Standard disclaimers apply.
OVER RED WINE
By Cassandra's Destiny
His idea of perfection has evolved through the years.
It was Lee who asked him about it first, when they were weeks into their training for the chuunin exams. He was initially inclined to ignore his query, yet he replied flatly: Perfection is fulfilling destiny.
His teammate's face faltered momentarily, making it certain he was satisfied neither with his answer, nor with his idea of perfection altogether. Neji expected him to protest, to press the matter further – but he didn't.
A year later, it was Gai who asked him about perfection. At first he wondered what it was with perfection Gai and Lee seemed to be so fascinated about. Whatever happened to youthfulness, to the springtime of youth? The burning flames of youth aside, Neji answered anyway: Perfection is being at his best.
His mentor smiled at his reply, but he did not give him his typical nice guy pose. Was his answer still not good enough?
Two ranks and a wedding ceremony later, no one bothered asking him about his idea of perfection. It was too evident in the way he looked at her or wrapped his arms around her waist in the company of others. Protective and possessive. She was the one who mattered most when they were out there in the field. Everyone else simply faded into the background.
Lee's face faltered then, but he knew perfection was him melting into and with her.
He wondered, will they be satisfied with his answer now?
He waited, and if perfection was worth waiting for, he can attest to that – because it was. More than his waiting, though, she waited longer, and he knew.
He was thankful she never got tired of waiting.
A few months and his imposing familiarity of her body later, it seemed he was not done waiting. And it seemed she was not done hesitating.
He knew. Even before she told him, he knew.
Neji knew her more than anyone else – more than anyone should and would – and she could lie to anyone, including herself, but not to him. She can buy time by convincing him she'd lost her red crayon, or by telling him she was not allowed to partake in sexual activities, but he knew.
Tenten was pregnant with his child.
On the night she decided to tell him about her condition, she was drowning her anxiety with red wine. She made an aside that she has never drunk that much wine in the past, and he only nodded.
He neither coerced her into confession nor did he wish for a fast-forward button.
All she had to say were three words, yet he was worried she'd say more. She might feel the need to explain, or to cry. Shikamaru did say the most troublesome thing for guys in a confrontation is that they are constantly paranoid that the girl would end up crying.
She emptied the contents of her glass in a single gulp before uttering those three words he wanted to hear.
When she drew a blank from him, her gaze was cast downside and her eyes began to water. He knew she did not mean to postpone her confession, but he felt he was entitled to suspend his judgment.
He could not help it, though, that his hand snaked to her free hand. It was visibly shaking and he did not like it. He was convinced long before she conceived that the only time Tenten was allowed to writhe was right under him.
A smile graced her lips when he told her he had known all along. He was only waiting for her to tell him.
It was a simple exchange between husband and wife. Everyone else probably expected an elaborate and uncharacteristic display from the couple.
A month and a half later, he was counting the days when perfection would become more perfect. He sat up on the bed as he watched her chest rise and fall with her breathing, his hand tracing the contours of her stomach.
She was the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, and after five months of sleeping together, he has finally convinced her to put her weapons out of sight before she got dressed for bed.
He looked up to the empty ceiling and tried to recall his life before holding a kunai, but could not imagine his life before her.
He felt her stir in her sleep, and he wondered if this was going to be another one of those sleepless nights.
Perfection was worth waiting for, and perfection had a price.
Now if only perfection kept her eyes closed and her mouth shut.
"Neji?" A part of him hoped she was only talking in her sleep.
"I want a bottle of red wine," she murmured, with her eyes half open.
He attempted to coo her into going back to sleep, and when that did not work, he advised her that wine may not be the best craving for when you're having a baby.
She wouldn't hear any of it. Tenten wanted the same red wine from when she told him she was pregnant.
Neji kissed her forehead and untangled himself from the sheets.
It was perfect gestation did not do any such wonders for her chakra. Would he really let his wife tell him about her pregnancy over a bottle of red wine?
She who will deliver their perfect child into his perfect world with his perfect wife – will get the same drink from that night, as she wished.
He was going to serve her cranberry juice and get away with it. Just as he had that one night.