Getting married as a shinobi is a great way to put a target on your spouse's back. Kurenai and Asuma both know it, so their wedding is a silent affair. They fill out the paper work and turn it in without telling anyone. Then, about a month later, they invite the shinobi from their year out for drinks and everyone knows what they're celebrating before they even show up.
Gai cries the whole time, which is strangely heartwarming. Genma is one of the only people who brings a gift. Raidou also cries for some reason; it might be the tequila.
They don't change their names, but Kurenai knows she's under the protection of the Sarutobi clan. She's added to the wards on their clan's compound with little fanfare. Konohamaru doesn't really know what to do with himself when she one day leaves the compound in the early morning, Asuma peppering lazy kisses on the curve of her throat a she goes.
They don't tell their teams, not because they don't want them to know, but because they've already figured it out on their own. They don't wear rings, they don't always sleep in the same bed in the compound or in Kurenai's apartment. But when they get called away for missions while the other is away, they leave notifications of absence at the mission desk for when the other returns home.
Kurenai has always been a private person. Most people misunderstand that as her being cool or distant. Her students, her friends, and her husband, they all know it's the furthest thing from the truth. She's warm, she's affectionate; it's why she was chosen to be made a jounin sensei. It's why Hyūga Hinata was assigned to her. Why she got a loving boy like Inuzuka Kiba and a socially awkward boy like Aburame Shino.
Aside from Gai, she's probably the most affectionate jounin sensei currently teaching. And maybe it's because she lost her father when she was young, or because she grew up fighting a war, but if she can help it, she wants her genin to learn and grow not only as shinobi but as people. There were way too many emotionally stunted shinobi running around the village at any given point. Kurenai was not going to let her troupe of students contribute to that rapidly rising number.
So she's warm, and affectionate, and she likes kids. Asuma is also all of these things when the right person is watching, namely Kurenai. And despite the fact that they're both in their prime as shinobi, they've had the discussion about having children a handful of times before and since they've gotten married.
There would never really be a 'right time' to have kids, not when your livelihood is based on violence. And Kurenai wasn't keen on having a child only to have them join the ranks of the orphans district. She wanted to wait until peacetime, until safety was a bit more stable, when a war or a conflict or skirmish wasn't on the horizon.
The results from her monthly check-up with Shizune had told her she had other plans.
The option to abort late or early was something that every pregnant person in Konoha was allotted despite marital status. In war time, there were no safe places for people to give birth and too few people to take care of the young children left behind. In peace time, baby booms were rampant and terminating pregnancies was much less common.
Kurenai was only a handful of weeks along. She hadn't even missed her cycle, yet. Ending the pregnancy would be easy. Legally, she wouldn't even have to tell Asuma.
There was never really a right time. There never really would be. Besides, most first time pregnancies ended in miscarriage anyway. There was a possibility that the fetus inside of her wouldn't even make it to term.
So she waits a month, and then a second one. When she's three months along and she hasn't lost the fetus, she files the forms for maternity leave and quietly has them processed. A handful of days later (because pregnant people in Konoha get top priority in terms of paperwork; babies do not wait for bureaucracy), she has the forms back in her possession and two years of paid leave for her to carry her child to term and to physically recover from her pregnancy and to bond with her child.
The only thing she hasn't done yet, is tell her husband.
She does it over dinner at her apartment because it's always best to spring news on someone in private when they're sitting down, just in case they swoon. Kurenai has seen many a shinobi get faint at the mere mention of pregnancy and/or menstruation; these men could impale another human being with a toothpick, but the birth process floored them. There was definitely a learning curve.
She's careful to subtly place books about parenting around her apartment. One on baby names here, another on raising a child as an active duty shinobi there. She leaves her crocheting materials out, because Asuma knows she only crochets when she's stressed or thinking something over.
She watches him raise his eyebrow at the new parts of her apartment, but he doesn't ask about it until he watches her pour him sake and pour herself water.
"Interesting decorating choices," he says, tipping the cup to his lips. "Got something on your mind?"
Kurenai gives him a smile.
"Oh you know," she replies, "all women my age tend to get a little baby crazy, don't they?"
Asuma snorts into his sake.
"Yeah, Mitarashi and Uzuki seem real keen on having kids," he replies.
"Anko-kun is an excellent mother to her snakes," she says diplomatically.
Asuma gives her a solid look before the two of them burst into laughter.
"You've got me there," he says with a throaty chuckle, wiping at a tear at the corner of his eye.
She presses her barefoot against his socked one, and the contact makes her feel just a little easier. The truth of the matter is roiling in her stomach, cautious and excited.
When they finish laughing, Asuma finishes the rest of his sake and gives her a look.
"C'mon," he says, "I know you're thinking about it."
She hums and presses her foot further up his leg until it's resting in his lap. He drops one hand to lay gently on her foot, and he peers down to see which color her toe nails are painted this week.
"I think about a lot of things," she replies in an easy non answer.
Asuma levels her with a look and reaches inside of his pocket to pull out his pack of smokes and his lighter. With an absent hand, she nudges the ash tray in front of him.
"You're making a hat, Kurenai," he says around the cigarette. "You don't make hats unless you're really thinking. You made an entire blanket for Hinata after the Chuunin Exams because you were worried about her."
"Hinata-chan loves that blanket," she replies.
"I'm sure she does," Asuma says, exhaling smoke into the air above their heads. "She probably blew a gasket when you gave it to her."
Kurenai tilts her head to the side and watches Asuma as he takes a long drag off his cigarette. They haven't spent overly much time together during the first three months of her pregnancy, so she hasn't been concerned about secondhand smoke effecting the fetus. Now, though… Now he'd definitely have to deal with going cold turkey.
He had tried quitting a couple of times in their youth, and again once the Godaime started getting on his case about lung cancer. The fact that the tar in his lungs helped him with his fūton was only thing that kept the Godaime from shoving an entire pack of nicotine gum down his throat on any given occasion.
His voice pulls her out of her reverie. He's tipping ash into the green ceramic tray, dark eyes pinned on her in a look that is absolutely the reason she's pregnant right now in the first place.
"I know when my wife has something on her mind," he says. "I understand if you don't want to talk to me about it, but you're dropping hints when you're usually about as subtle as a brick to the face."
Kurenai raises one finely arched black eyebrow. Asuma gives her a little grin and squeezes her foot.
"I am the definition of subtle," she replies.
"Sure," her husband says. "The genjutsu mistress so talented only the Uchiha can rival her, is definitely not dropping hints to her husband that she'd like to get pregnant."
Kurenai knows a set up when she sees one. Asuma really ought to know better.
"I'm not hinting about wanting a baby," she says. "I'm having one."
Asuma's cigarette falls out of his mouth.
It lands on his thigh and he curses, snatching the thing up and immediately stubbing it out in the ash tray.
"You're - you - how long have you known? Why are you letting me smoke? Are you still on active duty? How far along are you?"
Kurenai puts up four fingers and drops them as she answers his questions.
"Two months, because I wanted you to enjoy your last cigarette, no, and three months."
He's looking at her like she's hung the moon, and Kurenai can't help but feeling that she has.
Family has always been important to him. It's why he plays such an active role in Konohamaru's life, stepping in for the boy's deceased father. It's why he spends so much time cultivating Shikamaru's intellect and Chouji's self confidence. It's why he recommended Ino to Ibiki for an internship in T&I.
"Why didn't you tell me?" he asks, and for a split second Kurenai is sorry in case she hurt him.
"I wanted to be sure it'd stick," she replies.
Kunoichi led difficult lives; miscarriages happened because being active duty wasn't conducive to a healthy pregnancy. Wanting to wait to announce the news wasn't just her being secretive, it was her way of making sure she didn't get anyone's hopes up in case her child died inside of her.
Asuma knows that. He remembers how difficult it was for Kushina and Mikoto and all the women of their generation to bring their children into the world. Uchiha Mikoto had miscarried three times between her first and second born sons. It was no wonder Kurenai had decided to be cagey about the situation.
"We're having a baby."
He looks so - not lost, not proud, and not excited, but some strange combination of the three. Kurenai reaches out over the table, and Asuma scrambles to take both of her hands.
"We're having a baby."
He laughs then, stands up so abruptly he almost takes the dining room table with him. Then, he's wrapping his arms around her, holding her close and pressing one hand to her stomach where she hasn't started to show yet.
"You're gonna be perfect," he murmurs, looking down at her stomach. "Absolutely perfect."
He rubs a soft circle there before his eyes flutter up to catch hers. Kurenai can't help her smile as she catches her husband's eye. She catches his lips in a sweet kiss that tastes of smoke and alcohol. When she pulls away, Asuma's eyes are wide and full of promise of the future.
The future. Asahi, for a boy perhaps. Or maybe, for a girl, Mirai.