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
Jim listened the sound of the T-bird pulling up at the back of the building, glad that Blair and Duncan were home. They'd been gone a long time, and he couldn't wait to tell Blair about what Simon had said. He was singing along with the radio he'd turned on in the kitchen, pulling the first sheet of his batch of Christmas cookies out of the oven.
"It's open." Jim called, just as Blair was about to knock. He and Duncan came in together, and from the way they stood close together, and the relaxed look on his Guide's face, he could tell that they'd come to some sort of an agreement about everything that had happened this morning.
"Hey, Chief, how's it going?" Jim looked up from the decorated sugar cookies he was transferring to a cooling rack with a non stick spatula.
"Pretty good. You're making Christmas cookies? That's awesome! Can I have one?"
Jim laughed at his best friend, who was obviously still a little high. "Of course you can. They're for you. Well, and the party too, but I figured I should try to make up for giving you such a hard time. I'm sorry, Blair. You should be able to do whatever you want, it's not like you don't have common sense."
Blair was stunned. He'd expected Jim to still be stewing over the fact that he'd smoked a joint with Spencer. An apology from Jim was still a novelty.
"So, what's put you in such a good mood, man? You're about to bubble over."
Standing next to him, Duncan smiled. He was glad that Jim seemed willing to put this morning's disagreements behind them. It made him happy, to see Blair comfortable enough to tease him. The dynamic between these two was so close. In spite of the way he and Jim had clashed this morning, the more time he spent around them the more he felt that he'd made the right decision.
"I called Simon. He says that he's friends with the Chief of Police here, and that he thinks he can get me on the force." Jim was beaming, as he placed the next dozen decorated cookies onto a cookie sheet and put them in the oven.
"Really? Even with the suspension?" Blair sounded unconvinced, and Duncan was frowning.
Jim didn't let their negative reactions deter him at all. "Yep, he told me he'd put a call through first thing after New Year's, and that he'd even go as far as getting a letter of recommendation from the Mayor if it was necessary. I think it's gonna work, Chief, I really do."
"I thought we talked about this, Jim. I didn't think you wanted to be a cop anymore." Blair cocked his head at his Sentinel, coming over to sit on a stool in the kitchen where Jim was working at the counter.
"Of course he does, Blair. It's in his nature." Duncan followed his lover into the kitchen, slapping Jim on the back. "Congratulations, I'm happy for you."
"Blair listen to me... I'm not happy here. No, wait, let me talk. Duncan's right. Being a cop, it's what I am. It's what I was for years before this Sentinel thing, and it's the only thing I've ever done that's really made me happy. I don't want to do anything else, even if I can use to the Sentinel thing other ways, I just don't want to. I want my gun and my badge back, Chief, more than anything. I'm goin' out of my mind sitting around all day."
He went back and forth between the counter and the oven as he spoke, moving restlessly from the sheets of cookies waiting to go into the oven to the ones that were baking.
Blair thought about what Jim said. He could see that Jim was getting stir crazy, but this announcement was the last thing Blair had expected to hear. He was a little surprised by Duncan's reaction as well. "But how are you going to handle your senses on your own? Jim, look, I'm not a cop, and I don't want to be one. I still have nightmares about Lash, man. I am just so totally not cut out for the serve and protect thing. I didn't really expect you to react this way, either, Duncan." Blair added mildly, somewhat put off by his lover's reaction.
"I know that, Chief, nobody said you had to be. Look, as long as you're willing to keep working with me at home, we can figure out ways for me to handle it, I know we can, Blair. I have faith in you, and I gotta do this, I really do, for me. If I'm going to live here, I need to start building some kind of a life for myself, and I've thought about it, I really have. Being a cop is the only thing I want to be."
"I think he's right, kiddo, Jim should be a police man. We need all the good cops we can get. I don't have a problem with it. At least I won't until it affects me personally, and that's something we'll just have to hope won't happen."
"What do you mean, Mac?"
"Well, the only problem I have with police is when they start investigating me and get curious. Quickenings are always a bit dangerous that way, too. But none of that has anything to do with you being a cop. Besides, I've got plenty of experience when it comes to eluding police men." Duncan gave Jim a cocky, playful smile, making him shake his head and laugh.
"I'm sure. No, really, thanks Mac. It's really good to know you're behind me on this one."
"Well, honestly, I kind of expected it. Don't take this the wrong way, Jim, but you seem like a cop, no matter what you're doing. It's just who you are. I could see you were pretty miserable without your job, but I know it's a great deal more than just a job to you, and I didn't really think that anything else was going to be able to replace it. I expect you to be a cop. However, Christmas cookies with red and green sprinkles I didn't expect. I'm seeing a whole new side of you here. I have to say, that blue apron is definitely you." Duncan's brown eyes sparkled with mischief, as he reached for one of the hot cookies cooling on the baking rack.
Blair burst into to giggles, laughing so hard he nearly fell off his perch.
"Very funny, MacLeod. You aren't the first one to tease me about this apron, and you won't be the last. You'll notice, however, that none of my clothes have food stains on them. Besides, I learned this years ago. If you want Christmas cookies, make them yourself."
"They're fabulous." Blair agreed, stuffing another hot cookie into his mouth.
"Will you bring some to Joe's? Everyone brings something, even though Joe makes more than enough to feed us."
"Sure. I'll probably have to make a second batch though, the way he's going." Jim smiled at his Guide, who had green sprinkles on his upper lip and had gotten up to ferret the milk out of the refrigerator.
"That'd be nice. Hey, Caro, save some for the party."
"My cookies." Blair argued, holding his handful of decorated sugar cookies defensively close to his chest.
Jim laughed, happy to see Blair back to his old self. He'd been really upset this morning. Whatever Duncan had said over breakfast had obviously been the right thing. "He's right. It's okay, I can always make more. I'll make him help me. Are we going to decorate the trees today?"
"Yeah, that's why we're here, actually. Are you interested in helping with with the tree downstairs?" Duncan asked.
"You bet. Let me get this last sheet in the oven, and I'll meet you guys down there."
"Sounds good. Ready to go, Caro?"
"Yeah, sure." Blair stuffed one more cookie in his mouth and got up to follow Duncan to the door. Halfway there he changed his mind and turned around, going back to Jim in the kitchen. Wrapping his arms around the larger man's waist, he gave him a hard hug, smiling when Jim returned his embrace. "I'm happy for you, Jim. I really am. I'm worried about it, but I'm happy for you man."
"Don't worry, I'm gonna be fine."
"Yeah, and I get to go back to playing cop-wife, pacing the floor every time you go out undercover or on a stakeout or something."
Jim laughed, ruffling his guide's curls affectionately. "I'm gonna be fine, Blair, I promise. Don't worry."
"Yeah, right. Like that's even a possibility man."
Duncan laughed, knowing just how true that was. "I'll try to keep him from pulling his hair out."
Jim let his hand linger on the top of Blair's head for another moment his fingers lost in the thick, unruly mass of rough silk. "Do that."
Blair slumped back against the metal wall of the lift, looking up at Jim on his left, and then Duncan on his right side. "Good job, guys, one down, one to go."
Jim grinned back at Blair, just as full of enthusiasm. "Sounds great Chief, but I gotta stop for a lunch break. Why don't you and Duncan start without me and I'll make myself a sandwich and meet you upstairs."
"No, come up with us. I'll feed you." Duncan clapped Jim on the shoulder, reaching across him to turn the elevator key.
"Thanks Mac, that's nice of you. You know guys, we need to get some candy canes for the tree downstairs."
Blair grinned at him, remembering how Jim had bought and consumed an entire box of them last year before they even made it onto the tree.
"For the kids, at the party." Jim defended himself, looking to Duncan for support.
"Sure, we can get some when we order the cookies and the deli tray. We should do that sometime this week, kiddo."
"Okay, no problem, I'm on it."
Blair walked ahead of them into the loft, going directly to the boxes of ornaments Duncan had dragged up from storage on the fourth floor. Jim's box of ornaments was there too. Opening Jim's first, he began unwrapping the glass globes from their layers of tissue paper. "These are so gorgeous, Jim. Where did you get this one?"
Jim came to stand at his side, looking to see which one Blair held. "In Germany. I was stationed there when I first signed up."
"It's beautiful. Look at the colors. How do they do that?"
"I don't know, Chief, but you're right, it's a nice one."
"What kind of sandwich do you want Jim? Roast beef?" Duncan called from the kitchen, pulling bread and cheese out of the refrigerator.
"That'd be great, Mac. Thanks."
"No problem. Gotta keep your strength up. I want you to help me haul some equipment into the back room downstairs tonight."
"Sure, no problem. Do I get mustard on that?"
"Yep. Do you want one of these kiddo?"
Blair looked up from the pile of ornaments he'd unwrapped. "No thanks, I'm still stuffed from breakfast. I can't believe I ate two omelets."
Jim laughed, ruffling his Guide's curls. "Keep eating like that and we'll put you on a treadmill."
Duncan came over to where Blair and Jim were sitting on the floor, ornaments and lights for the tree strewn around them. "Here you go, Jim. You know, Caro, I could probably help you work off those extra calories..." He grinned, pulling Blair up to his feet for a hug. He let out a short yelp when he got his ass pinched unexpectedly, blushing a little when Jim laughed at him.
"You better be careful, Mac, you might get more than you bargained for." Jim tried not to feel awkward about the topic at hand.
"That's okay, I can handle it." Duncan's eyes twinkled back at him from over Blair's head.
"Oh, you think so, huh handsome?" Blair grinned up at his lover, with a mischievous leer. "Better be nice to me, or you're gonna be walkin' funny, Immortal healing or not."
Jim felt his ears get hot. He looked up at Duncan, in shock, not sure that he really understood what Blair seemed to be implying. Duncan just grinned back at him, and shrugged his shoulders expressively. Blair was completely oblivious to Jim's discomfort. He pressed his body playfully into Duncan's, gratified by the response he could feel through their clothing.
Jim watched his Guide's provocative flirting with a firm grip on both his temper and his self control. He was surprised when he realized that watching Blair touch Duncan didn't make him angry, not at all. At first, he'd get embarrassed, but Blair was so affectionate with both of them that it had quickly become impractical. Blair had managed to shock the hell out of him though. He'd always just assumed... Jim couldn't even finish the thought in his own head, much less ask Blair about it, but it sparked a curiosity that was going to worry him like a sore tooth.
"Are we ready to hang ornaments?" Duncan asked, looking at the piles of tissue paper all around them over Blair's shoulder.
"If you two are done playing grab ass." Jim told him, laughing at them good naturally.
Blair let go of his lover with a final squeeze to the parts in question, his attention returning to the tree and it's decorations. "Okay, lights first, then ornaments, then garland, right?"
"Yeah, that's right, Chief. You're getting the hang of this Christmas stuff, you really are. Where are we gonna plug the light in, Mac?"
"There's an outlet behind the shelves there, that would probably look best, don't you think? Less cord stretched across than if we plug them in on the other wall."
"Yeah, I think you're right. Do you have extension cords for these?" Jim picked up the first string and began to patiently untangle the ball of lights and green wire.
"There should be one there, in the box." Duncan took the end of the lights with the plug and helped Jim unwind the string.
"Yep, got it." Blair held up the orange extension cord, taking it over the the wall to plug it in. "Okay, give me the end."
Duncan walked the light plug over to Blair, who plugged it in, smiling in satisfaction when the multi-colored string lit up. "Cool, they work. No burned out bulbs?"
"Nope, we're good Chief."
Jim helped Duncan wind the lights in spirals around the top of the tree, telling himself that he'd handled that a hell of a lot better than he would have four weeks ago. He was proud of himself, when he thought about all the little ways he had changed for Blair. Well, maybe just because of him. Blair was the most extraordinary person he'd ever met, and it had taken him almost five years to come to terms with the idea that yes, he did love Blair. It just wasn't what he'd imagined, or what he thought love was supposed to be. He didn't have a crush on him, he didn't get all mushy and romantic, it seemed ridiculous to even imagine it. He just needed him, in a way so basic, so essential, that it didn't matter, absolutely nothing in this world was more important to him than his Guide, and the bond they shared.
That was the easy part, well, at least now it was. The physical stuff was a little more baffling. His body knew what was happening, even when his brain couldn't manage to wrap itself around the concept. Gradually, a little bit at a time, things seemed less strange, more normal. Like kissing Blair, or even just reaching out to touch him. He didn't hesitate anymore, and the more comfortable he became with Blair as a bed mate, the more questions he had that he didn't know how to ask. Lately, he watched Duncan and Blair not so much to force himself to deal with it, but to try to get a little more information about how he was supposed to do this.
"Hey, Jim..." Duncan murmured softly.
"You weren't zoning, were you?"
"No, just thinking. Sorry, I'll get another string." He realized that Duncan had tucked in the end of the string of lights, and was waiting for him to get another.
When he came back to the tree, Duncan was watching Blair unwrap the ornaments. He had a small smile on his face and a bemused, faraway look in his eyes. It was almost reassuring, to see Duncan get so moony over Blair, it made him feel better. Blair was holding up a frosted glass globe decorated with silver and white tassels, spinning it back and forth to watch the tassels dance. Duncan's smile spread until it lit up his face, and Jim realized that he was very glad that it was Duncan MacLeod that loved Blair, and not anyone else.
"Where's this one from Jim?"
"I got that one in Hong Kong Chief. I bought it for my mom, actually. I hadn't seen her in years, but for some reason I thought she'd like it."
"Did she?" Duncan asked, handing Jim the roll of lights to wrap around his side of the big tree.
"I never got the chance to give it to her, she died that year."
"I'm sorry, Jim. That's too bad. I'm sure she would have liked it, it's beautiful."
"You know, I have no idea if she would have or not. I really didn't know her very well. After she left my dad, I think she thought it would just be easier on us if she kept her distance. I think Steven missed her a lot more than I did, he was younger..."
Blair stood up, carrying the ornament to the tree, where Jim was standing. Without saying a word, he hung the ornament with great care near the top, on a branch where he was sure it would be seen. Coming down off his tip toes, he leaned against the taller man for a moment, silently offering his Sentinel something to fill the empty space. It was what he did best, just being there, in case Jim needed him.
Duncan stretched luxuriantly under the covers, watching Blair's progress as he walked around the loft, turning off lights and closing windows. It was a cold night, and bed felt wonderful. Blair was wearing nothing but one of his old sweatshirts. It had become his favorite thing to sleep in. Washed over and over again, the fabric had become exceptionally soft, and the elastic waist stretched. It hung down to mid thigh on him, and every once in a while, Blair would bend over slightly and he would catch a glimpse of an attractively curved ass cheek.
"Come to bed, Caro, I'm lonely."
"Oh are you? Lonely or just horny?" Blair teased, crossing the length of the loft to crawl into the big bed.
"Both. Definitely both."
"Well, I just might be able to help you out with that, Mr. Lonely." Blair cuddled up to Duncan's warmth, lying down on his side to wrap his arms around Duncan's waist. "You know, for a day that started out really lousy, it sure turned out well. I had a really good day, in spite of everything."
"Mm, and we haven't gotten to the grande finale." Duncan grinned at him, wiggling his eyebrows.
Blair laughed, propping himself up on his elbow to look at him. "What did you have in mind?"
Duncan's smile widened, he interlaced his fingers behind his head, laying back on his pillow. He closed his eyes, letting the picture form in his mind.
"Hmm, a beautiful boy on top of me, long hair in my face, moving nice and slow..."
"That's a pretty picture. We can do that..." Blair whispered, rolling from his side on top of his lover.
Jim sat in front of the muted television, half listening to CNN. He was tired, but not quite tired enough to sleep, not yet. He drank his beer, thinking over the day and everything that had happened. His hearing already tuned to the quiet tv, Blair and Duncan's voices broke into his reverie. They were getting ready for bed, Blair was barefoot, walking around the loft. He tried to make himself shut them out, but after the way they'd been teasing each other this afternoon, his curiosity just wouldn't let him. No matter what he tried to think about to block it out, the sound of their voices drew him back.
Duncan was telling Blair to come to bed, and after the sound of the window being latched, he did. Jim listened to their bedsprings squeak, trying desperately not to imagine his Guide crawling into bed with Duncan. It didn't make him angry, not at all. It was comforting to know that Blair had someone to take care of him, if anything were ever to happen to him. The pictures his mind tried to form were maddening, just the same. They created such intense confusion, arousal and curiosity for him, he didn't know how to turn his ear away from the sounds of them.
"A beautiful boy, on top of me, hair in my face, moving very slowly..."
Jim moaned softly, feeling himself grow hard almost instantly. That bothered him, but he wasn't sure if it was because he was reacting to the act Duncan was describing, or because it was Duncan's voice that he was reacting to, and not Blair's.
"Oh yeah, we can do that..."
Blair's whisper, and then the sounds of his Guide moving in the bed, the weight shifting to the middle. He was on top of Duncan, and they were kissing. Not noisily, but certainly passionately.
"Sure this is what you want, handsome?" Blair's whisper was full of excitement and restraint. He was moving, but Jim wasn't sure exactly how.
"Oh yes. Besides, you can't go back on your word. You promised."
"I did? When?"
"I believe there was some sort of threat to the more... receptive parts of my person. Something about making me walk funny."
Blair's laughter was throaty, his happiness coming through so strongly that suddenly Jim felt twice as guilty for invading their privacy. He had the thought that Blair and Duncan weren't messing around, they weren't fucking, they were making love. It seemed strange, to think of two men together that way, but that was undeniably the case.
"Kiss me, handsome."
They were quiet for what seemed like a long time, only the soft sounds of lips meeting and parting in the silence, and the rustle of the cotton sheets and the blankets. Jim was still on the couch, leaning back now, his hands limp in his lap and his beer forgotten on the coffee table.
"You taste so good. I love you Duncan. "
Blair's whisper had a tone of urgency, now, and his weight shifted on the mattress. Jim's mind formed a very vivid, detailed picture of his Guide, sliding down Duncan's naked body, and he groaned, ashamed by his inability to control his mind's visions of them together, or his body's powerful reaction.
"Blair... Oh Caro... I want you. I want you now."
"Shh... Relax, handsome, we have all night. It's not like I get you in this mood all the time, let me enjoy it."
"Ah... God, your mouth..."
Jim moaned softly, his hand moving slowly, unconsciously, to his belt. Duncan's quiet groans filled his ears, and his eyes drifted shut, blocking out everything but the soft sounds of their lovemaking.
"Spread your legs a little wider for me." Blair's whisper was lower, more intimate.
Duncan shifted on the bed, his breathing becoming more harsh in the silence. He groaned Blair's name, very obviously trying to be quiet.
"Blair... Blair... Oh god, please."
"Don't rush me, lover. I like you like this. Tell me this doesn't feel incredible..." Blair's tongue was busy, the soft sounds of his licking and sucking so painfully arousing that Jim had his cock freed from the prison of his slacks and in his fist before he even realized it.
"Ah god... Yes, it feels good. So good..." Duncan cried softly, his voice breaking on the last words.
"Mmm, relax, just enjoy it."
"No one's ever... done this to me before, before you. Oh god..."
There was the sound of blankets shifting and then Jim realized that Blair must have stopped, because Duncan's breathing evened out a little, becoming less raspy.
"You're kidding. Really? Not in four hundred years?"
"Um, no, I don't think so. No, definitely not, I'd remember it."
Blair laughed, joyously, and then he asked, "How could anyone, possibly, resist sticking their tongue in this gorgeous, perfect ass? You're so incredible, how could they not want to do this..."
Duncan moaned in answer, his breath rushing out of him as his heartbeat picked up speed. Jim's hand fell to the side, his erection diminishing gradually as he sat there, a perfect picture of total shock, his mouth hanging open and his eyes staring sightlessly in front of him. He had heard the words "rim job" before in his life, but he'd never actually considered what the term meant. He never could have imagined Blair doing something like that, that was for sure. He was mildly disgusted, but mostly he was simply shocked, astounded. It wasn't something he was ever going to be able to ask his Guide about, that was for sure.
Why the hell would you want to do that, or have it done to you, for that matter? What would it feel like? Jim thought about it for almost a full second, and then decided that he really didn't want to know. Taking refuge in the half a can of almost warm beer, he finished it off in two gulps and got up to throw it out. He turned off the lights, and when straight to bed. Getting under the covers and curling up on his side, he realized that it was now very easy to block out Blair and Duncan's voices, it took almost no effort at all. He lay there for a long time in the darkness, not sleeping, but not thinking anything either. He tried to tell himself that his life was complicated enough, he didn't need to start worrying about what Blair and Duncan did in bed together.
Methos lay sprawled out on Joe's couch, surrounded by many stacks of photocopied material. Joe had fulfilled his promise, and obtained for him from the library a copy of every paper Blair Sandburg had ever published, including a copy of the dissertation, which was in itself an exhaustive body of work. He'd been reading for the past twenty-four hours.
He had a little more respect for Duncan's new boyfriend, but still doubted seriously that he had the necessary skills to be a Guide to anyone. The thesis itself was a joke, his theories were all based on erroneous facts, but it did give him some interesting insights into the dynamics of Blair's relationship with Ellison. Obviously, that was the problem. What he wanted to know, and still had no answer for, was what the hell Duncan was doing between them.
He had it all wrong, of course, Methos had seen that before he'd even read the dissertation, but his theory that Ellison's hyperactive senses were a fight or flight response was simply laughable. Sentinels kept watch and protected their tribes because it was their nature to do so. They reacted the way they did to their environment because of protective instincts, not fear. They were intensely nurturing, and almost totally submissive in their relationship with their Guide.
A Sentinel's whole life was centered around their need to help and protect their people. Due to their latent, he'd always thought genetic, abilities, they were usually the primary hunters, providing meat for the entire tribe. They also helped to gather other hard to find necessities like fruits and nuts, in the seasons when they were less plentiful. It was part of their job, but also their own need, to feed the tribe and to provide extra food for hoarding.
A Sentinel never ate the food he provided for the community, though. Like the holy men, they secluded themselves, living in dwelling separated by a little distance from the rest of their people, and were fed and clothed solely by their Guide. It was both a Guide's honor, and his responsibility, to feed and clothe the Sentinel, and to provide for all of their personal needs. It was a much, much closer and more dependent relationship than the one between Blair and Ellison had seemed to be.
End Part 27