Hyuuga Neji lay in bed as the sun filtered through the room. He instinctively moved his arm to his left, but only felt cool bed sheets. He could hear footsteps coming from the kitchen. He rolled to the left and rested his head on the other pillow. It smelt of fabric softener and almonds. Neji wrapped his arms around that pillow and buried his face into it, suffocating himself with her scent.
He brushed his lips against her temple and she giggled into his chest as they bathed in the afterglow. She played with the wedding band on her ring finger and he looked at his own. "We won't be able to wear these on missions." He said.
"Neji, we won't be going on another mission for at least a week." She reminded him. He rested his chin on her pate and wrapped his right arm around her more tightly. She laid her head on his bare chest and traced figures across his stomach. His muscles relaxed and he exhaled. She always knew how to calm him down. And how to excite him.
They made love in silence, their interlocked fingers saying everything.
Neji got up from bed, listening to his bones crack as he stood, and made his way to the adjoining bathroom. He stopped at the dresser and stared down at a carved wooden box. He went to open it, but forced his hand away and instead opened a drawer. He grabbed some clothes and closed the bathroom door behind him. He laid his clothes over a towel rack and turned to the sink. There was a jar placed on the edge that was full of hair ties.
"There, now you won't constantly lose them."
"I don't lose them! I just…misplace them."
He put the jar in the mirror cabinet before starting the bath. His mind went blank as he sank into the lukewarm water. He sat there for a moment before he began to wash himself, slowly rubbing the bar of soap along his tired arms.
She snuck into the tub behind him and his heart jumped when she began to pour water down his back. "W-What are you doing?"
"Relax, Neji, it's just a bath." She giggled at his red face and began to gently glide the bar of soap across his back. He finally relaxed and closed his eyes. She leaned forward to kiss his cheek, her chest pressed tightly against his back, and he smirked.
"We're going to need to take another one later."
After drying off, he dressed himself and went back into the bedroom. He looked at the carved wooden box again, but instead made the bed. He patted down the sheets like she did and smoothed out the comforter. He fluffed the pillows slowly. He went back to the dresser and slipped the box into his shirt. The noise from the kitchen stopped when he opened the bedroom door.
"Good morning." She looked over her shoulder to smile before going back to preparing breakfast. He kissed her cheek and sat at the table, patting his son's head and affectionately poking his daughter in the forehead.
"Dad, I have a drawing to show you." His son pulled out a colored drawing.
"Good job, Hajime. What about you, Miho? Anything to show me?" His daughter grinned.
"I'm learning a new jutsu from Iruka-sensei."
"Hn, interesting. I'll have to see this after work."
She brought breakfast over and kissed him on his pate. "If you don't get back too late."
"Hn. I'll let Lee cover for me." She smiled.
"Good morning, dad."
"What are you doing?" Miho blinked.
"It's Sunday, dad. I always come on Sundays." He stared at her. She had giant brown eyes and chocolate brown hair. She wore her hair long and down, it flowing well past her shoulders. He blinked rapidly.
She undid her buns for the night, letting her hair cascade down her back. He watched her from the bed. "You are so beautiful." She chuckled and he could see the laugh lines forming around her mouth.
"Flattery won't get you out of going to the doctor's with me tomorrow." He ignored her.
"I love you." She stopped what she was doing and looked at him. He finally realized that his eyes were wet and quickly looked away. She slid into bed next to him and he saw tears fall down her cheeks.
"I love you too."
"Dad, are you okay?" He released a breath he did not know he was holding and could feel his whole body shake as he exhaled.
"You look just like your mother." He mumbled before turning away. Miho bit her lip. He slipped shoes on at the front door and smoothed out his hair. "How is Hajime?"
"He's still on his mission, dad. You just talked to him two days ago." He blinked before nodding and opening the front door. "Where are you going?"
"I'm taking a walk."
"Can I—" He closed the door behind him as he stepped outside. It was still early as he slowly began his walk. The hill seemed to grow larger every year and he struggled with the steep incline. The grass tickled his feet through his sandals and he stopped halfway to his destination to stare at the orange sun.
"Promise me that on nights like these, you won't make me go back."
"Like I could make you do anything." He looked at her. "…I promise."
His nose began to tickle.
"Just…You're different from everyone else."
"You're very important to me."
He clenched his eyes shut and restarted his climb.
"Don't." She kissed his mouth when he finally had the strength to sit up. "It doesn't matter. You're here. Nothing else…" He kissed her deeply, running his tongue over every familiar part of her mouth before bringing her closer.
"We can still have a snow wedding…We can wait--"
"No." He stared at her. "You said…The day you return, no day later." She buried her face into his shoulder. "Don't make me wait."
He stopped at the top of the hill. The sprout of a future cherry blossom tree swayed in the breeze as he made his way towards it. His hands shook as he took the carved box out of his shirt and opened it. Inside were sheets of yellow-tinted paper and he stared at them with glassy eyes.
I can't stop loving you, Neji.
He switched to another sheet.
I love you, I love you, I love you.
He swallowed and looked down at the tree sprout. One could barely see that the earth was upturned beyond the sprout. He adjusted the floral arrangements of lilies and roses that were at the head of the grave before sitting beside the dirt. He felt old. His muscles had deteriorated into flab, his bones creaked at every joint, his mind was already beginning to leave him, and for the first time in decades, he felt genuinely alone.
He could not believe the sob that broke through his throat and he desperately clamped a hand over his own mouth and squeezed his eyes shut. He calmed himself down and removed his hand. He placed the box next to the floral arrangements and sat still.
"I still love you." He said after an hour had gone by. "I have always loved you." He listened. The wind through the trees made a low whistling noise as the warm breeze came from behind him, enveloping him. "This month has been difficult, Tenten." His voice cracked and he cleared his throat. "It's hard to remember certain things. I forgot today was Sunday. For a moment, I forgot that you…" His throat closed and he breathed through his nose. "I don't know what I will forget. I don't…I don't want to forget you, us."
Another breeze ran through his hair and he closed his eyes. He could feel her fingers running through his hair, her lips on his skin. "Those memories are I all have…" He wanted her in his arms. He needed to feel her body heat, her beating heart. All he had was air. "I miss you."
He lowered his head and did not brush away the tears. He listened but there was no answer, no response. Instead, the wind brushed against his skin and cooled his tears and somehow, his chest did not feel as empty as before. He stayed for another hour before standing and looking over the fields from the top of the hill. He could just make out a figure with long hair in the distance. Miho. She waved and blew him a kiss. He smiled and did the same before looking at the grave one last time. He then began his trek home, making sure to wipe all evidence off of his face before entering through the front door.
As Neji passed through the fields, he scanned the area to see where Miho had gone. When he could not see her, he assumed she went back to her new husband. He was surprised, then, to find her in his kitchen eating. "So where did you go on your walk?" She asked as he sat down to the plate of food set out for him.
"You saw where I went." He replied and she looked up at him.
"Dad, no I didn't." He blinked at her. "I've been working around the house the whole time."
Neji stared at his daughter before he cracked a smile and chuckled to himself.
"What's so funny?"
He did not reply and only chuckled into his tea.
"I'll just blow you a kiss."
"Blow me a kiss?"
"Yes, so no matter how far you go for your mission, I'll still be able to kiss you." He chuckled as she puckered her lips humorously at him. "And let you know how much I love you."
"Hn." He gave her a peck on the lips before smiling, "Let's see if it works."