Attention: This is an ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. Expect things to be wacky.
That said, this story takes place in it's own time
period. Zen&nancy no longer feel the need to
comply to TPTB's time lines.
Story title and lyrics borrowed without permission from Bob Marley (r.i.p.)
Mucho thanks to Suze for always being there, and to
MoonPuppy, who is crazy enough to be
resident beta at the House Of Slack, and the wonderful people who have written us, we're still in
shock that people like this soap opera.
Vive la RSM!
Three Little Birds
Duncan and Blair sat in a booth, waiting for their breakfast. Blair still had his sunglasses on and he was chewing ice. They hadn't talked about what had happened this morning, and Duncan was beginning to wonder if Blair was going to just leave it at agreeing that he'd behaved like a jerk. He'd almost forgotten that Blair had smoked a joint with Spencer, until a commercial came on the radio that sent Blair into what could only be called a giggle fit. Duncan still wasn't sure how he felt about this whole pot smoking in the alley situation.
Duncan had never had much use for recreational drugs. He'd taken peyote and smoked herbs in ritual, but that was many, many years ago. He'd seen too many times how drugs could destroy a person, losing Brian had hurt worst of all. It was the first thing he'd thought of when he'd gone downstairs with Jim to find Blair laughing on the floor. His first reaction had been the same as Jim's, anger and disapproval. Now, he thought that maybe he should try to understand what Blair got out of marijuana, and why he didn't seem to think there was any danger in it.
"So, you're pissed at me for smoking too, huh?" Blair talked around his ice, looking Duncan straight in the eye when he spoke, although his lover couldn't tell behind his dark glasses.
"I don't have any right to be angry at you. You're certainly an adult. I'd rather you not... Blair, I don't mean to sound judgmental, and I doubt very seriously that you are the type of person that would let a drug control you. However, I want to tell you how I feel about drugs in general. I don't like them, at all. Almost all the drugs that are used today have been around for a long, long time. I smoked cannabis and ate peyote with the Sioux, and I've tried opium in China, so I'm not completely naive, although it's been more than a hundred years. This is what bothers me," Duncan paused, considering his words carefully. "I've never seen any good come out of habitual drug use, none at all. If there are problems, they get worse, and if there aren't any, drugs create them. They also take you away from the people that love you. I lost someone I loved very deeply because he was so weary of living, so tired of the Game, that he turned to drugs. The result, for an Immortal, is disastrous. You're not Immortal, and I don't think you're going to make a habit of it, so I'm not going to tell you what to do, but I think I would rather if you didn't smoke it around me, or in the loft, if you think that's fair."
Blair shrugged, not sure what to say, or which emotion to address first, his lover's anger, which he was doing a very good job of hiding, or his pain, which he wasn't. "It's fine, man. I won't smoke it at all, if it bothers you. It was a Merry Christmas kinda thing, ya know? I really haven't smoked any in the last five years, it's not like it's a big deal to say I won't do it again. I was really stressed out, and it seemed like a good idea, that's all. Spence is good company."
Duncan sighed, not sure that Blair had really understood what he'd tried to say, or why he felt the way he did. "Okay, well, I guess we really don't have to make any ultimatums here, I'm sorry I can't be more casual about it."
Blair shrugged again, smiling at him across the table. "Sounds good to me. Don't worry about it though, I don't think you're uptight. I mean, you're not sitting there going "Sandburg, I'm gonna kick your butt."
Duncan stiffened, replying quickly in a tight voice. "That's because I'm not Jim."
"I know that." Blair cocked his head at his lover, confused.
"Do you?" Duncan asked quietly, an edge to his voice.
"Well, lemme see, you're the one that can't die or do anything that goes against your moral code, he's got the super senses and the anal attitude." Blair took his glasses off, meeting his lover's level stare across the table. "Yes, I know the difference. You're my lover, he's my best friend. Are you sure you do? You couldn't figure it out to introduce me to Adam this morning. Would a "Hey, Adam, this is my boyfriend, Blair" really have been that hard?"
"Blair... I'm sorry for that. It was inexcusable, extremely rude and a very bad way to start with Adam. I should have introduced you. It just seemed that you'd done that before I got there."
"Come on, Duncan, don't bullshit me, okay? I'm stoned, not stupid. You didn't introduce me because you weren't even marginally aware of my existence. Or anything else, for that matter. The minute you set eyes on him, everything else got thrown out the window. I watched it happen man, I know that look. That's exactly what I looked like every time Jim so much as said my name for the first two years I lived with him. You're bonkers for this guy. Why don't you just tell me about it? I mean, if he's gonna ruin my Christmas, I'd really like some advance warning."
The waitress arrived with their breakfast and it gave Duncan a moment to think. Was he, as Blair put it, "bonkers" for Methos? He'd certainly tied himself up in knots over Methos enough times, the old man's friendship was very precious to him, and there was an attraction there. One thing he knew for certain, whatever it was, it wasn't worth losing Blair over. He loved Blair with a passion and devotion that he hadn't felt in a long, long time.
"Blair, I'm sorry. You're right, I lost my head when I saw Adam. It was quite a surprise to find him there, and I guess he caught me off guard. I should never have treated you the way I did, and I promise you, it won't happen again." Duncan reached across the table and took Blair's hand. "I love you Caro, I couldn't stand it if anything or anyone came between us."
Blair looked Duncan in the eyes and saw the truth and the emotion behind Duncan's words. "I love you too, you know that. I just can't help but get the feeling that there's a lot more going on here than just having an old friend you haven't seen in a while drop by. Y'know, after hearing you talk about Adam, I sure expected someone different from the guy that broke into the loft this morning. I don't want to start a fight with you Duncan, but honestly, the guy was a total jerk."
Duncan smiled, and drank some of his coffee before it got cold. "He can be. He's not an easy man to get to know. He's secretive, and very often defensive, to the point of pushing people away. All I can say is that he is older than any of us, older than I can imagine most of the time, and that means he's lost more people, friends, lovers, than anyone has. I think he uses his sharp tongue to keep himself from getting too close to people. Especially other Immortals. I think I may be his only real friend."
Blair listened carefully to what Duncan was saying, doing his best to put his emotions on hold and try to understand. "Okay, so, tell me what you like about him?"
Duncan chewed his eggs slowly, considering. He wasn't sure he knew how to explain what he liked about Methos, it had always felt like more of a bond than a friendship. The events they'd lived through together had shaped and determined their friendship more than common likes or mutual admiration ever had. At first, he'd been in awe of Methos, the man he'd thought a myth. Then, slowly, he'd dropped his Adam Pierson, "just a guy" act and the real Methos had came out. He'd accepted the older man's prickliness, and his sharp, sometimes barbarous tongue, because it had seemed natural, as if it was the only way Methos could be.
"I admire his loyalty, and his ability to survive. He has done both good things and bad in our friendship. He manipulates me when he thinks I won't go along with what he wants, he's a great orchestrator. He also saved my life. He left the deathbed of a woman he loved very deeply to do it, and I'll always be grateful to him for that. I suppose when I first met him I was dazzled by his age, all the history he'd seen, and hoped to gain insight and understanding from him. He's not particularly willing to talk about his past though, and a few years ago I found out he had good reason not to. In the course of events, we shared a quickening, and I think that affected me in ways I'm still not really willing to think about. It was extremely disconcerting."
Blair drank his milk, sighing heavily when he put his glass down. "That sounds like a lot of history, between you two."
Duncan nodded, unwilling to gloss over the truth with Blair. "Yes, it is, but I don't want you to feel any kind of doubt because of it. I'm sure there's a good reason that nothing has ever happened between Adam and me, and in any case, I would never put our love at risk, or hurt you that way. You are the most important thing in the world to me, Blair. I'm sorry if it seemed like I forgot that this morning. I promise you I never will again."
Blair smiled, and reached for Duncan's hand, drawing it across the table to press a kiss to his knuckles. "I think that's a deal."
A brilliant smile spread across Duncan's features, and he pushed his plate away, too happy to eat anymore. "Good."
"I'll try to get over it and get to know him, but if he gets nasty with me again, I expect you to stick up for me. He's your friend, and I don't feel like I can just tell him off, but I'm going to be pissed if you totally ignore it." Blair spoke seriously, his eyes asking his lover for his support eloquently.
"I will, I promise."
"That makes me feel better. You ready to get out of here handsome?"
"Sure, let's go. We have two Christmas trees waiting to be decorated. That's an all day job, and this day's already half over."
Jim paced the floor of his apartment slowly, looking more like his spirit guide than he knew. This morning had been the last straw, and he was seriously considering just packing it in and going home. He missed Cascade, missed Christmas time at the station and the city's decorations and Simon's Christmas Blend coffee. More than anything, he missed being a cop. It was driving him crazy, sitting around here all day. Sure, he spent several hours a day in the dojo, working out and helping Spence run the place, but that still left way too many unoccupied hours. He felt trapped. He had no control over his life here, there was always something going on around him.
He was homesick, Jim told himself, shaking his head in disapproval. It was foolish, missing a city as if it were a person. Cascade was his city though, he'd thought of it that way from the moment Incacha had charged him with the job of protecting it. He missed the peace and quiet of the loft, and the view from the balcony. His life had seemed so ordered, so permanent, his career on track and Blair there to guide him. How had it all fallen apart so fast?
It still felt so wrong, not to put his badge on his belt in the morning, not to carry a gun or have a radio in the truck. He'd always known he was going to be a cop, it was the only thing he could imagine himself doing. He wanted his position on the force back more than anything in the world, and it had been taken far out of his reach. There was no denying that he needed Blair; that he couldn't work, or even function as a human being without him. There was no choice in the matter of his Guide, and as long as Blair wanted to be here, then he was stuck here too.
Jim sighed heavily, his slow pacing around the apartment had brought him to the kitchen. He stared at the phone on the wall for a long minute before muttering to himself, and picking it up to dial the eleven digit number.
"What the hell."
Jim listened to the phone ring, wondering why he was calling and what he would say. He'd never been any good at chatting on the phone, and besides, Simon was at work, and probably too busy to talk to him. He missed his Captain terribly. Aside from Blair, he'd been the best friend Jim had ever had, in spite of the fact that he was also his boss. Maybe he could just call and wish Simon a quick Merry Christmas, hear some news from the station.
"Simon, it's Jim."
"Jim! It's good to hear your voice, it's been almost three weeks since the last time I talked to you, I was starting to worry. How are things going down there?"
"They're good, Sir. How's everything at the station? Any big cases?"
"About a hundred, all of which have your name on them, but we're managing. Megan's taken over most of your case load."
"And my desk?"
Simon chuckled, and on the other end, Jim had to smile ruefully at himself.
"You know, she wouldn't take it. She said it was too big a spot to fill."
"Connor said that?"
"Yes, she did. She also said she hoped you'd change your mind and come back. So do I, Jim. We need you here."
"I wish I could, Simon, I really do."
Simon Banks was surprised by the intensity of emotion in his detective's voice. Jim didn't give his feelings away unless he couldn't help it. "How are things really going there Jim? Are you happy?"
"That's a difficult question, Simon. I'm happier than I was in Cascade without him, but not nearly as happy as I was before a blew it and I lost him."
"Jim, are you sure that's it's really this Sentinel thing that's between you and Sandburg? It's not more than that?"
"More how, Captain?"
"Aw, come on, Jim. You know what I mean. I mean look, Jim, you've given up your whole life for this kid, what has it gotten you?"
"The chance to live, the chance to be a better person. I mean it, Simon, I really can't get by without him. When he left, it felt like my whole life fell apart."
"It did, you turned into a first class asshole." There was humor in Simon's voice, but they both knew it was true.
"I'm really sorry about that, Sir. I want to apologize for my behavior the last few months I was there. I know I did a lot of things that were totally uncalled for, and I appreciate everything you tried to do for me."
"I just wanted to help, Jim, I wanted to get you back. Instead, I lost you. Are you sure there's no way you two can come back? Can't you explain to Sandburg how important this is to you?"
"He already knows that, Sir, but Blair has a right to live his life, too. I'm not going to ask him to give up his career for mine, I can't. Not after the way I treated him. No, Sir, I'm here, for as long as he wants to be. I really don't have any other choice, Simon."
"Well, if that's the way it is, I guess we're all going to have to accept it, but we'll miss you Jim. I will. Have you decided what you're going to do there?"
"I don't know, Simon. I can't even imagine doing anything else."
"I'm sure Seacouver needs cops, too."
"You know what I'd be up against, Captain. There's the temporary suspension, and the fact that I left Cascade before I was supposed to appear before the review board. They'd look pretty hard at what happened before I left. They'd want explanations."
"Well, that's true, but I have a college buddy who's a cop there. Actually, he's the chief of police. I think I could smooth over any investigation. And then there's your string of commendations from the Mayor's office. If we had to, we could probably get a letter of recommendation from the man himself."
Jim choked up, swallowing and wrapping the phone cord tightly in his fist. "You'd do that, Captain?"
"Jim, listen to me. You're the best cop this city's ever had. It's a damn shame that we have to lose you, but if Cascade can't have you, then Seacouver should. I don't think Sandburg wants to see you waste your gift, and I know I don't. I don't know how the hell you're going to swing an observer status for him there, but I'm sure between the two of you, you'll figure it out."
Jim sighed, shaking his head. "I don't think Blair wants to do police work, Simon. Besides, he's teaching full time here, he wouldn't have time to ride along. It's okay, though, if you can get me in the door, I'll learn how to deal with everything on this end."
Simon didn't sound at all convinced. "Jim, that doesn't sound like a good plan. Wasn't it not having your Guide with you that caused all the zone outs in the first place?"
"Well, that was part of it, Sir. It's difficult to explain. We've been working on it, and I think I have full control of my senses back at this point."
"Well, I guess I have to trust you on that one, Jim, but I'd feel a hell of a lot better if I heard it from Sandburg."
"He'll back me up, Sir, I'm a hundred percent."
Simon chuckled at his detectives eagerness, thinking that Jim must be going crazy without his badge and his gun.
"Alright, Ellison, you just take care of yourself down there, and I'll put in a call to Seacouver's chief after the first. His name is Bob Reilly, he's a good man."
"Thank you, Captain," Jim spoke solemnly, wishing he had the words to express how grateful he was for Simon's help. He hadn't even dared to think about being a cop here, not with everything he'd left behind him in Cascade.
"Merry Christmas, Jim."
"Merry Christmas, Captain. Give Daryl a hug for me. And tell Megan to take the desk, it's the same size as all the others."
Simon laughed, thoroughly relieved to hear what sounded like the old Jim coming back. "I'll do that. Keep in touch, Jim. Give me a call Christmas day, if you can."
"Will do Sir, I'll let you get back to work. Thank you, Simon, you're saving my life here." There, he'd said it. Jim felt a broad grin spread over his face, and a great weight lift from his shoulders. If Simon could get him in the door here, everything was going to be okay.
"Bye Simon." Jim hung up the phone, feeling like he wanted to jump up and down and shout with joy. He couldn't wait to tell Blair.
End Part 26