Pure white sterility, punctuated by mechanical whirring and piercing tubes, greeted the man upon opening his eyes. He tried to right himself, but his limbs were heavy from disuse and his middle was weighed down by a drowsy flaxen head. His movements, minute though they were, startled her into consciousness. Blinking her blue, blue eyes, Ino's mind caught up to the situation at hand. After the initial flood of relief, she appeared torn between her need to embrace him and her want to beat him senseless for the worry he caused. Chouji's attempts at speech were hindered by the artificial tube maintaining his airway. Tsunade, who was personally seeing to his recovery, was soon retrieved and upon her approval, pleased by his state of health, the devices connected to the man, save for his medicinal drip, were removed.

The medical staff exited, leaving the man alone with his wife. Chouji tried to speak, but little more than rough, dry coughs were the result. A button was pushed, inclining him, and a cup of cool, soothing water was brought to his lips, cradled with care by hands that he loved more than anything in the world. They were dangerous, deadly hands, capable of savagery when needed. But they were more often gentle and kind, concerned with serving others and faithfully holding his heart.

"Come here." Chouji's throat burned with the effort of forcing out his voice. His hands lethargically motioned to his lap. Her response was the immediate, though careful, positioning of herself beside him. Ino wrapped her arms around his neck and held him close. Chouji shook his head. "No. I want you on me."

Her face went blank for a moment before something akin to shock was displayed. "A hospital is no place for that, Chouji Akimichi."

He ignored his wife's disapproval and tried to position her as he wanted. His fatigued muscles would not allow for it, so Chouji turned pleading eyes on her. After a moment of waffling, her defeat was complete, as was her indignation. The woman placed one knee on either side of his hips while she defiantly crossed her arms. Thin hands walked up the backs of her thighs, forcing her off her haunches. Now vertical, her naval was level with his nose. Chouji coaxed her into releasing her arms while he slowly rolled up her shirt. A single hand held it in place, his thumb grazing the underside of her left breast with long fingers wrapping around her ribs. His other hand wound around the small of her back, tugging her close.

"Chouji, you're in no condition for this." Her voice held the bite of warning.

"It's okay, Ino." His face upturned, a full lopsided smile causing his eyes to disappear into the creases of his lids. Soft lips planted a warm kiss to the underside of her belly button before Chouji buried his head against his wife's stomach. "I'm just greeting our child."