Title: Ordinary Fish People

Author: Sintari

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

Hinata bent down and dropped a kiss on top of her husband's bowed head. Neji was writing the report of his latest mission with all the seriousness with which he tackled every task. His shoulders were tensed, and his head was cocked to the side as he reread. His only response was absently reaching back and squeezing her hand before he added another sentence.

"Will you be done soon?" she asked, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible, as was her habit.

"Approximately an hour."

"Oh." Their dinner was already cold, but then he didn't much care what you put in front of him as long as it wasn't poisonous. He had been gone for nine days, and though he was physically back from his mission, the mission still had him in its grip. Hinata missed him and he was three feet away.

Sensing her hesitation, Neji looked up. "It's just that I can't get this chart right, is all. I'm afraid if I delay I'll forget vital details."

"I'll rub your shoulders then," Hinata suggested. "You're awfully tense."

Neji gave her a grateful half-smile. "That might help."

As she massaged the tension out of his muscles, Hinata marveled again that she had permission – legal rights – to touch this fine man. What was even more marvelous was that he allowed it. And really, when she thought about it, it was marvelous that he took it for granted. For so long after they finally came together, he treated her like a treasure too fragile to touch. They were growing comfortable. Hinata couldn't find too much fault in that.

Neji tapped his fingers on the table, still staring hard at the report.

"Finished?" Hinata bent and whispered in his ear. When he didn't answer, she traced her tongue down the shell of his ear. That made Neji straighten up in his chair.

But by then Hinata had glimpsed the chart he was drawing. It was a human body, her specialty. But the tenketsu were off somehow. Resting her head on Neji's shoulder, she reached over him and pointed to a trouble spot.

"The lung tenketsu are oddly formed. That's more like a dolphin or maybe a… shark. Definitely something that breathes water. But there are no gills…."

Neji looked back at her. He seemed a bit disoriented, "What?"

"Those tenketsu," she explained. "Out of order. Either you drew them wrong or you were dealing with a fish person, Neji."

Neji had been sitting very still in his seat while she examined the chart. Now he abruptly stood up.

"What do I care about fish people?" he said slowly, meeting her eyes. He reached down and brought her hand up to his mouth, kissing her palm with the lightest of touches.

Hinata smiled sweetly. "I thought you had to finish that report before you forgot vital details?"

Neji was staring at her, hard. It was the way he stared down an enemy while thinking up his strategy, except this time he was smiling, right at her, and Hinata had a feeling his plans for the next few hours had nothing to do with battle.

"What about the fish person?" she asked when he lifted her off her feet.

"Fish people," he said dismissively while slipping a hand under the hem of her shirt. "How mundane compared to you."

END