakura was nervous. Every Sunday they talked with Naruto via his summons, and even though she wouldn't hear his energetic voice, the scrawls that passed as his writing always made her feel like he was right there with her.

She missed him.

She wanted to hug him.

She wanted to strangle him.

And every time, he asked her inappropriate questions about Gaara's performance.

It was driving her mad.

Sitting next to Tenzou, she fidgeted – he didn't comment. They weren't arguing, but the fact that she was still seeing Gaara outside of being his personal assistant was bothering him. But it wasn't like they were going public, with the hand holding, dating, whatever. Sakura understood Gaara's wariness about parading what they were doing in front of the populous. He was the Kazekage after all, and she his lowly secretary. Neither of them knew what they had, just that they wanted to keep doing it.

So they ate dinner at his place, did what other couples did on dates (just behind closed doors), and woke up naked, wrapped around each other. She knew this was all going to end when her mission was over so, she was milking it for all it was worth. And she avoided his more diehard fan girls, just to be on the safe side.

She was terrified, but euphoric at the same time, while in his arms...

The same toad that they always communicated with their Hokage via made its scheduled appearance in the small but empty koi pond (in the apartment block where they were living, as few places in Suna were compatible with the toad's aquatic needs), as the sun glinted orange at them as it started to rise into the air. The people in this apartment complex were all civilian and therefore less likely to wake this early – they never did.

Tenzou was sitting on the rocks encircling the pond, having positioned himself to block the view of the toad summons just in case anyone did peek outside their doors while they were writing their responses to Naruto. Sakura ignored the look on his face – ever since she'd come home Saturday morning to find that he'd been out all night as well, and realised who he'd been with, she'd avoided the subject of sex around him. He still didn't approve of Gaara, Yoshiko was becoming a fast friend, and she thought of Tenzou as a big brother – big 'no-no' on the details... thank Kami very much.

She wasn't Ino, to who gossiping was as necessary as breathing – that and she'd never felt comfortable hearing about anyone's sex life.

"Good morning," Sakura chimed to the toad (whose name she'd long since forgotten), and he croaked at her, producing a scroll in a puff of smoke. She took it, and Tenzou read over her shoulder:

'Morning Sakura-chan, Yamato-sensei!
Report please. Oh yeah, and Kakashi-sensei says "hi" from yesterday. Bastard's
again too "busy" to get up this early. Lazy arse.'

These letters were never cryptic, as the summons allowed them the utmost secrecy, and Naruto was crazed, as usual.

Tenzou took the first round, responding with everything he'd learned – from the unsubstantial rumours to the ridiculous. It wasn't much, but that was what they got for taking a mission that was based solely on underground rumours.

'Are you okay Sakura-chan?'

She looked down at his second letter a few minutes after the toad had disappeared. His chicken scrawl indicated he'd written it quickly, so he'd obviously mused on it for a minute or two. Still, why must he read her so clearly? She wrote back (ignoring Tenzou's curious stare):

'I'm fine Naruto.'

They waited a full thirty seconds before the toad reappeared with his response.

'No you're not. But I promise everything will work out – that's what Kakashi-sensei keeps telling me, so it must be true. ^_^ How did you go with the job aspect of keeping Gaara's bed warm? ;)'

Sakura sighed, and looked up as Tenzou shifted slightly. "You don't have to hang around, you know."

"I'm staying," he said. "Besides, if I leave, and someone comes out and sees–"

"Yeah, whatever."

He just smiled at her, letting her take control of the back and forth with Naruto – since he seemingly had nothing more to add.

'I'm trying to figure out how I feel, while making peace I suppose, with the fact that I'm lying to him.'

His reply was fast.

'What's love but compromise, arguing, and lots of make-up sex? ;)'

"What's love..." Sakura let that sentence get away from her.

'Compromise, acceptance and desire.'

'Very wise Sakura-chan. ^_^ Do you have anything else to report?'

Sakura looked at Tenzou, who nodded. "I put a bug on Yoshiko," he said. "She's close to Councillor Shin, who's the one that deals with Gaara most – it's our best shot now."

Sakura relayed this, and it took Naruto a full five minutes to respond.

'I spoke with Shikamaru after your last communiqué, and he says "hi" and that Yoshiko and Shin were rumoured years ago to have had an affair. He was her sensei on her genin squad and the team was broken up after the rumours started. Then she fell pregnant and no-one knows who the father is.'

"Why do I feel like I'm in the middle of a soap opera?" Tenzou asked, annoyed.

Sakura bit her bottom lip. Yoshiko had yet to mention anything to her about Samara's father; she had the feeling that maybe the rumours were true, and the woman just couldn't bring herself to come out and admit it – when it came to such indiscretions, Suna was incredibly intolerant. She wasn't sure how Naruto thought this relevant thought. She sighed, and continued reading Naruto's letter:

'Well, that's it. Let me know what comes of that route. I have to tell you that we've heard of movement along the borders between wind and birds. We think there's a ninja (not sure if rogue or not, but probably) gathering an army. It may not be connected to the rumours about Gaara, but it's said the leader was last seen heading toward wind's capital. Stay safe.'

Sakura chuckled, and responded.

'I'll be safe, as long I don't act like you.'

She gave the scroll to the toad wondering, as it disappeared again, if it ever got annoyed doing this. Naruto's response was quick.

'That's so mean Sakura-chan. Don't be naughty. ;P'

Sakura just sighed, rolling her eyes at his cheek. "It's like this whole thing's a game to him."

"Naruto does give off that impression," Tenzou agreed.

He took the scroll, leaving his own remark in ink.

"Someone's coming," he said a moment later and quickly handed the letter back to the toad. "Tell him we had to leave."

The toad croaked in understanding and disappeared again.

They stood up and stepped away from the pond leisurely, glancing toward the noise Tenzou had heard.

It was just the landlord. The aging man could barely see three feet in front of him, but he was sweet. Sakura liked talking with him when she ran into him – he always had a new joke or two, and they shared the same sense of humour. She watched him trudge slowly up the staircase and all the way toward the apartment three doors down from the one she shared with her faux brother, before using his cane to knock on the wood.

"Mrs Kiyomizu is late with her rent again." Tenzou noted.

...

"Rumour has it he's looking for an old gold mine that never actually ran dry."

"Wrong; he's looking for a wife – one with big bazookas."

"You're pathetic."

"Hey, he's a little on the short side for a guy – he's gotta compensate somehow."

"Like you?"

"..."

"The council's on his arse about that, huh?"

"I hear it's actually his sister pushing him into it."

"The blonde chick with the pigtails?"

"Yeah-huh."

"She's scary. I'd find a wife to get her off my arse, too."

"You have a wife, dick face."

"She's getting engaged too you know; some leaf rat keeps coming to visit her."

"That's old news."

"I still say this is all over a gold mine."

Tenzou tuned out, bored. The people of Suna might care whether it was the council or Temari that nagged the Kazekage about getting married, but he didn't. Five men sat around a table, not even bothering to keep their voices down, and he was tired of all the extraneous information. He'd planted his bug on Yoshiko Friday night, nothing had come of it (yet), and now it was Monday; he was cooling his heels in The Shady Corner. The damn, low-life pub was getting on his nerves, since it wasn't a veritable fountain of information tonight – and hadn't been for days.

Something big was going down and damn it, he wanted to know what it was!

There were last minute shift changes on the tower look-outs surrounding Suna, but that wasn't unheard of in a Shinobi village. The fact that they were done quietly might hint something, but what that something might be, he didn't know.

Deciding to give The Shady Corner the flick, Tenzou slammed down his glass and walked out.

Wandering the streets, he debated just heading back to the apartment he shared with Sakura.

She had been feeling more and more useless, so Tenzou suggested she make a surprise visit to Gaara's home tonight; he didn't like it, but ultimately she was right about them needing something more concrete, from the Kazekage himself. They'd talked about it after communicating with Naruto yesterday. She hadn't wanted to talk, by the looks of it, but he couldn't just let it all hang in the air. They were on a mission – a potentially disastrous one, politically speaking – and they needed to clear the air. And make sure they were on the same page.

He'd started by apologising for the way he'd been with her about the Kazekage. He just didn't want to see her set herself up to get hurt again. She was much like him, and Kakashi, in the fact that her love life was abysmal, and she didn't seem to understand what was best for her. Tenzou had dated a number of women over the years, but never been in love. Kakashi was a one night stand guy, but had admitted to Tenzou in a drunken slur, that he quite liked the idea of falling in love. Sakura had been in love, but never with anyone who cared about her, so her relationships had fizzled and died, quickly.

The common denominator was the outcome.

Gaara was bound to be just another disappointment to her, he told her. But Sakura didn't believe the Kazekage would hurt her. Maybe, since he didn't know who she really was.

On her side of their discussion, Sakura admitted she knew this wasn't a long term thing. She wasn't being a blind teenager hopped up on hormones. She was making the most of a delicate situation and she believed that Naruto's reasoning for sending her here wasn't about Gaara. They were about her. So no matter what happened, she would return to Konoha with a clear head. She hoped.

But Tenzou wasn't stupid – if she could be with Gaara, openly, honestly, and forever, she would.

But he let it go.

She hugged him, thanked him, promised she would not let her liaisons with the Kazekage go to her head, and went back to bed – she wasn't a morning person, and especially on a weekend.

But she was still hurting over it.

He wondered if maybe he should track Gaara down again, though he doubted the man would be as scared to death as he'd want him to be... obviously. Their mission was high profile enough, he supposed. But Hayato... he grinned. Hayato would do it anyway.

Sayuri was Hayato's little sister, while Sakura was his. It would feel wrong just to let this go. Kakashi would sigh at him in that disappointed way of his, for letting the opportunity pass; Sai would question his manhood for seemingly not having the balls, and Naruto... well the blonde would probably give him crap missions for a month as punishment for not defending her honour.

It wouldn't matter to them that he'd already talked with Gaara, just that he hadn't done so since. Back in Konoha, the boys of Team Kakashi were constantly keeping "riff raff" away from Sakura.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), his decision was made for him. The wood radio in his ear crackled to life and he high-tailed it to the apartment. It was the only place he felt completely secure in doing this. He'd actually implanted a small radio, like the one he used to communicate with his wood clone, on Yoshiko, instead of the typical ninja issued bug. She had prior ninja training, and on top of that, this reduced the risk of anyone else listening in on him listening in. It needed to be administered to her system periodically as the body digested it every twelve hours, which was why he had spent the last two nights in her house.

Sakura was kind of freaked out to learn he actually did understand the concept of a sex life.

Tenzou smirked at that as he let himself into their apartment, taking note that he was home alone, and vaguely remembering that her hours at the Kazekage building would be over – which meant that she was at Gaara's mansion, again. Or Yoshiko's place – but the former was more likely.

He went straight to his room and sat down on the bed, keeping his body as still as he could. This was far more complicated than simply planting a seed in someone's cocktail and following them at a discreet distance. This required a level of concentration he liked to think was on the same level of sage-hood. Closing his eyes, he focused on his chakra, activating the Mokuton cells in his body to connect with the radio. He'd set it to activate on Shin's voice, so he would only be alerted if it was important. The voices that came through were clear as day. Unlike Sakura, Yoshiko didn't often leave work on time...

"Come in." That was Shin.

"Sensei?" Yoshiko asked.

The councillor sighed. "You don't need to call me that."

Tenzou remembered Yoshiko telling him that Shin had been telling her to drop the title for years – he actually did used to be her sensei. And then, Naruto's juicy gossip popped in his head...

"Hai," she said. "I have those reports you wanted."

"Hm." Paper shuffling. "I see; did you finalise the paperwork for the last of the shift changes?"

"Yes sensei."

"And left it on the Kazekage's desk and not his assistant's, or even the unit captain's?"

"Of course, sensei."

Silence.

"Sensei... may I ask why?"

"Suna will soon play host to a very important guest," he said, his voice suddenly wary. "Not one that many who know of it approve of, mind you, despite... things."

More silence – longer this time.

"Sensei–" Yoshiko began, sounding worried.

"An ally of this magnitude could benefit Suna, Yoshiko."

More paper shuffling.

"But him?"

That line confused Tenzou – she'd only just been told someone was coming, so who could she possibly mean by "him"?

"They will be arriving during the shift change, to avoid attracting attention," Shin said, now sounding imperious rather than the nostalgic form of martial authority he'd addressed her with a moment ago. "And they are coming here to see the Kazekage, in the early, twilight hours of tomorrow morning."


X X X

Sorry – Gaara was going to be in here initially, but I cut his part out when I merged the two chapters. It didn't really feel like it fit anymore. Good news: next chapter is VERY Gaara friendly. ;) Lotsa love! ^_^

R&R.

A quick poll:

Do you have any weird, fanfiction fetishes?

Like, you know how sometimes you look at the reviews of stuff you read, right? Well I have this weird urge every now and then to look at reviews of stories I DON'T read. It's actually eye opening stuff. That's not really all that weird when I compare it to other things I've done in life, but whatever. ;)