STANDARD DISCLAIMERS: Don't own Naruto. Don't sue.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: NejiHina short fic. An idea that would not leave me. Go on and read now. Enjoy, I guess.

A Warm Cup of Tea

Nothing much is happening now. The meal is over. You look at me above the rim of your cup of tea. Your eyes are crinkling into a smile. At least, they're trying to.

Funny how we have the same eyes yet see things in different ways. In different angles. You look at me again with that expression you are so accustomed to since childhood. What we have between us now may have been considered as impossible. I practically couldn't care less. If it would put a stop to you hurling at me at every chance you get. At least now, the Hyuuga household is what we both wanted it to be. Undivided. We agreed to this. And so here we are, in a grand play doing one of its many acts. We perform our roles effortlessly. You as a husband. And me as your wife.

You take a sip. The tea's hot and it burns your tongue. I see the impatience in the deliberate way you put down the cup, making sure the bottom rests perfectly on the saucer's indention. Careful, lest your mouth spill the words I know you need to say but don't want to. Don't worry. I see it. I see that you want to drink your tea, pay and go. I am wishing it is the impatience of a man who can't wait to go to bed with the woman he loves. I laugh a little at the thought.

"What's so funny?" you ask.

"Nothing," I say. It is not something you would care to hear anymore now that you've made up your mind. And I, the only one, permitted to get this dangerously close to you, can't seem to change it anymore.

I look at your hands, callused and strong which is typical for a ninja, cradling a small cup of warm tea. Your hands make me feel as warm as that cup when you lay them directly on my hips, on my chest, or on different parts of my body. But that seems like a long time ago. And that was still part of this grand drama.

"I will be leaving for a mission the day after tomorrow," you say to the cup before looking at me. "I may not be back for a while."

"It is all right, Neji," remember when we agreed to throw out the formalities to make a more believable couple? "I can handle the Main House' affairs by myself. I am not as weak as before," I added. Clearly, that must've brought quite a number of memories to you. Our match in the Chuunin exam. Where you stubbornly tried to make me back out. I probably am as stubborn as you were. Part of it came from the decision to prove myself. That I am no such weakling you perceived me to be. The other half... came from the person I hadn't stopped admiring all these years. But I was not to be disillusioned. This is not some wonderful love story, though I wish it was. I had stopped loving that person ever since our marriage. I had to move on. And I did.

But I think... moving on did more harm than comfort. I have come to love a person probably not capable of loving me in return. A person who married me out of convenience and thinks I probably did the same. I loved a person with the same eyes as mine, but see differently as I do.

Of course, that person was you.

"Of course you are not weak," you nodded.

I nod in return. Looking at the way you hesitate to take my hands resting so near yours, I know you've already gone. I will make it easy for both of us, I tell myself. I will forget the feel of your hands on my skin. I will smile and tell you that I wish for your safety. I will tell you that I will be all right because that is what you want to hear, and that is what I wish to believe. I will not hope that you will be back soon. I will not repeatedly go to the temple everyday to pray for your safety. Though I doubt you'd be needing it anyway. Instead, I will keep in mind that there is nothing between us. That we are just doing this for a pact of peace attained through the merging of the Main House and the Branch House. I will not try to feel your presence in the house while you're away.

You look at me again and sighed. You lifted the tea cup once again and finally drained it of its content.

It's just that the tea is too warm, and I am too cold.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: [smiles] I assume you are finished reading the whole thing? Thank you for reading and bearing with the first Naruto oriented fic I produced! [bows]