She was only twenty-two, and I didn't know if I was ready to let her go.
"You're marrying an Uchiha?"
"Isn't it great?" Moujo swooned as she practically danced across the room.
I suppose it was good that Moujo was to marry. Especially into such a prestigious clan. Especially to the boy who had recently been named Hokage.
"You'll never have to go on another mission, Daddy!" Moujo said excitedly. "You can retire if you want! Don't act like you're not happy for me!"
I guess I had dozed off. I was suddenly awakened when the front door opened and Sanjo entered, dropping a stack of mail in my lap. She was sixteen and fortunately, still belonged to me.
"Father, the mail came." She told me as she sat down across from me.
I sighed and began sifting through the mail. I bypassed the bills and the junk when I noticed a pink letter at the bottom of the pile.
"That looks like one of Moujo's." commented Sanjo.
"It does." I agreed as I opened it up. "I recognize her pink stationary."
"You're having a big wedding?"
I sat in one of the pews at the church and watched my daughter standing at the alter with one of the Uchiha boys. Tsuma was sitting next to me, trying her best to keep a dry eye, and on the other side of me were my two younger daughters who couldn't be bothered with tears.
I could only watch as she threw her bouquet up in the air and dash down the isle with the Uchiha boy. I stood up and watched them go out the doors as the pews emptied, chasing after them.
She was gone now. No longer in my care.
I unfolded the letter and read it over once.
"What does it say?" Sanjo asked.
How could my daughter be pregnant? Tsuma had just practically given birth to her.
I didn't really know how to respond, so I gave her the letter.
She read it over.
"Already?" she said with a raised eyebrow.
"It's surprising." I said, taking the letter back. "But she did marry an Uchiha."
"That's true." Sanjo said. "Is Jijo home yet?"
"She's upstairs." I answered. At least, she had been there the last time I checked.
"What's the word?" Sanjo asked. "Is she a jounin?"
"She didn't say." I replied.
"Oh." Said Sanjo.
"You're moving out?"
"Of course I am, Daddy!" laughed Moujo as she and her new husband packed up some of her things. "I'm married now. I can't live here!"
I watched as her husband did the heavy lifting.
"Do you need help?" I asked.
"No problem, Dad." He said. "I wouldn't want you to strain anything."
I frowned. This boy was not my son. What right did he have to call me "Dad"?
He kissed my daughter on the forehead and tramped down the stairs. Moujo looked at me with wide, excited eyes. She still could have been six years old if I thought about it enough.
"Where's Mom?" Sanjo asked.
"She's at the grocery store." I said.
"I thought she hated the grocery store." Sanjo said.
"She does." I said. "But we don't have any cheese and she had a craving for grilled cheese sandwiches."
"Good." Said Sanjo. "Mom makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich."
I eyed the pink stationary. This boy had never asked my permission to impregnate my daughter. They had only been married for about a year. It was too early for her to start a family. I was only just getting married at her age.
"Why did Jijo go upstairs?" Sanjo asked.
I looked at Sanjo. She certainly seemed talkative today. "She didn't say." I told her.
"She'll probably want to know that Moujo is pregnant." Sanjo said.
"We'll tell her when she comes downstairs." I said.
"You're going on a trip?"
"Daddy, wow!" Moujo exclaimed. "I've never seen you so concerned! It's not far away, only off to the Sand Village."
"A trip?" I repeated.
"It's not really even a trip." Moujo assured me. "Senjou just needs to talk to the Kazekage about some things and I'm coming along so he doesn't get lonely on the journey, and I don't get lonely waiting for him to come back."
"You could stay with us until he gets back."
I could still remember her laughter, as she thought I had cracked the first joke I had ever cracked.
But I was serious. I'm always serious.
My second daughter came down the stairs. "Are you a jounin?" I asked.
She nodded. "I expected it." She said.
"We all did." Sanjo agreed.
"I thought I heard something about Moujo." Said Jijo as she came down and sat next to Sanjo.
"She's pregnant." I said.
Jijo nodded as if she approved. I didn't approve. But I suppose no one ever asked me if I approved.
"What now?" Jijo said. "You're going to be a grandfather now."
Well. So I was. Another reason to dislike this boy.
"You're not coming home afterwards?"
"We're going to meet up with friends to celebrate our anniversary and then Senjou and I are going back home." Moujo answered as she backed off the front steps. "But thanks for thinking of me, Daddy!"
I watched her go over to her husband who stood at the end of the walk and waved to me. I didn't wave back.
"I'm back…" Tsuma opened the door with a few bags of groceries.
"I thought you were only getting cheese." I said as I got up to take the bags from her before she complained that I was forcing her to carry them all.
"Well, I saw some other things that I needed." Tsuma answered as I followed her to the kitchen where she gestured for me to put the groceries on the table. The girls came in and started putting the things away as Tsuma got out the pan to make her grill cheese sandwich. We all worked in silence.
"Moujo's pregnant." I reported.
Tsuma dropped the pan on the floor and looked up at me in horror.
"What?" she demanded.
"We just got the letter." I said.
"When did this happen?" she said.
"Apparently recently." I answered.
Tsuma picked up the pan with a grunt and threw it back in the drawer. "I'll be in our room." She said as she stormed out of the room and up the stairs.
"Perhaps you should have softened the blow." Sanjo said.
"You're moving further away?"
"It's just a couple of extra miles!" Moujo said. "I can still see the Hokage Mountain from our new home."
"But into the Uchiha villa? You're not an Uchiha."
"Yes I am, Daddy!" said Moujo. "I am now!"
"You won't be able to visit us as often." I pointed out.
"I'll write." Moujo said with a nod.
"I don't think I want you to live there." I said.
"Daddy, Senjou can't be the only Uchiha not living in the Uchiha villa." Moujo said as if such a thought was ridiculous. "It's a nice area. It'll be a good place to raise kids!"
"Kids?" I said.
"Forget I said it!" Moujo laughed. "Hey, the decision's not final yet, though. How about you all come over and check it out?"
But the decision was final.
"Shino, I didn't expect you!" Kiba said as he opened his door. "You hardly ever show up unannounced!"
"Hello, Shino!" said Hinata happily.
"Hello." I greeted them both. "Sorry for barging in. I need some advice."
"It's no trouble at all!" said Kiba. "Come on in!"
Kiba's daughter married an Uchiha boy as well. And, since his daughter's husband and my daughter's husband were brothers, I guess Kiba and I were now somehow related. Distantly, but still related.
"What was it like for you when your daughter became pregnant for the first time?" I asked.
Hinata almost burst out laughing. "Kiba almost fainted!"
"I did not!" Kiba protested.
Hinata nodded at me.
"She's lying to make me look stupid." Kiba insisted.
"Why ask this, Shino?" Hinata questioned. "Is Moujo pregnant?"
"That's great news!" said Kiba. "Congratulations! You're going to be a grandfather now!"
I guess he noticed that I was not thrilled.
"Buck up, Shino." Kiba backtracked. "Keep in mind that every girl who gets pregnant is somebody's daughter! Even Tsuma, believe it or not!"
"I know that, Kiba." I said, throwing a glare at him.
"Well then." Said Kiba. "I guess my suspicions are finally confirmed. You, my friend, are an overprotective father! And don't try to deny it because you KNOW you are!"
"I'm not." I denied.
"Shino…denial never helped anyone." Kiba said.
"Kiba, don't pester Shino." Hinata said. "Shino, think of it this way. You've been down ever since Moujo married. Why? Because you're upset that you won't be there to protect her like you used to be able to. But like Kiba said, every girl is somebody's daughter and every girl eventually has to go off and get married. Just like Jijo and Sanjo will someday too."
"You can't hang onto them forever." Kiba added.
"You know, Shino, you're going to have to hold her eventually! You can't always just make ME do all the work!"
"She likes you more."
"If you held her more often then she would like you too."
I could count on one hand how many times I held Moujo when she was a child.
"I guess…I should have held her more."
"Don't look at it like that." Hinata said.
I stood up. "Thank you." I said as I went to the door. "I think I have to congratulate Moujo on her pregnancy."
I opened the door and looked back at Kiba and Hinata still sitting there, watching me leave.
"Kiba, I still owe you a Best Man speech." I said.
"Forget about it, Shino." Said Kiba. "I don't need it."
"Why are you so upset?"
"It's not a son."
I knocked on the door of the Uchiha villa, the first time I had come to visit Moujo at her home. As I waited for the door to open, I looked around the yard. It was a rather nice place to raise children.
The door opened and Moujo was there. At first, she looked surprised, but then she beamed with happiness and sheer joy.