Author's note: I enjoyed writing "Perfect" so much I thought I'd expand it a little :) The following is just a collection of a few short Mei/Ao drabbles taking place after they become official. I was going to post it separately, but since it's all in the same universe I just thought I'd post it here for continuity's sake. I may do a collection of oneshots and drabbles later on :)
The first time the child manifested his ability, Ao was trying to change his diaper. It was a task shared equally between himself and the Mizukage (Mizukage-sama, despite the fact that she was technically his wife and the mother of his child), but she was busy reviewing the finer details of border patrol and Chojuro certainly couldn't be trusted to handle such a delicate task. Ao frowned and lifted the boy up by the legs to powder his bottom, pausing only to smooth down the chubby folds of baby fat and readjust his diaper, when the baby gurgled and made a face.
"What's this?" Ao said. He looked at the baby. "You weren't fed. I do not understand why you're so uncomfortable."
The baby screwed its face up tight. It looked like it was going to cry.
"Damn," Ao said. He picked the baby up and hoisted it over his shoulder. "Mizukage-sama already breast fed you today. Why are you so fussy? Wait, what-AAAAH!"
Hot spurts of lava-tinged spittle shot out from its mouth and seered through the fabric of Ao's kimono.
"Damn," Ao said as Lady Fifth frowned and applied balm on the burn on his shoulder. "Mizukage-sama, I am fine. You shouldn't have left the council so early-ow."
"Ao," Lady Fifth said, and she soothed the wound with the tips of her fingers. "How many times have I told you? My name is Mei. I'm your wife. Such formalities aren't necessary."
"I cannot help it, Mizukage-sama."
She kissed Ao on the cheek and hoisted the baby up by the armpits, cooing softly and kissing its cheeks.
"Mama is so proud," her ladyship cooed. "Mama will teach you how to blow acid mist, yes she will."
"Oh Ao, lighten up," her ladyship said, and she stood and rocked the baby close to her breast. "When I was a girl, I used to vomit lava when I got sick-" and then in a baby voice, "This widdle guy can't help it."
"Hmph," Ao said, but she wrapped her arms around his waist and cuddled against his shoulder.
Much to Mei's dismay, Ao grew even more neurotic once their relationship became official.
He was a mess when she was pregnant. "Chojuro! The Mizukage requires rest! Hand her her bags! If that sword is too heavy for you imagine twice that weight resting at the seat of your stomach! Boy, don't test me!" Ao said, and Mei's ears perked at the slight strain in his voice, because the poor man was whipping himself into a frenzy, and tryingawfullyhard to contain it. "Don't just leave her there!" Ao said. "Mizukage-sama! Allow me!"
"Ao, for god's sakes. I'm fine," Mei said as Ao rushed to her side to help her up the stairs. She waddled uncomfortably forward, her belly bumping into the side railings as she tried to find her center of gravity, the baby kicking a fuss and the rest of her feeling suddenly, inexplicably ill.
"I did this to you," Ao said. He was stricken. They were in their chambers now, Ao brushing back the loose strands of hair from her face as she tried hard not to vomit in the basin. The morning sickness had abated early in the pregnancy, but for whatever reason it reared its ugly head. "It must be the food," Mei said, then threw up again, setting the basin back on the night stand and moving to find the nearest toilet.
"She's urinated a dozen times," Ao said to Chojuro. Mei frowned as she eavesdropped on her idiot husband, who was sweating bullets and thumbing through pregnancy pamphlets, reading frantically. "The infant is compressing her bladder. Oh my god! I can see it with my Byakugan!"
"Ao!" Mei said. Ao jumped and the baby manuals clattered to the ground.
Mei stepped forward and smiled, then pressed a hand to his arm.
"You're scaring Chojuro," Mei said. Ao went pale. She smiled to Chojuro and nodded reassuringly.
"It's okay," Mei said to Chojuro. "Just because he's about to have a heart attack doesn't mean you need to sit and suffer through his rants."
"Mizukage-sama. I must protest. In your condition-"
"In my condition I can still best you in any form," Mei said. "Do not insult your kage. Remember your place."
But Mei gave him a sweet little kiss before thwackinghim over the head.
Baby steps, as it were.
One day, Ao overheard Chojuro talking with the other subordinates. "So then...so then they did that?" Chojuro was saying. He sounded shocked, awed, and also terribly, horribly, confused. "Lady Mizukage is so gentle..."
"And Ao is Ao!" the other one said. Equally horrified, eyes wide as teacups. "Can you imagine? Doing it with that wrinkly old man?"
"She could do better," another one said. They nodded. "Yeah!"
Ao frowned and had half a mind to knock their fat heads together, except he realized they were right, he didn't deserve her, she had settled for him and that was the the only story to it.
When her ladyship found him, he was too busy kneeling on the floor feeling sorry for himself to notice. "Ao. What on earth are you doing?" she asked, and Ao had to force himself upright, sniffing miserably.
"You deserve a prince," Ao said.
Her ladyship rolled her eyes dramatically and pulled Ao upright, shifting his weight against her side. "And who do you deserve, Ao? A toad?"
"Mizukage-sama. This is no laughing matter."
"It is not," Lady Fifth said, and she fussed over his lapels and reached to straighten his eye patch. "Ao. What's wrong?"
Ao kept his gaze fixed on a dark spot on the wall.
He felt her rest her chin against his shoulder, arms around his waist. And all at once he felt foolish: ridiculous, the three cups of wine he had had earlier showing on his face.
Later, after they were naked and tangled up in the covers, Ao realized those poor fools were jealous, that she had chosen him and there was nothing they could do about it.
The next day, he made them run extra laps and pushed them until they were vomiting at the sidelines. "Your stamina is lacking!" Ao said, as his hapless subordinates staggered around the training fields. "Think of yourself pleasuring a woman! If this were sex she would undoubtedly be unsatisfied!"
"My ears!" Chojuro said. The other recruits sagged and puked while Ao stood triumphantly over them lying on the ground.
When the rest of the court had found out Ao and the Mizukage were carrying on a secret relationship, Chojuro was shocked. Just the other day he had seen her ladyship berating Ao for being too tough on him; in fact, he was pretty sure the only way they communicated was through exasperated snorts and eye-rolling. "Can you imagine?" Saizo whispered, scandalized. "The two of them had sex." Chojuro's eyes widened as he imagined Ao and his gentle mizukage pounding it like monkeys behind closed doors.
Chojuro sagged and walked heavily back to the compound, his sword weighing heavily on his back. He started to push the door in; his eyes widened.
There, in the imperial court, her ladyship was sitting with Ao. She looked sad and he looked like he was consoling her. Quietly he watched as her ladyship leaned against Ao's shoulder and Ao gave her a reassuring squeeze; they stayed like that for a while, and Chojuro had the sudden good sense not to intrude.
Later, the Mizukage gave a speech: she was powerful and confident as ever, and as her subordinates rallied around her Chojuro glanced back at Ao, who was standing quietly in the shadows.
"I think I understand why Lady Mizukage chose him," Chojuro said. Saizo frowned and the others rolled their eyes, but Chojuro just stood and smiled.