A/N: Okay, here's the sequel to Claude Os, Aperi Oculos! which is the sequel to In Vino Veritas. Martin III beta'd, so credit should go where credit is due. I hope you all enjoy the story.
Breathing was quick. The temperature was climbing. The only sound was the rustle of cloth and quiet gasps and cries from two intertwined figures.
Thin and delicate fingers gripped his short hair tightly. The halfling on top smirked, biting and kissing an elegant neck.
"My…" a soft cry, "…My lips are here."
The halfling felt himself nearing high point and he quickened his pace. The delicate hands cupped his face with a tenderness he wasn't used to and gently guided his face up. He was met with beautiful, enchanting deep violet eyes.
He faltered. Before he had a chance to think, the person beneath him connected their lips gently, lovingly, and all he could taste was wine.
Belkar woke with a small start.
"Thank you, whoever is up there," Roy muttered from somewhere in the darkness. "Belkar, you don't dream quietly."
"I was dreaming about that black chick we saw back at the inn while the paladin bitch was taking us to the city," Belkar said automatically. He could have sworn he heard the blood drain from Roy's face before the warrior fell silent.
The little halfling enjoyed a private moment of triumph in his head, but most of his mind was focused on his dream. So he had imagined the elf as a girl this time. It hadn't been the first dream and he doubted that it would be the last.
The odd thing was that his dreams usually involved rough, casual, possibly kinky sex. That hadn't been any of the above. It had been… loving. He wanted to gag.
He pawed his pants lightly, frowning when he felt very pronounced stiffness. He needed a nice cold bath to get his two heads off a certain elf.
Belkar didn't say anything when he slipped from his bed and padded to the door. Roy and Durkon were probably glad that he was leaving. They would then have their own private time to get sick at the image of whatever he was dreaming about. Elan would probably just be obliviously sleeping through the whole thing.
He privately cursed the lack of baths in the little hovel that dared to call itself an inn that they were staying in. The wooden floors were bad. The wooden walls and ceilings were bad. The lack of food was bad. But no baths? Not even a meager shower? Belkar stepped outside, smiling despite himself at the feeling of grass under his feet. He would need to make due with one of the pools in the forest just behind the inn.
He was quiet in walking into the forest. The scents were almost overwhelming, but it was in a comfortable way. The smell of grass and earth soothed him. His fingers were twitching, remembering the feeling of the elf's smooth skin in the dream.
Belkar sighed in frustration, an amused smirk playing across his face. Was this that thing that his cousin used to talk about? Falling for a person? Who'd have thought that, of all people, Belkar would fall for a pompous, pointy-eared, arrogant, elegant, graceful, beautiful, magical ass? Belkar didn't do emotional attachments. He did 'hey she's sexy I want to hit that.' But, while Vaarsuvius was many things, the elf wasn't sexy. Tempting in a weird way, yeah, but not sexy. It was funny in an ironic way. Of course Belkar would 'fall for' someone who hated him. Hate was attractive.
The halfling smirked at himself, bending down and picking up a white flower with a bell-like bud. It smelled very nice—reminded him of home.
He crushed it in between his fingers.
The bell popped, releasing silvery pollen into the air. Belkar sneezed when some flew into his face, dropping the dead flower to the ground.
Belkar looked up, noticing that the ground seemed littered with white bell flowers. He wrinkled his nose slightly, tempted to pick each and every one up and crush them, but he had put off the bath for too long. He walked through the flowers, taking a small bit of satisfaction from smashing them under his feet, but as he did, they released the pollen.
He didn't like those flowers.
The trees parted, and he smiled when he saw the lightly glowing water of one of the pools. Moss grew on the edges, but the water was clear and reflected the light of the stars gently. Weeping willows hung over the water, dipping shallowly into it.
Belkar trotted forward, but stopped very suddenly.
A familiar head of purple hair surfaced, taking a breath of air. Starlight reflected off pale wet skin, showing off inhuman smoothness and sparkling gently. The halfling, had he been able to drag his eyes away, would have seen the lilac night robe hung neatly on the branch of one of the willows.
With a start, Belkar took a step back, forgetting to try to find any gender-specific bits while he had the chance. The slight crinkle of grass was deafening, and the elf's ears twitched slightly.
Vaarsuvius spun around, sinking low enough in the water to hide anything that could possibly tell a gender. "What, by the elven gods, are you doing here?!"
The words were hissed, angry. The opposite of the words in Belkar's dream.
Belkar only smirked. This was reality and his subconscious might as well get used to it.
"I was thinking about taking a bath, but peeping is a nice bonus." The halfling smirked, walking up to the water's edge and taking off his night cloak. "You?"
"I was simply bathing… Insufferable cretin, what are you doing now?"
Belkar shrugged, taking off his shirt. "I came here to take a bath, remember? You think I'm going to stop because of a pointy-eared twit?"
"Belkar!" Vaarsuvius wrinkled a perfectly elegant nose in what appeared to be disgust. The elf turned slightly away, averting watchful violet eyes. "One of us should leave. I shall go as soon as you turn away your eyes. I have no desire to be with you like this."
"Calm down. So you're naked. It's not like I'm going to jump you."
Vaarsuvius's cheeks flushed darkly at the mere thought. "Please!" After the sharp exclamation, the elf's expression changed slightly and became more thoughtful. "Actually, that remains to be seen. The pollen from the flowers here are aphrodisiacs, and it happens to be their season. So yes, that is a possibility…"
"Aw, do you want the Belkster too?" the halfling crooned, taking off his pants so all that was left was his undergarments. "I understand. I attract the girls and the guys, whichever one you are."
"The pollen is far too ineffective to influence me. Not only do I have a superior elven metabolism, but I have a much higher Wisdom score than you. I also have a bigger mass—a small amount would have a larger effect on you."
"Is that a height dig?" Belkar didn't really wait for a response. He stripped away the last of his clothes and slipped into the cool water. Come to think of it, he felt his inhibitions crawling away, trying to hide their retreat by being small and quiet. At the moment, he couldn't care less.
Vaarsuvius risked looking back, paling at the sight of Belkar in the water. "Are you truly…?"
"Swimming naked with you? Apparently. Drink it in, Ears. No girl—or guy, whatever works—should die without knowing the feeling."
The elf looked supremely uncomfortable. The halfling couldn't help but smirk smugly. Vaarsuvius may have been the subject of many of his erotic dreams, but he loved watching the purple-haired elf squirm.
"I am going to place the blame of this on the aphrodisiac in the air. I want you to turn away, allow me to put on my robe, and I shall depart and act as if nothing transpired here." Vaarsuvius slowly swam away, keeping everything important carefully submerged.
"Go right ahead, but I'm not going to look away. I've been asking the same question to myself since I met you and I want an answer!" Belkar smirk became more pronounced. "You're trapped, elf. You used up all your invisibility spells today."
Vaarsuvius's pale cheeks flushed furiously, eyes flashing. "Listen to me, diminutive cretin. If you were not a part of my party, I would have donated every ounce of my considerable power to your destruction a long time ago. Do not test my patience."
Belkar vaguely thought to himself that he had to renege on one of his previous thoughts. Vaarsuvius could indeed be described as sexy when angry. Then again, that could have just been the drugs that he was apparently breathing in. It would have been smart to stop baiting the elf. Belkar remembered last time he was around Vaarsuvius under the influence of something.
"Then blast me with something if you can, elf. I bet today sucked your spells dry." Well, Belkar had never claimed to be smart.
The elf's cheeks flushed a darker red. "I promise you, halfling. I will make you suffer in degrees beyond what mere words can articulate. Close your eyes, turn around, and allow me to leave."
"You can't do that. Roy would throw a fit. I'm the only other person here who's willing to kill the people we need to kill." Belkar swam towards Vaarsuvius, smirking. "You need me, elf. You're a cold bastard and you need me to back you up when you're trying to tell the group to be ruthless."
"I am nothing like you," Vaarsuvius said coldly. "You are rude, selfish, impolite, and have this ridiculous idea in your head that no one else but you deserves to live, that no one else but you even has a mind."
"There you go again," Belkar sneered nastily. "You think you have me all figured out. You think you have everything all figured out. But you're wrong. You don't know everything about me or the world. You think you know how I think. You think you know how I react or feel. You have no damn clue." He circled the elf slowly in the water.
"You are not the most complex of creatures, miserable cretin. You are lecherous, lustful, and blood-thirsty."
"And you think that's all I think about?" Belkar smirked. "You'd be right. My turn. You're a pointy-eared bastard who's obsessed with knowing everything, who's arrogant enough to think that he's somehow superior to everyone. How the hell you got a wife or a husband or whatever the hell it is is beyond me. You know what happens once you have no magic? You're nothing. I could kill you right now and you wouldn't be able to do a damn thing about it for all your power because you don't have a single spell in reserve."
"Of course that is what your mind would jump to!" Tension crackled in the air, and now they were swimming close to each other, apparently forgetting that neither of them was clothed, and the elf's eyes were flashing furiously. "Killing! Always killing! It is as if your life depended on the violent taking of others! Blood is your water! Screams are your music!"
"And why's that a bad thing?"
"Because, no matter what you think, there are people besides you who deserve to live!"
There was a tangible crack as the tension broke, but it wasn't in a way either of them expected. Suddenly, Belkar pulled Vaarsuvius sharply in and pressed their lips together. The elf still tasted like wine.
Vaarsuvius gripped his shoulders tightly, forcing sharp nails deep into his skin. Belkar looped his arms around the mage's waist, pressing his hands against V's back and pulling the elf closer roughly. They kissed each other furiously, biting lips hard. The air glimmered silver with pollen, settling on the surface of the water and giving their skin and hair silver sheens.
The muscles under their hands slowly relaxed. Both of them stopped biting. Belkar's grip became less forceful, his hands gently stroking the smooth skin. Vaarsuvius wrapped thin, delicate arms around the halfling's neck, twisting elegant fingers in his wet hair. The kiss became softer, tongues twisting together, gently, sweetly. There was heat and intimacy and desperateness all at the same time.
Belkar was the first to come to his senses. In a flash, he realized that he was going to get slapped at any moment and he would wake up the next morning on fire if Vaarsuvius thought that he had any control over himself. He decided to do what he did last time.
He passed out.
The sudden occurrence snapped Vaarsuvius back to reality. The elf recoiled, slapping a hand over swollen lips. Violet eyes widened, staring at the unconscious halfling floating innocently on the water.
"Oh my God!"
Vaarsuvius looked up as Haley slowly stepped into the clearing, her mouth hanging open. "V, were you just playing tonsil hockey with Belkar?!"
The elf looked from Haley to Belkar in shock for a moment. Quickly, the mage zipped out of the water, grabbing the lilac night robe from the willow's branches and pulling it on. "I… I didn't think…"
"Didn't think what?!"
"Why are you here?!" Vaarsuvius snapped, spinning around and holding the robe closed. Normally pale cheeks were dark red in embarrassment, heating up an already warm face. "I came here with the expectation that this would be a safe, private place to clean myself. Now there is an entire half of our party present!"
"I woke up and you still hadn't come back! I was worried!" Haley gave a slight disgusted sneer in Belkar's direction. "You know, I thought he was forcing you for a minute there."
"No… no, he was not." Vaarsuvius's hands shook slightly. The elf kneeled by the water, absently pulling the halfling out before he drowned and hurriedly covering him. "Belkar is many things, but a sexual assaulter he is not. I consented. I… I returned it…"
The elf straightened, smoothing down the sleep robe absently. "It is the pollen in the air. The Connubialis Florum. It is usually purified and used as an ingredient in potions meant to increase libido and lessen inhibitions…."
"V, you're married!"
"I am aware of that, Miss Starshine." Vaarsuvius shivered against the night air, wrapping Belkar's cloak around the little halfling. "It was the aphrodisiac. Please assist me with him—if we leave him here he shall get ill and slow us all down."
"V, you were just swapping spit with—"
"Miss Starshine, that never happened. And we shall never speak of it again. Will you help me with the halfling?"
Haley looked like she wanted to say something more, but a furious glare from the elf silenced her. She slowly smirked, humming the tune of 'sitting in a tree' while she picked up the unconscious halfling. Vaarsuvius flashed another glare but didn't say a word.
Soft lips. Rough hair. Wet skin pressed against wet skin. The lips tasted like salt and fruit, pomegranates most prominently. They were gentle, hot, precise. Ravishing the partner's mouth in a way that was strong but not forceful. Tongues were touching, twisting and tasting each other passionately.
The elf tightened the grip on the halfling's hair, returning the kiss desperately. The thought that this wasn't the beloved Inkyrius who was taking part in the kiss was vague and irrelevant. This was gentle, but tense and fiery. The kisses with Inkyrius were never like this. They were always tender, polite, but they lacked passion.
There was no sense in this moment. The elf didn't want there to be. If this led to further intimacy, the mage would not have minded. The mage would not have minded at all.
Vaarsuvius jerked out of the trance memory, shaking.
"Ah, you're awake. Good news, V—Belkar woke up. I guess all those drugs in the air were too much for his systems. He doesn't remember a thing." Haley closed her bag, making her bed and grabbing her bow. "He shouldn't be bothering you. Roy wants an early start, so you should try to get dressed fast."
Haley was gone almost before she was done speaking. Vaarsuvius turned to stare after her for a long moment. Slowly, the elf looked out the window at the rising sun, pressing thin, elegant fingers to lips still swollen from last night. The vague phantom feeling of the kiss still played across them. The mage wasn't sure if the feeling was welcome or not. At the moment, Vaarsuvius never wanted it to go away.