A/N: Here is the sequel to Over Peppermint Mochas and Black Coffee. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
"…And you don't listen (shove) and you ignore me (shove) and you get sick!" Tenten exclaimed, forcefully pushing the spoon of cinnamon oatmeal into her husband's mouth. He whined, grabbing her wrist and pulling it out. He placed his fingers on his throat, swallowed, eyes widening, as the lump of food traveled down his esophagus and into his stomach.
"Honey, " he said, reaching for a napkin, "It's just a cold. I'll be fine in a few days, don't worry!" He wiped the small bit of oatmeal on his lips and the snot running down his face. He sniffed loudly, and afterwards sighed, half-lidded, as if inhaling had been such an extraneous activity. His shoulders sagged, and he closed his eyes for a moment, feeling every muscle and joint in his body ache. Even his head throbbed, as the hum of the dishwasher began to take its toll and the lights became blindingly bright. All this, however, no matter how painful, did not irk him more than the fact he couldn't taste his food, especially his coffee. His addiction to caffeine could after all, rival Tenten's.
"Neji!" his wife complained, putting her hands on her hips as she frowned. Her brows furrowed and her eyes narrowed. "Don't you dare tell me it's no big deal! You can't be sick for the holidays!"
Neji shook his head and pulled her into his lap. "You are so troublesome," he told her, resting his forehead on the back of her shoulder blade. He was quoting Shikamaru, his best friend, aside from Naruto. (At the thought of the blonde, his wife remembered that she still had to send him a Christmas card.) Tenten squirmed, still upset over his behavior and negligence. "Be still."
"Neji!" this time the female sounded exasperated. "You-"
"What movie do you want to watch?" Neji interrupted, changing the subject to a more pleasant, nearly enjoyable topic. His wife turned so her shoulder rested against his chest and her face was buried in the crook of his neck. His skin tingled when he felt her lashes brush against it, her eyes fluttering shut.
"I don't know," she mumbled, her fingers clutching the fabric of his knit sweater, the sweater she shoved his head through as soon as he began to show signs of illness. "Something cheesy and sappy, and it shouldn't strain your eyes. Don't think just because you're good at directing the focus of a conversation in a different direction, means I'll forget that you have a cold. In fact, I'll be more aware of your condition, seeing as you're trying to avoid it. And did you take your omega fat pill today? And what about your blood pressure medication? You are so lucky that I'm around to take care of you, even though I have mountains of paperwork to do. I bring home more files than you do!"
"I know I'm very lucky, sweetheart. I never said I wasn't," her husband assured her, gently rubbing soothing circles on her back. She was stressed, and she was taking out some of her frustration on him. She had had a swarm of new patients the past two months, and although she was thrilled, the added work crammed into her already busy schedule was overwhelming her. He didn't mind the yelling, knowing underneath her sometimes crude language, there was true concern. Him being sick was another headache she couldn't rid herself of with an aspirin pill; he was making her life just that much harder, and he supposed letting her anger out (even if he didn't deserve it) was better than having her be depressed.
He couldn't live a day without seeing her smile.
"Can we just go to bed?" Tenten asked, already half asleep in his arms. She couldn't help the fact he was so warm and smelled nice and made her feel ever so secure. He was perfect, everything she wanted he had.
"Of course, Dear. It's the weekend. I want you to take it easy," Neji said, already slipping an arm under her knees. He stood up and carried her as he ascended the stairs. He placed her on the bed, and helped her take off her socks. He tucked her in, kissing her forehead and turning off the lamp. He then stole into the bathroom to wash up.
As he brushed his teeth, he remembered a particular scare that had occurred earlier this week. Although Tenten was a spine surgeon, she had always been fascinated by gastroenterology. Her best friend, Sakura Haruno, had become a dietician and had minored in the area. Their neighbor during college was Ino Yamanaka, who had gone on to become a gastroenterologist. The blonde had invited her to come observe the scoping procedure. She had even let Tenten try a hand at it herself, watching the whole time in case anything went wrong.
The patient she was seeing was infected with HIV, and oddly enough, his medical record held no indication he had the disease. So Tenten scoped him without gloves, and some of his internal fluids got onto her hands. Ino then asked her to jot down the prescription as she dug through her cabinets for samples.
Tenten hadn't watched her hands; there wasn't any time seeing as there were at least five patients lined up in the waiting room. So from her fingers, the fluids had transferred onto her pen. She had then stuck the pen in her mouth while she carried some equipment and files to the next room.
At the end of the day, when Neji came to pick her up, she received a frightening phone call from Ino. Neji had a bigger panic attack than his wife when the news reached his ears. Fortunately, she was not infected.
The Hyuuga spat into the sink and rinsed his mouth with water. He winced when he stood straight again and met his reflection. His skin was pale, his eyes were drooping with bags underneath, and he spotted a small pimple near his hairline. Shaking his head, he blew his nose one last time before turning off the lights and climbing into bed with Tenten.
It was three in the morning when he was awoken by a soft shake of the shoulder and a whisper of his name. "Neji? Neji?"
At first he kept his eyes shut, hoping whoever was calling him would think he was asleep and leave him alone. But when he recognized the voice to be Tenten's, he immediately sat up, his full attention on her.
"Are you alright?" he asked, taking her hand in his own. He had always been a bit of a worrywart. Especially when it came to her. She was, after all, the most precious thing to him; the one he held dearest in his heart. He would never, ever let anyone or anything take her away from him, not even God. His wife stared up at him in bewilderment, startled at the outburst, before she pulled him on top of her. They shared a sweet kiss and Tenten giggled as they broke apart.
"Idiot," she whispered, smacking him on the arm, "Of course I'm fine. I just couldn't sleep, that's all. " Neji blinked before answering with a breathy "oh." Their eyes remained locked for a moment, and their foreheads pressed against one another. A grin flitted across Neji's lips to match the one his wife wore. He rolled off her form and lay on his side. Tenten turned to face him. With their fingers entangled, they drank in the darkness. "Neji?" the female began, as her husband encased her in his arms, "Can we go to Starbucks? I feel lethargic."
Waves of quiet chuckles escaped Neji's throat and his chest rumbled in sync with the laughter. Tenten closed her eyes and listened, enjoying the sound and feeling. "Of course. Choji will let us in early," Neji answered.
"He always does," Tenten reminded him.
Starbucks was a second home to them, and arriving before opening time was a ritual. Depending on the day, their transportation would vary. Sometimes they would use a car (weekdays) and other times they would walk (weekends). Chouji was the manager of their favorite joint, and being a good friend of theirs, he was always waiting by the window watching for them.
Tenten pulled on her running shoes and zipped her jacket. When her husband descended the stairs with only a vest over a long-sleeved dress shirt, she turned him around with a glare. The next time he appeared, he had on a wool coat, hat, gloves, and scarf.
"You learn fast," she commented. Neji smirked and pecked her lips.
"I was at the top of our class for a reason," he teased. Immediately Tenten's mouth flew open to protest.
"Hey! We tied for that position," she argued, pouting.
The day was cold, gloomy, and gray. The sun taunted them from behind the clouds, appearing in short intervals. Snow layered itself on every flat surface within its reach, and ice froze on the pavement, making any commute by foot treacherous. Nevertheless, Tenten and Neji trudged on. The female soon began to shiver, and her husband tucked her into his side to keep her warm. "You tell me to where all this gear, yet you don't bother doing the same. You will be the end of me," Neji told her, kissing her nose, which had turned a faint red. The wind whipped around them, tossing their hair, and in Neji's case, scarf, every which way.
Choji was waiting, as usual, with his face pressed against the glass as he searched for the couple. When they arrived, he welcomed them in with hugs.
"Same order?" he asked, as they seated themselves.
"You know us too well," Tenten responded.
"Of course I do, Mam." The three were silent as the Akamichi put together their beverages: a peppermint mocha and black coffee. When he placed them on the table and noticed Neji fishing out his wallet, he put a hand on the man's arm. "Oh no. You've been doing this for what, five years? I'm not accepting another cent out of you two, you hear? Now drink up before the heat escapes," he insisted.
"Choji, it's just ten dollars," Neji said, trying to persuade him to let them pay.
"Ten dollars you'll be thankful you kept. What with the economy and all? Starbucks ain't going out of business anytime soon, so I got no right to be hassling people for money," the rotund man told them, sticking firmly to his beliefs. His loyal customers glanced at each other, sharing the same soft look. Choji really did have a way of melting peoples' hearts.
"Well, if you aren't going to let us pay, then at least sit down for a chat," Neji urged, pulling a chair from an adjacent table to the one the three were crowded around.
"Well, this is your quality time. I don't-"
"Choji, sit down before I go shove ten dollars in the register," Tenten threatened. Neji smirked proudly at her. The Akamichi stared wearily, before sighing. He complied and joined them for their own version of the "happy hour."
When they had left, he chuckled, "I really shouldn't have given Sakura that blackmail material all those years ago, but then again, it was worth it."
A/N: Thank you for reading and please review!