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The Brew of Anteros
Warning! These characters (and sadly, the actors who portray them) do not belong to me. They are the sole property of Universal/MCA. This story contains subject matter which those under 18 (or those with little tolerance) have no business reading. This story may contain themes which some would term "alternative" in nature. Beware reader! Beware!
"How about this?" the innkeeper offered the brooding warrior. She sat at a table, her head in her hand in disinterest. "It’s the charm of Athena, said to bring wisdom to all who wear it. I’ll part with it for twenty dinars."
Xena glanced at the amulet that the charlatan before her held out, and then looked expectantly at the door. Where was Gabrielle?
The innkeeper put the amulet back in its pouch. "I have this," he suggested, hardly above a whisper. He pulled a bottle of green glass out and set it gingerly before her.
Xena looked at him in fatigue. Why would he not shut up and stop trying to sell her pieces of junk? All she wanted was for Gabrielle to return from boarding Argo so they could go up to their room and sleep. Xena really didn’t want to get thrown out of the only available inn for miles because she had inserted an amulet into an innkeeper’s orifice.
"Don’t you want to know what it is?" he asked her eagerly.
"Mmph," she mumbled with a yawn.
"It is the legendary brew of Anteros, drawn from the well of the gods."
"I speak the truth, warrior. Who ever drinks this elixir will be overcome with sexual desire. They will not be able to control themselves. It is a certainty."
Xena rolled her eyes. "Sure it is."
"I have tried it myself!" he asserted. "Let’s just say my wife was a very... tired, yet satisfied woman that night."
Xena shook her head in an effort to rid her mind of the mental image of this wrinkled, old man and his wife shagging like rabbits. "Was that really necessary?"
"Sorry," he grumbled. "But it *does* work."
Well, Xena thought to herself, that would be he last thing she would want to purchase. She drained what was left of the ale in her glass.
It was bad enough to travel with an immensely attractive woman, the warrior mused. But to drink an elixir that would make her want Gabrielle any more than she already did, would be a dangerous thing. They already were together constantly, it seemed— eating, bathing, riding, sleeping together. Xena had decided it was sort of a beautiful curse— a penance, if you like, for all her past sins. She was destined to desire most what she could never have, and what lay right under her nose every moment of every day.
Xena sighed. "Shove off, old man. If I don’t get some sleep soon, I’ll lose my good nature."
The innkeeper stared at her strangely. Was she serious?
Just then, Gabrielle entered the inn and joined Xena at the table with the wrinkly innkeeper of questionable integrity. "Argo’s all tucked in," the bard said with a tired sigh.
"Perhaps your friend—" he began anew.
"Look, old man," Xena snapped, her finger shooting up to point in his face.
Gabrielle ignored their bickering and decided to whet her parched palette. She poured the contents of the green bottle into Xena’s glass and downed it all in one long gulp.
"Hey!" the man shouted, pushing Xena’s finger away and pointing to his now empty bottle of brew.
"What?" Gabrielle asked curiously. "What’s wrong?"
"You drank my brew of Anteros!"
"His what?" the bard asked.
Xena frowned. "Nothing, Gabrielle." She looked at the innkeeper in defeat. "What do I owe you?"
"Did she drink it all?" he questioned nervously.
The warrior held up the empty bottle. "Yeah, why?"
"Nothing," he blurted out, jumping from his chair. "You owe me nothing. It was an honest mistake."
"Wait a second," Xena rasped, standing herself then, and towering over the little, old man. "How much is a dose?"
"Dose?" Gabrielle repeated unsurely. "A dose of what?"
"Three drops," the innkeeper answered.
"Hmm," Xena muttered, in thought. "Well, how long does one dose last?"
"Excuse me," Gabrielle interjected. "What did I just drink?"
"So the amount that she had would last—"
"Several days?" he replied with no certainty.
"Hello," Gabrielle asserted louder. "I am here, you know. It isn’t necessary to refer to me in the third person." Xena turned to the bard and smiled insincerely. "Did something bad just happen?" the bard asked again, trying not to panic.
"Not really," Xena assured her, certain that the stuff was nothing but a little mind over matter anyway. It would be best not to tell Gabrielle what it was. "You just had a little... Corinthian fly."
"Headache medicine," Xena amended. "You’ll be fine."
"Maybe you should head up to the room and get some sleep," the warrior suggested. "That stuff may make you drowsy."
"Actually, I was pretty drowsy a minute ago. But now I feel like I have enough energy to battle a hydra."
The innkeeper scurried away at the bard’s admission.
"Uh huh. But I know you must be exhausted, Xena. So, if you want to go to bed, go ahead."
"I’ll just hang around down here for a bit," Gabrielle explained as she winked at a man walking by her.
"What did you just do?" Xena asked, horror on her face.
The bard smiled at her. "I told you to go on up without me. Are you feeling all right?"
"No, not that. With that man who just went by."
"That beefy one with the muscular chest?"
"I don’t know what you’re talking about."
Xena’s eyes narrowed. "Gabrielle, you winked at him."
"What? I did not!"
"You did! I saw it."
Gabrielle patted Xena’s arm consolingly. "Poor dear. You really are tired. You’d better get some sleep."
"Not without you," Xena explained coolly.
"But I’m not tired," she said again, mouthing a kiss to another man from across the room.
"I can see that."
"Would you care to dance?" the recipient of the wink asked, placing a kiss on Gabrielle’s hand.
"Love to!" she exclaimed merrily, and they spun away into the small group of dancers on the inn floor.
"Shit," Xena muttered, knowing she would never find sleep this evening. There was no way that she would leave Gabrielle to her own devices under the influence of that... drug— even if she weren’t feeling nauseous at the prospect of Gabrielle bedding one of the locals.
The warrior watched the blonde spin and turn as she danced, giving herself over freely to the music. Then Gabrielle grabbed her dance partner’s face, and planted a searing kiss on his lips.
Xena’s jaw dropped.
Gabrielle’s dance partner stopped dancing to return the kiss, and the two stood in the center of the dance floor, exploring each other’s mouths.
Xena drew her chakram and studied the proper trajectory to remove the dancer’s head from his shoulders. No, there was too great a chance of hitting Gabrielle.
"Excuse me," Xena barked, as she insinuated herself between the two dancers (who were doing everything but). Gabrielle looked confused, whereas her partner just looked angry at the interruption. "Come on, Gabrielle. It’s time to go."
"But I don’t want to," she reasoned logically.
"Gabrielle," Xena muttered assertively, grasping the bard’s wrist.
"You heard her!" snapped Gabrielle’s love interest. "She wants to stay."
Xena smiled at him in a most sinister way... as though she were about to eat him. "That’s it, pretty boy. Just give me a reason to put my sword through your privates like a hot knife through butter," she growled. "Don’t test me."
He bowed his head and walked away, his hand moving protectively to his genitals.
"Xena!" the bard reprimanded. "That was uncalled for."
"No, it wasn’t," Xena replied in irritation. "Calling him a mullet-headed, dog-licking, son of a scab-ridden whore might have been out of line," she reasoned, pulling Gabrielle off the dance floor. "But what I said was perfectly appropriate."
"Well," the bard admitted. "That really is much worse." She looked over her shoulder and saw a man drinking at a table alone. "Hello there," she called seductively, even as Xena pulled her the other way.
"Me?" the man asked in confusion.
"You look to be a fine specimen of maleness," the bard noted appraisingly.
"Gabrielle!" Xena admonished. "Stop it!" The warrior looked at all the townspeople staring at the two of them curiously. "She’s diseased!" she announced, still fighting her hold on Gabrielle. "Riddled with disease."
"I am not!"
"It’s starting to affect her mind," the warrior continued. She met the gaze of an attractive man Gabrielle was eyeing. "Huge, festering sores! All over her body!"
"What?!" the bard barked defensively.
"Oozing fluids of all colors!"
Xena stopped and looked at everyone in the room again. "Any takers?" she queried, raising Gabrielle’s arm up as though to offer her to the highest bidder.
The room fell silent, full of nothing but people staring at the floor and coughing in discomfort.
"All right, then," Xena responded, pulling Gabrielle the rest of the way up the stairs.
"I can’t believe you did that!" the bard spat.
Xena struggled to open the door to their room without loosing her bard. Eventually she succeeded and pulled Gabrielle inside, shutting the door behind them and releasing her grip.
"What was all that for?!" Gabrielle shouted.
"Gabrielle, sit down and listen to me," Xena stated calmly, sitting on the edge of the large bed.
"Gabrielle," the warrior implored, patting the bed beside her. "There is something you need to know."
The bard looked wary, but sat down next to her anyway.
"Did you happen to notice the things you were doing and saying?" Xena began hesitantly.
"What do you mean?"
The warrior exhaled loudly. "That man downstairs—"
Gabrielle traced Xena’s jawline absently with her fingertips. "Who?"
Xena shivered at the contact, then attempted to press onward. "The man you were kissing."
The bard let her light touch move from Xena’s neck down to the inviting valley between the warrior’s breasts. "Which man?"
Xena’s concentration began to falter. Could this be happening? Could the woman she had loved and desired for so long actually be touching her like this? She shook her head. No, this was the effect of the elixir, and nothing more.
"The one you had your lips on!" she snapped.
"Like this?" Gabrielle asked, moving her lips to Xena’s ear. Her breath sent chills though every fiber of Xena’s being, and the feel of her tongue made the warrior’s heart race.
"Gabrielle," Xena moaned, meaning it to sound much more forceful than it did.
The blonde moved her lips to Xena’s neck and began nibbling there.
Suddenly Xena jumped from the bed. "Wait! No!"
Gabrielle stood and moved toward her, desire brimming from her sea-green eyes. "Yes, Xena. You can’t tell me you’ve never thought about it."
"Well... I—" Xena stopped her retreat only when she found her back flat against the wall.
"All those times we dressed and undressed each other," the bard continued seductively, her hands running over flesh and leather. "Bathed together... slept beside each other... was there never a moment when you thought of this?"
"Gabrielle, you are enchanted," Xena blurted out.
"Mmm, so are you," the blonde moaned, claiming Xena’s mouth with her own.
Xena *wanted* to fight her off. She really did. It just didn’t happen for some reason. If Gabrielle had just never kissed her like that, she may have been able to remain strong and put an end to the whole mess... but the bard’s mouth tasted so sweet. The warmth of her body was so inviting.
The kiss became hungry and demanding. Their hands moved with the urgency of starvation over and under clothing, stealing the breath from them both.
"I want you so much," Gabrielle rasped as she struggled to remove Xena’s armor.
"Gods, Gabrielle. You don’t know how long I’ve waited to hear that." Her fingers tugged at the laces of Gabrielle’s bodice.
When at last the bard stood naked before her warrior, Xena was not able to draw breath. "You are so perfect," she whispered, her hands running over every beautiful curve and inviting slope of Gabrielle’s body.
"Don’t talk," Gabrielle commanded, consuming Xena’s mouth with hers. She pulled the warrior to the bed and dispatched the rest of the armor in little time. Xena could only watch and listen to her blood course through her veins.
Somewhere, deep down, Xena still had the intention of stopping it. Even when Gabrielle positioned herself over Xena’s naked body and writhed against her, Xena felt like she could end the encounter at any time... in just a moment.
The bard was possessed with desire. It was not just the sex that Gabrielle seemed to need— the release, it was the dominance and control as well. She hesitated not once, and she gave Xena instruction as to how to move and what to do.
When Xena seemed to not take her direction well, or not react quickly enough, Gabrielle would tease her, to remind her who was in control. And though it was killing Xena to submit (it was not her forte), she knew that if Gabrielle stopped her ministrations now, it would kill her even more. It would be one thing to never have the one you desire, but to *nearly* have the one you desire would be even worse, so Xena did as she was told, and reveled in every second of it. The first time they made love, Gabrielle was like this— very much the master.
Though Xena had thought she had been tired early in the evening, she had her second wind now. Three years of desire and frustration were coming to the surface, and they were no longer to be denied.
Xena descended on Gabrielle like a hunter on her prey. And though the bard thought she enjoyed being the dominant one, she found it was nothing compared to being the object of desire.
Xena was powerful and strong, and Gabrielle could not get enough. It was the true warrior she had above her now, commanding her the way she had commanded her army. The feelings she evoked were immeasurable, it seemed. She wanted them to never end.
As dawn peeked through the curtains, Gabrielle sat naked, astride the back of an exhausted warrior, running her hands over her body.
"Come on, Xena."
"I need you. I need the feel of you inside me, bringing me to climax," Gabrielle asserted, her teeth nipping Xena’s shoulder. "I have to have you... to taste you. "
"I can’t," was the muffled, tired response.
"Oh, you can, Xena," the bard cooed, rubbing herself erotically on Xena’s rump. "I know you can."
"Baby? Can we take a break for a little bit?" Xena asked hopefully.
Gabrielle continued to gyrate against her. "No... I need this..."
Xena winced, then rolled over beneath the bard so they faced each other. Gabrielle smiled, thinking she had won.
"Gabrielle, you are under a spell."
"Yours," she replied, licking Xena’s lips seductively.
"No. It’s what you drank... last night."
"What?" She stopped moving.
"The stuff in that green bottle the innkeeper had..."
Gabrielle looked extremely concerned. "Yes?"
"It was the brew of Anteros."
Xena bit her lower lip. "An aphrodisiac."
"Are you... serious?"
"And you tell me now?! *After* you have your way with me?!" Gabrielle jumped out of bed and pulled a sheet around her.
Xena grabbed a blanket for cover so she did not feel so vulnerable. "I didn’t have my way... you initiated everything!"
"Of course I did! I drank a whole bottle of... whatever you called it." She cursed under her breath at the lust that was still raging through her body, even though she felt very angry.
"I tried to tell you."
"When? While you had your tongue in my—"
"No! Really, I did! I tried to tell you when I brought you up here. Don’t you remember?"
Gabrielle stopped and looked at the floor as she tried to think back. "Well, no. I don’t remember."
"I was trying to get you away from everyone downstairs that you were throwing yourself at. I didn’t know that you would come onto me," Xena explained.
Gabrielle’s energy seemed to leave her, and she sat down on the edge of the bed. "So why did you do it?"
Xena moved closer to her. "Do what?"
"Why did you let me make love to you? Why did you make love to me? To protect me?"
Xena swallowed loudly. "No." She touched a strand of Gabrielle’s hair tenderly. "I did it because I have wanted you as long as I can remember."
Gabrielle looked at her in shock. "You have?"
"Yes. I have always wanted you Gabrielle. I’m in love with you."
The bard said nothing, but her eyes began to brim with tears.
"I love everything about you – the way you always assume the best about people, and the way you face everything head on. I love your laugh, and your ingenuity. I love the way you tell a story, and the sparkle in your eyes when you make a joke. I love the way your hair smells... and the way your lips curve when you smile."
"Why have you never told me this before?" Gabrielle interrupted.
"Because I would rather live in longing with you by my side, then live in longing without you."
"Xena," she whispered, her hand touching the warrior’s cheek gently. "I will always be by your side."
"But what do we do now?" Xena asked, concern in her voice.
"Now?" Gabrielle leaned in and pressed her lips against her lover’s softly. "Now, we sleep."
"And when we wake?"
"Will you still love and want me?" Gabrielle asked solemnly.
"And I will still love and want you." Xena smiled brightly at that. "Though maybe not quite so frequently," she added with a grin.
"Unless you can get more of that brew..."
Xena pulled Gabrielle back onto the bed with her and held her. "Why don’t we wait and see how sore you are later before we place any special orders."
"Well, maybe if I’d had the right dosage," she suggested.
"Gabrielle, I don’t expect to need an aphrodisiac any time soon."
"I love you, Xena."
"I love you too."
And they slept.