She's at it again. Brushing the hairs back from Chojuro's forehead, the idiot youth blushing like a ripe tomato.
"Don't coddle him!" Ao says. Lady Fifth frowns, then glares, the creases in her forehead deepening slightly. "Tch. Repulsive. In my day, children were seen and not heard."
"But Ao-senpai," Chojuro says. "I turned fifteen just last week!"
"That's right," Ao says. "You're too old to be acting like this."
Lady Fifth's mouth twitches. A shadow falls over her eyes. Ao steps forward.
The blow that comes takes Ao by surprise, and Chojuro clutches his sword as the Mizukage mutters something about "old" and "marriage" and turns and slams the door.
He finds her out on the step, tossing back a glass of sake and looking up at the stars.
He nods politely and sits beside her, keeping a respectful berth.
There were tales of the Mizukage's love life. Disastrous rumors of romances gone wrong, ninja killed, shinobi dalliances ending in abject despair. He doesn't know why. Looking at the Mizukage, with the motes of firelight flickering upon her face, he doesn't find her that unmarriageable. Incorrigible, perhaps. Rough hewn around the edges. But not unmarriageable.
"You're staring," Lady Fifth says, and Ao's head snaps back forward, forcing his gaze on the moon.
"Mizukage-sama," Ao says, and a bead of sweat drips down his face. "If I may-"
"What? Spit it out," Lady Fifth says. Ao swallows.
"It...it is just an observation, Mizukage-sama. But, if I may be so bold as to say, those suitors you've had in the past...none of them are worthy of you."
"Hmph." Her eyes narrow. "And what have you to say about it?"
"I had only just noticed," Ao says, respectfully. "You are a lady of grace and wit. A woman whose age and maturity-"
"Careful," Lady Fifth says.
"I only mean to say I am sorry," Ao says, with a low bow. "If my words or actions were indiscreet. I do not mean to cause you any harm."
"I see," Lady Fifth says.
The moon rises. The Mizukage smiles.
Ao is at the sink washing dishes (because Chojuro left them there, disrespectful brat), when the door opens and a light falls on the floor.
"Ao," Lady Fifth says. "I would like a word."
Ao wipes his hands and turns off the faucet. "Yes, Mizukage-sama?"
The Mizukage smiles. It is a very nice smile.
"I require your services tonight. Provided you are not busy?"
"Of course." Ao bows low. "And what does the Mizukage require of me, Ma'am?"
"To sleep with me," the Mizukage says, and Ao stops and drops the bowl he was carrying.
She smiles again and closes the door.
Ao paces. The chambers of the Mizukage are large and lush and the bedsheets are puffed out and inviting.
This is a trick. A trick to test his loyalty. The Mizukage would never ask him to do something so improper!
The door opens, and Lady Fifth walks in, dressed in full Mizukage robes and looking as stately and imperial as ever.
Ao swallows. This is an abomination. Has he fallen prey to sexual harrassment? Surely the Mizukage is abusing her powers as a woman - no, as the kage, a beautiful Kage at that, beautiful and deadly like a snake in the mist.
Dammit, Ao thinks. What am I even thinking?
He fumbles with his kimono, tugging slightly at his shirt.
"Ao. What on earth are you doing?" Lady Fifth says, and Ao stops, shirt half-off and over his face. "Ao?"
"Mizukage-sama? I thought you wanted-"
"Yes, yes, I wanted you to guard the chambers. But why are you undressing?" she says, and Ao turns red, redder than Chojuro sunburning in the heat.
"Mizukage-sama. I think...I think I may have misunderstood."
The Yondaime Mizukage never overlooked mistakes. He never tolerated insolence, he despised incompetence, and most terribly of all, he showed no mercy, even in the face of the tears of men lying prostrate on the floor.
The Godaime Mizukage, thankfully, is nothing but merciful as Ao shamefacedly sits at the edge of the bed, fumbling like an idiot while she unrolls correspondences and treatises to be reviewed in the morning.
How in the name of heaven had he misheard speak for sleep is beyond him. The Mizukage frowns.
"You seem nervous," she says, and Ao jumps, the legs of the chair scraping the floor. "Ao?"
"Forgive me, Mizukage-sama," Ao says. "I am... a little out of sorts, tonight. It will not happen again."
She watches him suspiciously - no doubt she can see through his lies - but she chooses to ignore it, instead focusing back on the scrolls unrolled in front of her.
"I am curious, Ao," she says, and she rolls the scrolls back up, glancing up from behind her shoulder. "What was it that you thought I said? Obviously something distressing: you are sweating even as we speak."
"Mizukage-sama, it was nothing. Just an example of my own ignorance."
"I see." She snaps the scroll back; the pen rolls on the table with a thud. "And what example would that be?" Her eyes flash. She looks up again. "Well?"
At this point, Ao has two options: confess, get laughed at, possibly end up at the end of Chojuro's boot, or lie, which would be intolerable and inexcusable, to say the least.
Dammit. Chojuro would have a field day with this. Ao steeled himself, staring at the candle in front of them.
"I thought...with the Mizukage's permission...I thought you had asked to sleep with you tonight."
The Mizukage's eyes widen, slightly.
"I am well aware of your romantic...difficulties," Ao says. "And after last night, I had assumed...or rather, assumed wrongly...well...as your ladyship can see...Mizukage-sama, forgive me!" Ao says. "It was wrong of me to assume! Your ladyship can get any man she wants. Just please, spare me your wrath! I am a fool to have thought otherwise!"
"Indeed," Lady Fifth says. She stares out into the fire, frowning.
"You were willing to sleep with me," she says, softly. Her eyes flick upward, meeting his. "Why?"
"Because you are the Mizukage," Ao says. "We would die for you. Kill for you. To sleep with you would not be much of a sacrifice."
"I see," Lady Fifth says. Her eyes grow dim, unfocused, before snapping back up and meeting his again.
"Ao," she says, and she twirls the pen in her hand, thoughtfully. "This is not a bad idea."
Ao blinks. "Mizukage-sama?"
"Having you sleep with me," she says. "Obviously you were willing... obviously," she says, and she gestures to his kimono, which is still half undone. "And it's not as if I haven't thought of it before."
"Mizukage-sama," Ao says. She closes her eyes.
"I am tired, Ao." She sits on the bed and swings her feet a little; she looks almost girlish this way-cute, not a fearsome kage who could breathe lava and poison both. "Others may call it desperate, using my position this way. But I'm not forcing you," she says, and she looks up at Ao again; her lips part a little. "You could say no at any time," she says.
Ao stares. And stares. And it's almost a full minute before he wrenches his gaze away from her ample bosom, which seems to heave with every heated breath. "Mizukage-sama. I am honored. However, I endeavor to understand...why was I the one chosen? Surely there are others," Ao says, and he reddens even harder. "Perhaps someone more appropriate?"
"And who could be more appropriate than my most trusted advisor, who has seen me rise through the ranks and is currently single, as am I?" The Mizukage's eyes flash, terrible and beautiful at the same time. "You have already pointed out that I am far from marriageable-"
"I never said such thing!" Ao says, but Lady Fifth rises and presses a hand to his chest.
"This is not in an official request," she murmurs, and her breath is warm against his ear. "However, it would be greatly appreciated."
"Mizukage-sama," Ao says, and she drops a small kiss on the side of his cheek.
"Serve me well," she says, and her voice sends shivers down his spine.
As it turns out, the mechanics of sex are no different be it a woman or a kage, and Ao is surprised at how easy it is, once the fumbling embarrassment of foreplay was over.
She's aggressive, something Ao had privately suspected, and her hands push down against his as she straddles him, mouth open and breasts brushing against his chest. She rocks forward and he can't help but notice the deep crease just above her navel as she bends, the way her stomach caves in, and the small birthmark just to the edge of her left nipple, which is taut and pink and just begging to be swiped with his tongue. She rides him hard with her eyes squeezed shut, the muscles of her thighs clenching tight as she leans forward, closer and faster until she lets out a toneless, sobbing cry, the last spasms of her orgasm leaving her exhausted. She falls and doesn't move when he takes her by the hip and finishes, spilling inside her and pressing his face into her hair.
Time passes, and she falls asleep on top of him, mouth half open and long strands of hair sticking to their bodies. Ao has to bodily roll her off before quietly and shamefully washing his penis in the sink. When he climbs back in, she curls back against him, breathing softly into the crook of his chest. If this were during the Yondaime's reign, Lady Fifth would have been persecuted. Feared and condemned for her bloodline limits. That she rose to the ranks despite the stigma around a kekkai genkai is nothing short of amazing to him.
Remarkable woman, his Mizukage. He strokes her cheek with the pads of his fingers.
"Rest well, Mizukage-sama," Ao says, and he feels her start to smile.
"Ao. Ao! Wake up."
Ao jerks back, feels his shoulder being shoved, roughly. "What-?"
He sits up. The Mizukage is at the foot of the bed, fully dressed and staring at him with accusing eyes. "Mizukage-sama?"
"Get dressed." She throws his clothes against him, hair whipping behind her as she walks. "We are late for the mission debriefing," she says. She collects the scrolls in a huff, rolling them and frowning, slightly. "Really, of all the idiot ideas-"
"Mizukage-sama?" Ao pulls on his shirt, perplexed. "Mizukage-sama, what is wrong?"
"Nothing. Just get dressed," she says, and she slams the door.
The meeting is a tense one, rival factions arguing for this strip of land versus another; all the meanwhile, the Mizukage's face is a pinched stone; she doesn't look at him. Chojuro seems to sense something is wrong, but says nothing. He gives Ao a questioning look.
"None of your business," Ao says, and Chojuro shrinks back, defeated. Ao glares.
She avoids him for the better part of the day, ignoring him at meetings and skipping over him when asking others for counsel. He finally manages to catch her alone, drinking a cup of tea in her office. Ao stops and closes the door.
"Mizukage-sama. May I have a word?"
"You may not," she says. She sips her tea. Ao grits his teeth. He stands there for a few awkward moments before leaving, the Mizukage never once looking at him. Something to be expected, after all.
Ao wanders. He spends most of the day gloomily watching the new recruits, faceless, joyless idiots who can barely swing a sword, before giving Chojuro one last insult and retiring to his room. There, he pulls out the small coverlet he had snatched from the Mizukage's room - a moment of weakness, something a man should be allowed every once in a while - and it still smells like her, perfume and fresh sweat, earthy and aromatic like spiced figs. It is within the Mizukage's right to use him - his body belonged to her, as did the bodies of the other shinobi men out there. It is an inevitable conclusion. A love story that cannot begin.
The door opens. Furtively Ao shoves the piece of fabric back into his pocket when he sees the Mizukage enter the door.
"The problem with youth these days. They do not know true hardship. Chojuro is a perfect example of this. If only you'll allow me to show him..."
"Mm." Her eyelids flutter. Ao frowns, tweaking her nipple thoughtfully.
"Mizukage-sama. You are much too soft."
"Mei," Lady Fifth says, and Ao shifts and turns.
"I am naked in your bed. Therefore I think it is appropriate that you call me by my given name."
"O-oh." Ao turns his focus back to the ceiling, relishing the feel of her body draped across his. "Forgive me, Mizu-er. Mei-san. I will do well to remember."
"Good," Lady Fifth says. She closes her eyes.
They're naked in the bed again, after a week long absence. At some point during their trysts the Mizukage rightly had a change of heart: it didn't last long, however, and he found himself once again at the receiving end of her onslaughts.
Women have always been a mystery to him. Too hot, too cold, labile emotions and weeping at strange and inopportune times. The Mizukage is no different. He respects her, of course - he's seen her singlehandedly best men twice her size - and on some level he fears her, as all other nin do, because she's their kage and by the very definition better than they are, deserving of their admiration. But on those nights, when she comes to him and clings to his chest, he has to fight the urge to fold her up into the spaces of his body and protect her, because she is no ordinary woman, and to treat her as such would doubtless be an insult to her.
"Mei-san. If it pleases you, may I ask a question?"
"Certainly," she says.
"Well, Mizukage-sama...er, Mei-san. It was my understanding that we wouldn't be doing this anymore."
"And what would make you think that?" Her hand slides flat against his stomach, fingers trailing lazily against his skin. "Ao?"
"Well, it's just-" and he feels her tug slightly at the sensitive hairs around his navel, before soothing his skin with light strokes. "-today it seemed as if you were angry at me."
"Of course not." Soft lips press against his neck; he can feel her breath fanning against his skin. "It is complicated," she says softly, and he feels her hands drift lower and his mouth pops open at the shock of it, her hand thumbing the tip of his cock. "But perhaps we are thinking too much of it, ne?"
"Mizukage-sama!" Ao jumps, pulling his hips and his erection out from her grasp. She frowns, her pretty face screwed up in frustration, before she bodily elbows him and shoves his back against the mattress, taking his length into her mouth.
"Mei," Lady Fifth says, and she takes one long luxurious suck before releasing his length and tonguing the beaded wetness that has welled up at the tip; she spreads it across the head of his erection with her thumb, making him shake. "My name is Terumi Mei, and I want my name on your lips when you come."
"Mizukage-sama, don't-" Ao's hips jerk, and pretty soon intelligible speech leaves him.
Such is the way of control, after all.
She loves the way Ao smells, that sharp tang of sweat and sulfur that seems to cling to his skin and hair whenever they have sex. Ao smells the way a man should smell, not like those boy-man suitors that seem to be flocking her compound as of late.
"You should consider this one," the elder says, and Mei frowns at the picture of yet another wisp of a man from a neighboring village, Akio of the Hidden Cloud. "Consider it! The political ramifications of such a union. It would certainly shore up our allegiance," the elder says, and Mei smiles and demurely says she'll think about it, before tucking the photo neatly behind a stack on her desk.
That night, she fucks him with the desperation of all women in her position: too old and too stale for marriage, her engagements reduced to political ploys because the rest of her is undesirable.
He thrusts and she bumps her nose against his neck, beads of bright sweat rolling against her face. He smells like sex and something wilder, and the sound of his voice, jagged and harsh like a serrated edge, makes each thrust feel more delicious, her body straining hard against his. He's bigger than she is and heavier, the broadness of his shoulders accentuated with each movement. Her fingers dig into the hard muscle of his back and biceps as she lifts herself up to suck on jugular, the straining strap muscles of his neck and the deep triangle of his collarbone.
After it is over, Mei watches with dark eyes as Ao washes the evidence of her wickedness away with running water. There are scratches on the muscles of his back; they blend with the scars of other injuries he's received, missions gone wrong and assignments he's taken. Not that this is any different, Mei thinks. But the fact remains.
The next day she overhears him chiding Chojuro about something or other, and he sees her and makes a polite remark about the weather. Mei forces herself to smile, and walks down the corridor.
Fall gives way to winter cold, and what started as a few scattered nights in the office soon becomes a daily ritual.
More people are dying. Mei stands, the news of the latest border skirmishes fresh in her mind, and walks down the corridor with purpose. Her subordinates see her and give her a wide berth.
"Ao," Mei says, and she sees the captain turn, startled.
"My chambers, now," Mei says. Her subordinates cast nervous glances as Ao's mouth presses into a thin line, before following her.
Funny, Mei thinks. How the frustrations of the day are sublimated into the need for physical release. Emotion was frowned upon for women of her station, but this? If she were a man, it would be taken as a given: how many women did the Yondaime take into his bed?
They grapple; sheets tangle around Mei's ankles and legs as she shoves Ao's back into the mattress; she's too rough, though, and his head makes a loud crackagainst the base of the headboard.
"Damn," Ao says, and Mei's eyes widen only briefly before scrambling for a different position, one where she can ride him without fear of smacking his head against the wall.
There is an unpleasant slick of semen on her thigh when they're finished; Mei reaches between her legs and wipes it with distaste. She's breathing hard and so is he, the exertion of their earlier tryst still evident in the hammering of her heartbeat and the sheen of sweat on her skin. Ao is panting too, and Mei can't help herself when she presses her mouth against his shoulder and sucks on his skin. It tastes like salt and sweat and Ao groans, slightly.
"You are dismissed," Mei says, and she pulls on her robe, pulling her hair out from behind her shoulders and letting it fall down her back. "Thank you for your time."
She doesn't look at him when he pulls on his things and leaves, carefully shutting the door behind him.
The council of elders meet to discuss the conflicts brewing at the border country: regional factions have risen to assert themselves, and increasingly Mei's authority is being challenged. "Remember the ways of the Bloody Mist," the elders say. "You have not one but two bloodline limits. You have much to overcome, my child, and quite a burden to bear."
Mei keeps her eyes focused on the census in front of her: twelve shinobi casualties and three civilian deaths. Among them, a young chuunin who was on his first mission. Mei closes her eyes and tosses the photos on the table.
Mei screams, mouth open as she rides him, hands pressed hard against his chest as she scrambles for purchase. Her knees slide uselessly against the damp sheets until she loses her balance, falling gracelessly on top of his chest and bumping her nose against his cheek. Dimly, she's aware of his hands on her hips and him pivoting her body underneath him, one leg flung artlessly against his side as he gives one harsh thrust upwards, making her shake.
"Oh!" Mei whips her head blindly, clawing his shoulders as he thrusts. His breath fans against her neck and she strains up against him, hips desperately bouncing up against his thrusts. She's close and so is he, the rhythm of his movements growing more erratic.
"Mizukage-sama. I'm close-"
"It's okay, just do it," Mei says, and she feels him come and spill inside her, his ragged breathing harsh against her ear.
Her heartbeat slows, but the tension in her middle remains. Slowly she feels Ao lift his weight off of her chest. "Mizukage-sama. Did you...?"
Mei doesn't say anything. She doesn't have to look at him to see that pinched expression on his face, the same look he has when a mission doesn't go quite the way he has planned. But what she doesn't expect is how he grips her by the shoulder, forcing her to look up at him.
"Mizukage-sama," Ao says. "You're crying."
"W-what?" Mei lifts a shaking hand to her cheek, which is wet with tears.
"Are you okay?" Ao asks, and Mei feels the tears well up again, turning her head to the side of the pillow and keeping her eyes focused on the wall. "Mizukage-sama?"
And she feels him press against her back, a movement more intimate than the feel of his sex just moments before.
"That is enough, Ao," Mei says, after a long moment. He shifts but he doesn't move, the length of his body still pressed against hers. "You may return to your post."
She feels him frown against the back of her shoulder, his fingertips brushing lightly against her stomach. But he doesn't move: if anything, she feels him pull her closer.
Idiot. Why was he doing this? Mei glares and stares out into the darkness, the shapes of shadows moving slowly against the floor. And suddenly, inexplicably, Mei's shoulders shake and she starts to cry.
"Mizukage-sama?" Ao is alarmed. He pulls her flush against his chest, holding her, tight. "Did I hurt you? Are you okay?"
"Idiot," she says. "It is not your concern."
And he sees it: one fat tear rolling down the side of her face.
He doesn't know what to do. Awkwardly, he moves and lets her ball up into herself, respectfully keeping his gaze away from her shaking form.
If she were a normal woman, he would hold her: but she is his kage; to do so would surely insult her.
Outside, the mists begin to clear, and he can see the moon begin to rise from the window across from them. Cold moonlight filters into the bedchamber and onto the Mizukage's body, which is hunched up beneath the coverlet. "Mei," he says, because he feels helpless. But the effect is the exact opposite: she turns, eyes red and puffy, before squeezing them shut and burrowing against his shoulder.
Moments pass, and the crying jag dissipates as quickly as it came. His palm flat against her back, he can feel the rhythm of her breathing, which was jagged and erratic with her crying, but now begins to slow and grow more even. "Are you okay?" he asks again, and he feels her nod miserably against his chest.
"I'm sorry, Ao," she says, and her eyes flick upward, still red and watery as before. "I just heard news of a chuunin's death. And I suppose...I suppose I am taking that personally, if you can understand."
Ao nods sympathetically, his chin against her hair. "Of course," Ao says. The Mizukage says nothing. He strokes her hair gently, doing his best to soothe her.
"Thank you, Ao," Lady Fifth says, and she presses tightly against him, so much so it hurts. "You have been a comfort to me these last few days. I only regret I've put you through this," she says, and her voice wavers. She closes her eyes, a tear rolling down her face. "I will not tax you anymore."
Ao stops. Slowly, she withdraws herself, the space between them widening as she speaks. "I have decided to take an engagement," Lady Fifth says, and she doesn't look at him. "You will be glad to know your services will no longer be required."
Ao's jaw tightens. His vision begins to blur, and beneath the eyepatch he can feel his Byakugan start to throb.
Then he stands, yanking his clothes on and pulling his kimono tight around his waist. He sees her eyes widen but he doesn't care.
"Ao? What's wrong?"
"It is done," Ao says succinctly. He ties on the sash, not looking at her. "Mizukage-sama. I was glad to be of service. But I see my time here is done."
Her face is drawn but she nods, blinking fast. "Yes, indeed," she says, and it's like a knife in his heart.
He starts to leave, but his hand catches the door.
Ao doesn't look at her, keeps his back turned her way.
"You are not unmarriageable," Ao says. "I wish you all the happiness the world can offer."
"You idiot man," Mei says, softly. "Can't you see I love you, too?"
Daybreak. Her subordinates don't say a word during the mission briefing that day. Ao speaks tonelessly and professionally, giving counsel as he always did. But this time he does not look at her, his good eye fixed on the potted plant at the corner of the wall.
The meeting ends; her subordinates rise and leave, and it's only until Mei pushes upward and stands that Ao catches her arm.
"Ao. What on earth-?"
"Marry me," Ao says. Mei blinks.
"Mizukage-sama. It would honor me greatly if you let me take your hand."
Mei stares. "Ao. Don't be ridiculous. Of course I won't marry you," Mei says, but Ao's grip tightens.
"I am more a man than that boy child you are contemplating," Ao says. "And if your ladyship forgives me, for the likes of him, you are much too old-"
"WHAT?" Mei yanks her arm away and smacks him, glaring, hard.
"I mean it as a compliment," Ao says quickly, but not before her hand makes contact with his face. He pitches forward, cheek reddening from the sting.
"You cannot even say my name!" Mei says. Ao recovers, rubbing the side of his face with his hand.
"It is only because I respect you," Ao says. "Mizukage-sama! Please! Don't hit me again, I swear it on my life," Ao says, and Mei lowers her arm. "I love you," Ao says. "I love you because of your age-your wisdom," Ao says, before Mei clocks him, again. "Because you care about this village and the wellbeing of others. Because you've ushered in change. Mizukage-sama, if I may be so bold, I know you," Ao says, and he cups her shoulders. "Behind your ladyship's smile, I know that you are lonely. Why else would you have me in your bed?"
Mei blushes and glares, refusing to look at him as he presses a small kiss on her forehead.
"It was your idea," Mei says impetuously, but she's too happy to care.
"You baby him," Ao says, and Mei sighs and rolls her eyes exasperated as Ao gets on one of his rants. "When I was his age-"
"Ao! For god's sakes, the boy's three," Mei says, and she picks their son up and sits him squarely on her lap. The toddler grins and blows lava-flavored kisses her way, and Mei laughs and tickles the boy on his sides.
"Hmph," Ao glares. "Resting on his laurels, I see. Not many boys have the luxury of resting on a bloodline limit."
"Mm-hmm," Mei says, and kisses him sweetly on the cheek before knocking the back of his head.
"Mizukage-sama!" Ao rubs the sore spot on his head and gives her a wounded look.
Mei kisses the boy again and smiles.
So she said what's the problem baby
What's the problem I don't know
Well maybe I'm in love. (Love!)
Accidentally in love.
A/N: This is probably one of the most self-indulgent fics I've ever written. I just wanted to write Ao/Mei smut, and it turned into babies and happy cuddle times. End quote is counting crows, because I'm a 90s child like that. D: IDEK. (btw, after seeing Shippuden 208, I am *convinced* Mei and Ao are like two parts of a happily dysfunctional couple. They need to have adorable blue-haired lava-spitting babies, seriously. lol :D)