Naruto isn't mine, said sadly.

Hard, bright blue eyes stared into cold, white on white ones. Neither so much as twitched, and anyone looking at the owners of the eyes would assume they were in the middle of a very intense staring contest. As such, they were not.

Sabaku no Gaara sat on the other end of a very long table in the Hyuga compound's dining room, opposite one very cross-looking Neji Hyuga. The brunette glared at Gaara and though he knew for a fact his Byakugan wasn't active, he could feel his gaze penetrate the depths of his very soul.

They had been like this for quite some time now. Ever since he had arrived on his doorstep saying that he was here to have dinner with his dear cousin, Hinata.

Neji disapproved GREATLY of Hinata and Gaara's relationship. He was much more a NaruHina shipper. That...and the fact that Gaara was an ex-mass murderer who had a trigger more sensitive than an atheist's worldview. But Hinata loved the reformed redhead and she was no longer a child; she was a young lady who was perfectly capable of making her own decisions and Neji had to accept that.

It didn't mean he had to like the bastard, however.

"So..." Neji said, finally breaking the silence that had enveloped them for hours. "Hinata tells me you used to be a jinchuriki."

"That's correct." replied Gaara, his icy glare never so much as flickering.

"I see...the One-Tailed Shukaku, if I'm not mistaken?"

Gaara nodded, wondering where Neji was going with this. Keeping his eyes locked on the prodigy, he reached for a dumpling from the enormous banquet that had been laid out before them.

Faster than his legendary sand shield could react, a salmon skin roll struck Gaara on the hand. Yelping, he retracted and shot Neji a dark look. Smiling smugly, the brunette folded his hands across his lap. "Apologies, Gaara-san," he said, dragging out the honorific. "But we don't eat until everyone is at the table."

At that moment, Gaara comprehended all the ways he could kill Neji and make it look like a suicide.

"I'm here, I'm here!" came a worried cry. Both sets of eyes turned to see Hinata entering the kitchen in an elegant blue and white kimono with a lilac sash. Her hair was done up in a bun, accentuating the two bangs that always hung off the side and framed her lovely, pale, heart-shaped face. Blushing nervously, she sat down next to Gaara, looping her arm through his.

Neji's right eye twitched at the display of affection and Gaara smiled wickedly, subtly sticking out his tongue.

"Father should be down soon." spoke Hinata, wondering why Neji looked so angry. Then suddenly, his anger was replaced by a smile so wicked she was sure that somewhere, Orochimaru was wondering where his face had gone.

"Oh, that's fine." he said, a gleam shining in his eyes one would describe as predatory. "Gaara was just telling me about his past as a jinch-tailed beast host." Hinata didn't approve of his using the 'J' word around Gaara.

"Really?" Hinata said, completely oblivious to the tension boiling beneath the surface. "That's great! You two are starting to share!"

"Oh, yes." said Neji, and Gaara swore he could see horns on the Hyuga's head. "In fact, he was just explaining his tailed beast to me. Shukaku? A tanuki, correct?"

"Yes..." replied Gaara through partially gritted teeth.

"Tanuki..." Neji said thoughtfully, rubbing his chin. "Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but...aren't tanuki famous for having very large tes-"

"NEJI!" squealed Hinata, her face bright red.

"Come now, Hinata-sama." said Neji, barely able to contain his glee at the sight of Gaara's face turning purple. "It's a perfectly innocent question. But if Gaara is too embarrassed to answer, that's perfectly alright." The tiniest of chuckles escaped his lips. "I understand."

"Hey, everybody." All eyes turned to the door to see Hiashi Hyuga, patriarch of the clan stepping through the door in his usual attire, plopping down in a seat next to Neji. "Sorry I'm late."

Neji's eye twitched but he quickly composed himself. "Quite alright, sir." He practically spat the last word. "You are here now, and that is all that matters."

Hiashi nodded and turned his gaze towards Gaara. "So, you must be the one who's whisking Hinata away from us. Sabaku no Gaara, correct?" Gaara nodded, a bit put off by Hiashi's casual, friendly demeanor. It was a pretty sharp contrast to Neji's...bitchiness.

"And Kazekage of the Village Hidden in the Sand...youngest in their history...most impressive."

Hinata beamed and Gaara felt his ears grow red at the compliment. Neji frowned then immediately returned to an impassive expression. Frowning caused wrinkles, after all. "Now, tell me..." said Hiashi, piling some fried rice onto his plate, gesturing the others to begin eating. "What exactly are your intentions towards Hinata?"

Gaara gave Hinata a nervous sideways glance and she encouraged him with a gentle nudge to his shoulder. "Well, sir..." he began, trying to keep his voice steady. "Hinata is wonderful girl with a vibrant, caring spirit and I only wish to know her more." A few seconds of silence as Hiashi folded his hands, forming a very familiar pose. "I see...and you say those are your only intentions?" "Correct, sir."

A few more seconds of silence.

"So I can rule out grandkids, then?"

Neji spat out the wine he had been drinking, eyes wide as the plates upon which their food sat. Gaara's normally reserved face was one of absolute shock and Hinata looked every inch like a well-dressed tomato. "FATHER!" she squeaked. "What?" he said, trying and failing miserably to hide the smile forming on his face. "I'm not getting any younger. It'd be nice to hear the pitter-patter of little feet running around the compound again."

'Then adopt some puppies, you twisted old codger.' hissed Neji in his head, wiping away the wine that had dribbled down the front of his clothes.

"Forgive me..." said Gaara, still stunned by Hiashi's brunt question. "But we've only been dating a few months. It's a bit too early to be thinking about children." Hiashi waved his hand dismissively. "Tish-tosh. It's never too early to think about raising kids. Why, Neji only recently convinced Tenten to come off birth control."




Hinata's mouth dropped into a perfect 'O' of surprise, her arm no longer holding Gaara's and hanging limply at her side. Inwardly, the redhead was having the wildest party of his life, his eyes shining like a schoolboy who had just been given the keys to a candy shop, while his outside remained as stoic as a sphinx.

Neji was frozen, his lips tightly pursed in a mixture of terror and rage. The tic in his eye was stronger than ever and he seriously looked as though he were on the verge of a seizure. Slowly, he turned to Hiashi, who regarded the youth with a confused look.

"How long have you known?"

"A while now, actually." replied Hiashi, reaching for a ham-and-cheese croquet. "The two of you aren't exactly quiet, you know."

Neji made a sort of choke/gargle/scream sound that Gaara found oh, so HILARIOUS. Hinata buried her face in her hands; how could she look her cousin and one of her best girlfriends in the eyes after this? Was it too much to ask for one family dinner that didn't end with horrifically embarrassing revelations?

Hiashi spooned some rice into his mouth, sighing in appreciative bliss. "The cooks did a great job today. Come, everyone. Eat, eat!"

Nodding, Gaara reached for a dumpling, although nothing he could've taken from the table would be as delicious as the last fifteen or so minutes.

Neji stood up from the table, still looking angrier than all hell. "If you'll pardon me," he said, fighting the color rising in his cheeks. "I must be on my way. I'm late for a training session."

Hiashi pouted and poked his nephew's arm. "Come now, Neji, don't be rude. Stay and have dinner. We have your favorite; kimchi-stuffed bell peppers!"

"I-It's alright, father." squeaked Hinata, still unable to look her cousin in the eye. "If N-Neji wants to g-go, he should go." Hiashi huffed, but waved his hand dismissively, and Neji took the cue to leave. "Oh, fine. But no dessert. They're not called 'love handles' because everyone loves them."

Neji paused in the doorway, gripping the frame so tightly the wood cracked. Calming himself, he continued on his way, not saying a word.

While still within earshot, Gaara couldn't resist one last dig.

"I look forward to being a godfather, Neji-san."

It came out crappy, but I don't care; it was SO funny~