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
Blair rolled over in the big bed, slowly waking up as the extra space registered in his consciousness. He flung out one arm, finding only blankets beside him. Sighing, he opened his eyes, already missing the bodies that deserted him in the early hours to go running in the frozen park. Blair smiled and closed his eyes again when he realized that Jim was still in the bed with him. He was lying on his back, the empty space that Duncan had vacated spread between them.
Blair started to drift back to sleep, wondering where Duncan was. There was no sound of the shower running or the smell of coffee that Duncan, the first one awake in the morning, always made.
"You awake, Chief?"
"Almost." Blair whispered back, rolling over on his stomach to burrow farther under the blankets. Slowly, the events of last night came back to him, and he sat up in bed, looking quickly around the loft with a delayed sense of panic.
"It's okay, relax. He's downstairs, working out."
Blair took a deep breath, exhaling the relief slowly as he came more fully awake. His eyes went automatically to the side of the bed, where Duncan kept his katana.
"With his sword." Blair answered Jim sleepily, noting the absence of their lover's weapon in the corner.
"Yeah." Jim confirmed, the tone of his voice telling Blair all about the pride, concern and fear that Jim was feeling. He was lying perfectly still on his back, his hands folded behind his head on the pillow.
"You're listening to him?" Blair asked, his voice quiet to save Jim the extra work of tuning his hearing back to the normal range.
"Yeah. He's amazing." Jim whispered back, closing his eyes for a moment.
"Mmm, how long have you been listening to him?" Blair asked, rolling over onto his side to prop himself up on one elbow.
"A little while." Jim answered softly, sounding distracted. He was focussed on Duncan, the familiar expression of listening on his face. "He's working hard, pushing himself. You wouldn't believe how fast he can move."
"Yeah, I know." Blair agreed, his voice gentle and quiet as he watched the love and pride in Jim's eyes. "He's going to be okay, Jim. We just have to have faith in him."
"Okay, I'm gonna make coffee."
"Wait, Chief." One hand reached out to his shoulder, pulling him back as he rolled to the sit at the side of the bed.
Jim just grinned at him, dragging him across the bed for a kiss. "Thought you were going to just sneak out on me?"
"Uh-uh." Blair argued, squirming quickly back under the covers to press his body against Jim's warmth. "No way."
Jim's lips parted under his, letting him in for a long, slow kiss. When he pulled back, Jim was smiling at him, but his eyes were serious. "I want you to call me when you get to school, okay? Stay in for lunch."
Blair cut off his Sentinel's instructions with more kisses, sealing his lips over the worried mouth. "Come on, don't worry. You're worse than Duncan."
Jim's arms tightened around his back, a frown creasing his forehead. He rolled them back, laying down on top of Blair, hands on either side of his head to keep him there. "No. Listen to me, Blair. Duncan's right, this bastard could decide to use you against him, and you can't let that happen. I need you."
"Okay, I'll be careful, you do, too." Blair poked his lover in the chest to emphasize his point. "You gonna let me up, or are we staying home today?"
Jim groaned, looking at the bedside clock. "I'm almost late."
"You're never late. I'll make coffee." Blair argued back, rolling to his side of the bed when Jim released him reluctantly.
Blair went straight to the kitchen, letting Jim take the first turn in the bathroom. Soon the shower was running and the coffee perking, and Blair leaned against the counter top to wait for it, his thoughts with Duncan, downstairs.
The simultaneous sounds of the shower shutting off and the elevator clanking into motion pulled Blair from his thoughts. He poured three cups, pulling the blue ceramic mugs from the wooden stand next to coffee pot. Jim came out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist, and Duncan collected his coffee and a granola bar from the counter, kissing him on top of his head as he passed by.
"Good morning." Blair answered; watching his lover's sweaty back as Duncan crossed the room to put away his sword. His hair lay wet and plastered to his brow, the muscles in his arms and shoulders still pumped from sword practice.
"Can I have the bathroom next?" Duncan asked him, standing next to the coffee table and gulping coffee.
"Yeah, go ahead. I've got time." Blair watched Duncan and Jim moving around each other next to the bed, retrieving clothes from their dressers with familiar coordination. It felt like any other morning, even though it wasn't. Jim slapped Duncan on the shoulder and told him to have a good day, and collected one more kiss from Blair before he rushed out of the house, his coffee cup still in his hand.
Blair made the bed and watched the weather report on the morning news while Duncan showered, glad that the temperature was hovering just above freezing, with no precipitation forecasted for the day. In fact, the weatherman was predicting an entire day of sunshine, with the kind of righteous glee known only to weather forecasters in the great northwest. "Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it." Blair muttered, getting up to refill his coffee cup.
Duncan came out of the bathroom dressed and smelling like soap and aftershave, his hair pulled back into a tight ponytail and held with the Celtic bull clasp, with the letters 'hold fast' inscribed around the silver circle.
"Caro, I want you to be very careful today. If you notice anyone following you, or anything out of the ordinary, I want you to call me right away, okay?"
Blair laughed, nodding in consent in spite of himself. "Yeah, Jim already got me with the "be careful" speech. Don't worry, I will."
"Do you promise?" Duncan asked him seriously, coming over to where he was sitting on the couch to put an arm around his shoulder. "Humor me, Blair. Please?"
"Of course." Blair promised, his arms reaching up to wrap around his lover's shoulders, pulling him down for a hug. "I will be careful, Duncan, don't worry about me." Blair didn't want to ask, but he had to know. "Are you going to look for him?"
"Not yet, Caro. I'll give him the chance to find me, first. It's just a matter of time."
"How can you be so sure?" Blair asked, disturbed by the finality in his lover's voice. Duncan sounded neither confident nor fearful, only resigned. He clung to the broad shoulders when Duncan started to pull away, until Duncan sat down next to him on the couch, one arm wrapped around his waist and other hand resting reassuringly on his thigh.
"I just am."
"Okay, but you're going to win."
"Of course I am, Caro." Duncan smiled, moving closer to press his lips comfortingly over his temple, and Blair sighed, leaning into the soft kiss.
"I love you, Duncan."
"I know, I love you too. Now I really do have to go, or I'll be late. I'll see you tonight."
"Okay." Blair didn't want to let go of him, but he made his hands release his lover's shoulders, watching him with hungry eyes as he moved around the loft, collecting his wallet and briefcase, gloves and keys. Last of all, the sword was slipped into the sewn-in sheath in his long overcoat, and then he was gone.
Morning classes had gone well, no bad guys came hunting for his anthropologist butt, not that Blair had really thought one would. Blair figured that he'd done his time as bait back in Cascade, with Jim. All morning, however, he couldn't get one word out of his brain; Methos.
Duncan had called Adam Methos last night, when they were arguing over the idea of Duncan running away from a fight. The very sound of the name filled him with curiosity. Was it his real name, or only one he had used at some point before Adam? The more Blair learned about Adam, the more fascinated he became. It was like a sore tooth that he couldn't keep his tongue from worrying, the idea that Adam could very possibly be the greatest puzzle his anthropologist soul would ever find.
The phone rang, pulling him from his thoughts.
"Hello, Blair. How is our friend today? I was wondering if you'd like to meet for lunch."
Blair felt the little hairs on the back of his neck stand up at the sound of Adam's lyrical, slightly accented voice. It was as if the Immortal knew he'd been thinking of him.
"Yeah, lunch would be good, sure. Duncan's okay, feeling much better."
"Good. one o'clock? How about Nick's Fisheries?"
"Sounds great, I'll see you there."
As he hung up the phone, Blair wondered how the hell he could get Adam to tell him about the name Methos without pissing off the prickly Immortal. Adam, or whoever he was, had been so tight lipped about personal information that Blair knew he wasn't just going to say, "Sure Blair, I'd be happy to tell you all about Methos." Then again, Adam did seem to be warming up to him, sharing more and more of his knowledge about Sentinels with Blair. Maybe if he asked at just the right moment... Blair hoped he would recognize that moment if it came along.
Methos stood at the pier, looking out at the water. His fight last night with Amanda was running through his mind. At this very moment the daft woman was searching the streets of Seacouver, hunting for Carlisle. She'd been pissed as hell when she realized she couldn't talk him into going with her. She kept yelling about how they owed MacLeod. He didn't owe anyone so much that he would pay with his life. Still, he was concerned, more than concerned, for Mac's safety. He hadn't felt guilt in centuries, but now he couldn't help but feel that he did owe Mac this one. It was only the truth Amanda threw at him this morning; Duncan had risked his life for Methos, more than once, but MacLeod's battles weren't his to fight. Amanda should bloody well know it, too; she didn't have Duncan's excuse of youthful ignorance when it came to acting on impulse instead of logic.
Damn that woman anyway, and how did she get to know him so well that she could get to him like this? Methos shook his head, knowing full well that he was lying to himself, and doing a piss poor job at it. It was his feelings for Duncan that raised this unwanted guilt, and there was simply no hiding from that. After the blow-up with Amanda this morning, the first thing he thought to do was call Blair and check up on Duncan via a somewhat trusted third party.
In spite of his first impressions of Blair, the young man had begun to impress him. His mind was next to brilliant, and quick as a jackrabbit. He was interesting company, although like Duncan, he asked too many questions. Blair seemed to sense the line he drew, and walked it very carefully. Methos could see, though, that sooner or later Blair's curiosity was going to get the best of him.
Methos turned from the water as Blair jogged towards him, calling out a greeting.
"Adam! Hi, how's it going?"
"You tell me."
"Duncan was up early, practicing in the dojo. I talked to him before I left and he seemed okay, confident. You know, Duncan." Blair smiled widely, falling in step as Methos began the walk up the pier to the restaurant. "He was worried about me, of course, but I told him not to be. Are you hungry? I'm starving."
"Yeah, let's get some lunch."
Once they were seated at a table in the little fishery, a basket of clams and shrimp between them, Methos noticed that Blair still hadn't settled down. The kid was spinning the plastic basket of shrimp, bouncing his leg against the table, eyes darting all over the place.
Methos looked down to the spinning basket, and then back up to Blair.
"Oh, sorry man. Guess I'm still kinda on edge." He took a long slurp of his soda. "Actually, there's something I want to ask you, but I think it's going to piss you off."
"Then maybe you shouldn't ask." Methos smiled, but he meant what he said.
"Yeah, right. Um, I don't think that'll work. I kind of have this relentless curiosity, a burning need-to-know kind of thing. Yeah," Methos was amused by the way Blair was squirming, and his nervous laughter. "So, I was wondering... who's Methos?"
Never missing a beat, he answered. "You're right, you shouldn't have asked."
Methos got up and stalked out of the fish shop, knowing he could have handled that better. God damn MacLeod all to hell. This was all his fault. He could hear Blair running after him, but refused to stop. He needed some time to decide how to deal with this. Leaving town was looking like a smart move, no matter how wonderful Amanda's company had been; better to be lonely and alive. Before the next thought could form, he felt the immortal buzz. Picking his head up slowly, trying not to give himself away, Methos looked for the source. The pier was deserted, except for Blair, who was quickly catching up to him, and the large man in the tell-tale long coat he could now see at the end of the long pier, walking straight towards him.
Bloody hell! Spinning around, Methos hoped he could get the ever curious anthropologist and himself the hell out there before whoever it was, probably Carlisle, could catch up to them. Unlike the eternal Boy Scout, Methos did not feel the compulsion to take up every challenge that came his way. He heard the steps behind him break into a run.
"You can run, but you can't hide!" The shout carried on the wind, full of mad glee and expectation. Methos saw Blair's eyes get huge as the immortal caught up to him.
"Blair, get the hell out of here!" That was the last bit of energy Methos was going to waste on worrying about Blair Sandburg. It seemed as if this challenge wasn't going to be easily avoided. Turning his back on Blair, and facing the man who was now only a couple of feet away, he gave it one last shot. "This is far too public, ours isn't a spectator sport. Besides, I have no quarrel with you."
"You exist. It's what we do. You may be a coward, but I know what I am and why I'm here. We fight, it's why we live. So let's get on with it."
His opponent had circled Methos, and was now walking them both backwards, further onto the pier and further away from any mortal eyes. Except Blair's. The fool was following them, at a somewhat safe distance. Methos was aware of Blair in his peripheral vision, but wasn't about to take his eyes off the man, who had now drawn his sword and was waving it tauntingly in front of him. Reluctantly, Methos drew his own weapon, circling the man determined to fight.
"My name is Carlisle. You are?"
"Getting pissed off. Why don't you be smart and walk away, while your head is still attached?" Methos could feel the bloodlust coming to a simmer under his skin, the weight of his sword becoming an extension of his hand.
"I followed the hippie to see if I could catch up with MacLeod again, but you'll do for now, whoever you are."
With out any further discussion, Carlisle burst into action. His flurry of hard hitting blows kicked the simmer up to a boil and all Methos existed for was to separate the man's head from his shoulders. When they had traded a dozen blows he understood why Duncan had such a hard time beating Carlisle; the man didn't exactly play fair.
That was fine with Methos. Playing fair was not only boring, it was stupid. Anything to survive had always been his motto, and it served him well now. It didn't take long before Methos saw his opening, pulled his other blade, and finished it. His short sword sliced Carlisle's heart as his Ivanhoe sliced through his head like it was butter.
"Oh man, that is seriously gross."
Methos heard Blair's voice, but it was far away, lost in the haze of the coming quickening. He was surprised to hear himself yelling at Blair to get away, and then it started.
Blair was shaking; he could feel his knees trembling, but didn't feel connected to them. He was standing on the pier, staring at the head that lay on the cement, eyes staring at him. He heard Adam yell something at him, but didn't process the words. He still couldn't believe that he'd just seen Adam chop off Carlisle's head. He knew that this was what they did, immortals, that they fought and cut off each other's heads, but he'd never explored the reality of it. Never really thought about what it must look like, sound like, for someone to have their head cut off. It was gross. that was as far as his brain could get, and then he saw Adam fall to his knees as a bolt of lightning ran from where Carlisle's head used to be, straight to Adam's torso. It seemed as if the lightning ran through Adam's body and then out his arms, which flew straight out in the air, as if pulled by strings.
At this point, Blair got enough of his wits back to realize that the waves were gong crazy against the pier and a storm was beginning to swell around them. He looked around for somewhere to take cover, but could only back up, walking backwards towards the shore. He was unable to pull his eyes from the sight of the quickening, surprised by how violent and painful the experience appeared to be. Adam screamed and twisted as the storm ran through him, over and over. Finally it seemed to calm, and Adam fell into a boneless, panting heap on the concrete.
Looking around to see if anyone else had seen, Blair was relieved that all he found was the Fish shop employees rushing around the outdoor part of the fishery, closing down the outside tables they had set up. The unexpected rainstorm seemed to take all of their attention, and light show had gone unnoticed. Blair realized that it was raining hard now, and he was shivering and soaking wet.
So was Adam. Blair rushed to his side, offering him a hand up. "Adam?"
"I'm all right, just give a minute." Adam raised his head and looked up at Blair, giving him what appeared to be an attempt at a reassuring smile, but only looked like a painful grimace.
Blair was surprised to find all of Adam's defenses down, his face more honest than Blair had ever seen it. The spiky, dark hair was plastered to Adam's skull, and he looked older that Blair could even imagine. He waited quietly, unsure what to say in the face of the strangely disturbing age and vulnerability on Adam's face. Blair watched as Adam pulled himself up by leaning on his sword, disregarding the hand Blair offered.
"Were you the only witness to that little display?" Adam asked, his voice a bit rough but back to it's usual mix of apathy and sarcasm.
"Yeah, I think so." He didn't know what else to say. Blair wanted to ask a million questions, but could tell by Adam's tense movements and body language that they would not be appreciated, so he just shut up, shoved his hands in his pockets and followed Adam back to their parked cars.
"Well, thank you for a delightful lunch, Blair..." Adam fumbled with his keys and laughed dryly under his breath.
"Adam, can't I drive you somewhere? Are you gonna be okay? I know what Duncan's like... after. Let me give you ride, man, it's the least I can do. I heard that guy say he was following me... I'm sorry-" Blair felt a shudder run down his back, unable to say anymore.
Methos drew a deep breath, obviously marshaling his patience before he spoke. "Blair, I'm fine. I have a lot more experience at this than MacLeod... and I dare say more self control." Blair felt his face go hot under Adam's leer. The way the Immortal's eyes blazed briefly with lust as his direct gaze swept down Blair's body and back again to stare tauntingly at blushing cheeks contradicted his words, and Blair felt the heat of that look in spite of the freezing rain pouring down on them. "I have bit of age old wisdom for you, though," Adam smiled, the mask dropping back effortlessly, his eyes once again remote and unrevealing.
"Tell me?" Blair was stunned when Adam genuinely smile at him, and smiled back, glad for the feeling of camaraderie. "C'mon, hit me man, I can use all the wisdom I can get."
"It would be a bad idea to tell Mac that Carlisle followed you. He'll over react. You seem to have a realistic grasp of the dangers of being involved with Duncan, and I think you are exactly where you want to be, and you're good for him, so just don't say anything about it and spare yourself a lot of trouble." Adam unlocked his car door and started to get in when Blair stopped him.
"So, what do I say? I've got to tell him that Carlisle's dead."
"Just say that when I met you at the fish shop, I told you I had already run into the head hungry bastard and taken him. Say it was a chance meeting, luck, fate, whatever."
"Lie to him? I don't feel right about that, Adam." Blair shuffled his feet. "I know what you're saying is right; Duncan will go through the roof if he finds out that Carlisle followed me. Hell, man, it gives me the creeps in capital letters. I just... I've never lied to him before, or Jim. Oh shit! Jim will know. There is no way on this earth that I can lie and Jim wouldn't know. Shit! Now what?"
Adam let out a long sound of frustration, snarling at him before he barked out "Fine! Get in the car."
"Look, man, you're right. This isn't your problem, you shouldn't have to deal with it."
"Do you want to keep MacLeod?"
"Then shut up and get in the bloody car."
Blair got in, buckling his seat belt while studiously avoiding Adam's glare. When they were on there way, Adam exhaled a long sigh and spoke quietly, stating the facts with such detached surety that Blair felt his stomach cramp with anxiety.
"If he knows that Carlisle followed you, he'll over-react, and he'll leave you."
"What are we going to do? I can't lose him, Adam, and I can't lie to him, either."
"Then let me do the talking. If MacLeod fights with me first he's far less likely to walk out on you. We'll tell him the truth if we must, but we'll tell him my way."
"Why?" Blair wished that Adam would drive more slowly, so that they'd have more time to talk before they reached the dojo.
"Because in this one area I think I know him far better than you do, and I know how to handle him." As if the thought had just occurred to him, Methos asked, "Is the Sentinel going to be there, Blair?" There was a hint of something dark in his voice, and Blair's anxiety took off in an entirely new direction. What did Adam have to fear from Jim?
"No, probably not. He won't be home till later. I think he said around eight tonight."
"We're here. And Duncan's home." Adam noted, pulling his car into the empty space next to Duncan's Thunderbird.
"Oh man, I am so not ready for this."
"Relax, Blair." Adam ordered shortly, getting out of the car. Following him to the door and down the hallway, Blair did his best to obey.
"It's just me and Adam, Duncan."
Duncan was waiting for them upstairs; the sword set aside with a frown when Blair called to him.
"What are you doing home? Was there trouble?"
Duncan moved quickly, yanking the gate up even before the lift had come to a stop. Blair realized that his mouth was working before his brain, as words came tumbling out and he forgot all about the promise he had just made to Adam to let him do the explaining.
"Everything's fine. I'm okay, no problem. I met Adam for lunch and we decided to come to come home to talk to you-"
As he stepped off the elevator Adam's arm cut off his forward progress, a flat palm laid against the center of his chest. Blair closed his mouth immediately, his eyes darting nervously away from Duncan's.
"Hello. Are you going to tell me what happened?"
"Are you going to let me in?" Adam asked mildly, a little smile at Duncan's irritation when he stepped back to let them into proceed into the loft. Adam walked slowly to the couch, looking completely relaxed and normal as he flopped down in Duncan's wing back leather chair and made use of the foot stool. Blair watched in fascination, marveling at the control and acting ability being displayed in front of him. Adam looked cool as a cucumber, no more interested in his surroundings than he ever appeared, although less than a full minute ago he'd been tense and sharp and radiating excess energy from the quickening he'd taken.
"Get me a beer, Blair, would you?"
"Yeah, sure. You want one Duncan?"
"No. I want to know what happened!" Duncan didn't actually shout, but he raised his voice enough to send Blair's blood pressure skyrocketing. Blair headed straight for the refrigerator, taking out two bottles and listening intently to Adam's calm, disinterested voice as he told a bold face lie to Duncan's face. One Blair reminded himself he had knowingly collaborated.
"Relax, Mac. Everything's fine. Blair was never anywhere near it, the fireworks were over by the time he arrived. Yes, there was trouble, and yes, I took care of it. You can thank me now. I fancy that short sword you've got downstairs on the south wall."
"Very funny. Carlisle?"
Duncan jumped up from the couch, anger flashing in his dark eyes, scowling down at Methos when he demanded more information. Blair stood behind Methos' chair, handing him the open bottle of beer as Duncan began to pace in front of the coffee table.
"I hope you don't really expect me to believe that it was a coincidence. Bloody hell! How dare you? Mr. 'I never interfere'. How dare you take my kill?" Blair's breath hitched in his lungs as he recognized the bloodlust in Duncan's voice and saw it in his eyes. His fingers went numb and he forgot to breathe as he saw the killer in Duncan; the killer that must exist somewhere inside every Immortal. Of course he'd though about before, but he'd never seen it in his lover's eyes. Adam was talking, and Blair raised his beer to his lips, swallowing without tasting it.
"Calm down. You make it sound like he's the last one on earth. There'll be plenty more opportunities to face good swordsmen, Mac." Adam's glib response was a strange comfort; something normal to counterbalance the shock at seeing this side of Duncan, a man Blair had always thought of as gentle.
"Stop it, Methos! I'm not your student, and you had no right to fight my battle."
"I didn't get the chance to decline, Mac. I didn't go hunting him for you. I was meeting Blair for lunch at the waterfront and he accosted me on my way there. I didn't have any other choice but to fight. The fool was head hungry, he just wanted a quickening, and apparently anyone would do."
"How did you beat him?"
"Little trick I picked up back in fifteenth century." Adam shrugged, and took a long drink from his bottle. "I got lucky."
Blair did his best to look calm when Duncan turned his focus away from Adam. The rage was still in Duncan's eyes, but only for a moment. Blair managed to smile and relax a little as he saw love and concern calming Duncan's face.
"I'm fine, really." The obfuscation fell easily from his lips, even though Blair was still trying to process everything he'd seen. He had witnessed this violent aspect of Duncan before, when Jim had first come to Seacouver and they had almost killed each other, but for some reason it was different now. Duncan seemed genuinely hungry for the battle, and disappointed that he wouldn't get another chance at taking Carlisle's head.
"I know you're not telling me everything, Adam, you're only giving me pieces of the truth. Why should now be any different? We're all just here to entertain you, anyway, isn't that right?" Duncan's expression shifted with his eyes, frustration and spitefulness in his voice as he turned back to the other Immortal.
"I'm the one that just took the lightening, Mac." Methos' mild words were countered by the long, assessing look he gave Duncan over his beer bottle as he drank.
"The important thing is he's dead, and he's not going to come hunting you, so we can all chill out, right?" Blair stepped around Adam's chair to put himself between the two Immortals. He felt an even greater than usual imperative to defuse the tension in the situation. The way Duncan was talking to Adam set his teeth on edge.
Duncan took a deep breath and ran a hand through his hair. The sigh he exhaled sounded more like aggravation than calm. "Yes, Blair, the danger is gone. That doesn't mean I'm happy about it."
"Well I am." Blair met Duncan's angry eyes, holding his stare until finally his lover nodded in agreement, backing up to sit down on the couch.
Duncan leaned forward, arms on his knees, shaking his head wearily. "Then I'll try to be, Caro."
Blair felt the tension ease slowly in the room and he joined Duncan on the couch, his eyes following Adam when he got up to get himself a second beer from the kitchen. The air around Duncan was practically crackling with energy, while Adam had masked the effects of the quickening so well that Blair would never have believed that he had just killed a man and suffered electrocution by lightning if he hadn't seen it with his own eyes. Duncan's reaction was disturbing and difficult to accept after what he'd seem Adam endure, and he found himself unreasonably angry at his lover, and wanting to deny it, even to himself. He took refuge in his beer, his attention shifting to Adam when he came back to sit with them.
"Let it go, Mac." Adam's voice sounded both stern and tired, the lines around his eyes deeply creased as he met Duncan's glare.
"Why? I don't like you meddling in my life any better than I like Amanda's manipulations! Both of you need to learn to stay out of my business."
"For the last time, Duncan, it was an accident. Would you rather I let him win so you could play the hero and avenge my death? Is it the glory you're obsessed with, or just your pride?"
Blair interrupted before Duncan could do anything but draw a loud, angry breath. "I don't get you two. I really don't. Why can't you just deal with the fact that neither of you are dead and it's over? Exactly what are you accusing each other of, anyway? Caring?"
Both Immortals leaned back in their seats, defensive and silent for a moment, staring at him to see if he was finished interrupting. Blair saw Duncan about to say something, but Adam cut him off.
"Sometimes I wonder why I bother." In one continuous motion Adam was up out of the chair with his coat in his hand and heading for the door. "I'm out of here. I'll be sure to give Amanda your regards, MacLeod."
The door slammed shut just as Duncan was jumping up from the couch, chasing after Adam. Duncan slammed his fist against the closed door. "That man is the most irritating, manipulative son of a bitch!"
"Duncan!" Blair was so shocked that all he could do was stare at him, watching with gradual relief as his lover stood with his fists clenched at his sides, taking slow, deep breaths with his eyes closed. Finally Duncan shook his head, lifting his hands up helplessly.
"I'm sorry, Blair."
"Okay. Maybe you should tell Adam?" Blair offered his opinion gingerly, unwilling to deal with Duncan's rage again now that he seemed to have it under control.
"It's not that simple," was the only explanation Duncan offered, taking the long way around the room to sit slumped in the chair Adam had vacated.
"Okay, well, maybe I should just stay out of it. This is between you and him, but I'd like to offer you some advice, if you'll let me."
Duncan smiled, apology and affection in his voice when he answered. "Of course I want to hear it. I'm sorry I lost my temper."
Blair shook his head, thinking that Duncan wasn't going to get off so easily. His lover was all too ready to step up and take the blame, and avoid the real issue entirely. "Don't be sorry, it doesn't have anything to do with me. Here's what I see, Duncan; you hold yourself up to an incredibly high standard, you have this code that you live your life by. Now that works for you, and you don't hold your friends and the rest of the world up to the standards of perfection you set for yourself, because you know the rest of the world doesn't work that way. Except with him. With him, you do, you want him to make the choices you'd make, and you don't cut him any slack. Maybe you should ask yourself why you do that, why you want him to be like you."
Duncan sat silent for a long time. Finally, he leaned forward, elbows on his knees and his hands covering his face.
"I don't know, but you're right, I do."
Blair sighed in relief, getting up to throw away his empty beer bottle and give his lover a few minutes of space. He turned the water on in the kitchen, washing the three empty coffee cups in the sink. He felt drained, vaguely guilty for the deception against Duncan and vaguely jealous of his lover's reaction to Adam. There was so much more there than either of them were willing to deal with, and if he was honest with himself, Blair thought, he didn't want that can of worms opened any more than Duncan did. Seeing Duncan so upset was difficult, he wanted to help as much as he wanted to deny the conflict entirely.
Duncan made the decision for him, getting up from his chair and crossing the room to stand behind him. Duncan's arms reached out, wrapping around his waist, drawing Blair back against his chest. Blair let himself relax into the embrace, willing to leave things as they were for the moment. Duncan's bulk was solid and reassuring behind him, and he closed his eyes for a moment, letting the warmth of his lover's body spread slowly over his skin.
The lift rattled to life and Blair felt Duncan give him quick a squeeze before letting go and heading for the elevator gate. It was Jim, offering them a wide smile of greeting.
"You're both home, that's great. Rita and I have a stake-out tonight, Captain sent us home to get some sleep."
"Then I'm glad we get to keep you for a few hours." Duncan told him, going to Jim to take off his coat, hanging the heavy black leather on the coat rack.
"Me too." Jim unbuckled his shoulder holster, slipping his firearm into the inside pocket of his leather jacket.
Blair took in Jim's relaxed body language and smiling face, and decided not to go back to the University today. He could see Jim's good mood had the same effect on Duncan, who had slung one arm across Jim's shoulder and was leaning against his side.
He called in to his office and told them that he wouldn't be coming back today. He didn't have any more classes, and no meetings scheduled, so it wasn't a big deal. As he hung up the phone he saw Jim and Duncan engaged in a serious lip lock, and thought that maybe Duncan could work off some of his pent up energy in a healthy way, and he would get a get the pleasure of watching them, something he enjoyed almost as much as participating. He leaned against the edge of the countertop, watching with satisfaction as Duncan's firm grip on Jim's shoulders slowly guided him backward and up against the wall. Flattening himself against Jim's hard body, Duncan used the full body contact to his advantage, grinding against Jim blatantly as he pressed Jim's shoulders back against the wall.
Jim's helpless laughter turned quickly into a series of moans as he was deftly stripped of his oxford and undershirt, Duncan's hands were fast and determined as he worked the layers of cloth off to be tossed behind them to the floor. Then Duncan ripped off his own sweater, only taking his hands off of Jim for a second or two.
"It's good to see you too, Mac." Jim gasped helplessly, his chin dropping down to sink his teeth into Duncan's shoulder, sucking hard enough to leave a red welt as Duncan's hands went to work on the fastenings of his belt and slacks.
"Come here, Caro," Duncan invited, one hard thigh slipping between Jim's to pin him against the wall more effectively. "I'll share him with you."
Jim's groan interrupted whatever reply Blair was going to give, and he crossed the room quickly to join them.
Duncan's muscles were strung tight under Jim's sensitive fingers, and he wondered why Duncan wasn't saving this energy for the fight with Carlisle. This morning he had been completely focussed on being ready for the next battle.
"Did I miss something, Mac? You get your guy?" He gasped out as his pants were yanked down and his shoes unlaced with impressive speed.
"Somebody beat me to it." Duncan growled in his ear, sharp, even teeth attacking his earlobe, biting with so much determination that Jim understood very quickly the frustrated anger and aborted violence that Duncan was containing, and that he was going to be eaten alive. All he could do was groan, slamming his head back against the wall and into the demanding, insistent hands.
"I think he's happy to see you." His guide was pressed against his side, whispering in his ear while Duncan's hungry mouth moved over his shoulder and across his chest. Jim wouldn't have bet it was possible to go from fully dressed to completely naked as fast as Duncan had stripped him. Not two full minutes ago he'd been standing here in his work shoes and coat with his gun under his arm, and now he was totally nude and pressed hard against the cold wall. Not that he was complaining, especially when Blair's body joined in the attack, and he was simultaneously pinned and humped on both sides, four hands moving over whatever exposed skin was left.
"Anybody in favor of moving this to the bed?" Jim asked hoarsely. letting Duncan take more of his weight as a warm palm traveled up and down his thigh.
"No, not yet. I like you right where you are." Duncan growled back, taking each of his wrists and lifting them above his head. "Hold him for me for a second, won't you Caro?" Duncan's voice was husky, teasing and full of promise as he pulled Blair between them. Blair's soft, wet mouth covered his and Jim lost himself in the rich taste of Blair's tongue in his mouth. He was vaguely aware of Duncan fighting his way out of the rest of his clothes. Blair's fingers curled around his upper arms, holding him against the wall with the strength that always surprised him.
"Fuck, you feel good." Blair groaned, almost incoherently, his mouth pressed against the side of his neck while his hands slid up and down Jim's ribs and pushed hard at the hollow of his hips, pressing his ass against the wall. Blair's hard, hot cock was suddenly pressed naked against his thigh, and Jim realized Duncan must have removed Blair's clothing as well.
"That's it, Caro, get him all worked up for me." Duncan whispered harshly, pressing his body to Blair's back and pinning him between them. Blair's gasp for breath was loud and hot in Jim's ear as he squirmed, fighting for enough air to groan as Duncan pressed into him forcefully from behind, setting a rhythm with grinding hips and two strong hands on Blair's hips to rub him back and forth against Jim's cock.
"Aah, Duncan." Jim felt Blair moaning against his skin, his Guide's open mouth sliding across his chest, devouring him with sucking bites until he found a nipple, where he licked mercilessly while Jim trembled and thrust beneath him.
"Shit, Blair... Oh god, Duncan, let him... more." Jim heard himself moaning incoherently, trying to ask for more of the body Duncan was grinding slowly against him, giving Jim the heat of Blair's skin and the delicious friction of their hard cocks against each other.
Duncan shifted, thrusting hard against Blair's ass as his hands came up to brace on either side of Jim's head, holding Blair up tightly between them as Jim was pressed back against the cold wall.
"Jack him off." Duncan panted against his cheek, leaning over Blair's shoulder to press his forehead against Jim's temple. "Do it, take him in your hand and make him come all over you. I want to lick his come off your cock..."
"Oh God, Duncan!" Blair's moan sent a shudder of need through Jim, as he groped blindly for Blair's cock, letting the press of Blair's body against him hold up most of his weight as he gave himself over completely to the lust burning over his skin, the craving for Blair's moans and the powerful satisfaction of giving Duncan exactly what he wanted.
Blair was already slick with sweat, and Jim stroked easily up and down his cock, enjoying the feel of the hard, hot flesh in his hand almost as much as he enjoyed the sounds of Blair's moans and stray words.
"Good, good. Ah, Duncan, tell him, please, make him... faster. Oh god!"
Duncan was thrusting hard against Blair's ass, throwing his weight against them to press into the curve at the small of Blair's back. The slick body bucked and shook between them, and Duncan pressed close enough to get his mouth over Jim's for a few too-brief moments, a hard tongue thrusting between lips. Duncan's voice was dark and smooth in his ear.
"Squeeze him, make it good, make him come for you. He's yours, he's dying to."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah." Blair gasped out harshly in agreement, arching back to throw his head against Duncan's shoulder, exposing the white curve of his neck. He pushed up into Jim's strokes as much as he could, held tightly between them by Duncan's weight.
Their encouragement sent waves of desire through him so powerful that Jim lost track of everything but the pulsing heat of Blair in his fist, his hand a blur of motion over tight, hot skin. He could feel the orgasm coiling in his Guide, the tension that arched his body back tight as a bow until he cried out in exultation.
"Now, now, now!" Blair screamed, and Jim felt Duncan shift, pulling Blair back with an arm locked around his waist, holding him so that his come shot over Jim's stomach and dripped onto the head of his cock, hot and wet, the heady scent that sent Jim rushing into a state of almost insensible desire.
Suddenly Blair was no longer between them and it was Duncan's cock pressed against his hipbone. Duncan's mouth was hot and frantic over his, sucking and biting as he panted into Jim's mouth. Jim swallowed again and again, taking as much of Duncan's spit and sweat and lust into his body as he could.
He heard Blair groan hopefully, and then Duncan was peeling him off the wall, helping him stumble through their pile of clothing with one arm wrapped firmly around his waist, hard fingers digging into his hip. Duncan walked them directly to the bed, pushing him down on his back when he would have rolled onto his side to take equal part in the action.
"No, no, no. Lie back." Duncan murmured, coaxing him with long strokes down his body with the flat of his palm, soothing and exciting him until Jim felt almost hypnotized by the slow, firm touch of Duncan's hands.
Blair was curled up on his side on the lower half of the bed, smiling up at him with warm, sleepy eyes. "You look so good underneath him." The erotic whisper was almost lost in the sound of Duncan's harsh breathing.
Duncan's body was glistening, his muscles jumping under his golden skin, and Jim ached to lick and taste it. Instead, when he craned his neck up, Duncan firmly pushed him back down to the bed, one hand grasping the side of his face.
"Hold still for me. Please? Just let me have you." Duncan took his wrists and pulled them above his head, tucking his hands into the tight space between the mattress and the bottom of the headboard, so that the sharp edge of the wood pressed against the insides of his wrists.
"You can do it, I know you can." Duncan whispered in his ear and Jim had to close his eyes and absorb the tingling heat of Duncan's breath on his skin. A hard, pointed tongue swept down his neck and Jim found himself gripping the edge of the headboard with all his might as the talented, hungry mouth gnawed over his collarbone, biting him over and over again with gradually increasing pressure until he moaned, and then resumed its nibbles and licks until he though he would go out of his mind if Duncan didn't bite him someplace else. Duncan's fierce, calculated teasing went on until Jim began to thrust his hips up beneath him, trying to increase the friction.
"Stop it." Duncan bit him hard, his teeth sinking deeply into the tender skin at the hollow of his shoulder. "Hold still."
"I can't." Jim gasped, feeling the muscles in his arms tremble as he fought the urge to bring them down around Duncan shoulders.
"Yes you can." Duncan's voice was hard and determined, his hands pressing his hips into the mattress. "Please, Jim?"
The groan that came out of him wasn't an answer, but Duncan took it as consent, and resumed his attack, licking and biting with a focussed, concentrated lust that Jim was helpless to fight against. All he could do was close his eyes against the erotic sight of Duncan sitting astride him, leaning over him, his dark skin gleaming. Giving himself up entirely to sensation, Jim panted beneath Duncan's weight, trying to will the hungry mouth further down his body.
Letting all his focus center on where Duncan's mouth tortured his skin, Jim was almost able to ignore the ache in his cock. Then the mouth was gone, and his eyes opened to see Duncan panting above him, wild eyes locking with his. There was a ferocity to Duncan's passion, and Jim found it dangerously intoxicating, to see how badly he was wanted.
Slowly, so maddeningly slowly, Duncan's mouth returned to his skin, the pointed tip of his tongue reaching out to swipe quickly over his nipple, repeating the wet jolt of pleasure again and again. Jim groaned, absorbing the searing sensations while the rest of his body begged for more, pressing hard against Duncan's muscles everywhere they touched.
Quick as a snake, Duncan's tongue slithered its way down his torso. Jim's skin burned, and it was a challenge to get enough air in his lungs. Jim could only gasp and groan through clenched teeth as Duncan made good on his promise, licking every trace of Blair's come off his stomach and his cock with wet, lapping strokes that made Jim feel as if he would simply turn to liquid himself and melt under Duncan's broad tongue.
"Mac, don't... more, please, more." Jim couldn't stop himself from begging, or trying to, when Duncan raised his head, going back to biting across his lower ribs now that his cock had been bathed and cleaned with his tongue. Oh, that tongue, so soft, so gentle that it made you want to kill to get more of it, always touching him exactly as he craved to be touched.
"Will you promise not to move?" Duncan taunted softly, his voice low and sexy against his skin.
"Why?" Jim gasped, arching up against the insinuation of a hard thigh between his legs.
"Because... just because. Because tonight I want all this strength at my mercy. Because I want to give you so much pleasure that we both forget every single thing that's happened today. Because you're absolutely irresistible with your arms above your head like that..." Duncan's voice trailed off as he reached up to caress the insides of his wrists with his fingertips, sliding slowly down his arm to his run across his collarbone, bringing back the throb of the bruises his mouth had left there.
The trembling began in his legs and spread through his body, uncontrollable lust that felt like forbidden, even shameful pleasure. Yes, yes, I want this, Jim thought desperately, shivering violently under Duncan's light touch.
"Okay... okay." The barely audible groan was the best he could do. Jim could feel his face suffused with heat, his cheeks burning with embarrassment and excitement.
"No, no, come on, you're so gorgeous. I just want to eat you alive." Duncan's murmur was soothing, even though he was too far gone to comprehend what he was saying. Then hot, wet, kisses were being scattered quickly across his ribcage, Duncan's panting a reassuring, stabilizing sound in the dark chaos he was rushing towards.
Duncan's mouth worked it's way quickly down the hard chest, going directly for his cock. That Jim was so unaware of his sex appeal only made him more desirable. There was something about a shy, excited Jim that brought out the most powerful instincts of possession and protection in him. To have all this, this strength and unspoken need laid out willingly before him made it impossible to draw it out any longer. They were both hard, both ready for it, and as he dove down onto Jim's cock, letting it slide all the way down his throat, Duncan let Jim's moan fill his head, blocking out everything but their hunger. The sounds Jim made turned him on almost as much as the feel of the hard, slick shaft sliding down his throat. Jim letting out these hungry, guttural noises was Jim past the point of control. He couldn't ask for it, would never ask for the kind of dominance Duncan was displaying. He hadn't planned on attacking Jim like this, he'd just exploded, needing the release so urgently and knowing that Jim could handle his violent passion. All of the energy that had been called up to take to take Carlisle and then twisted into rage and frustration at Methos had found release on Jim's body.
He only allowed them a few sharp thrusts, pulling the pulsing cock from his mouth with a firm hand around the base, Jim's arguing moan lost above him as Duncan pushed the muscular thighs apart, sliding down to take full possession of the man straining under his hands. He licked and then sucked the smooth, soft skin into his mouth, rolling Jim's balls delicately on his tongue until he shouted and began to twist his hips urgently under Duncan's hold.
"Duncan! Duncan, now!"
The harsh demand brought him up to stare for a second at the magnificent body held tight and trembling with need, a straight, hard line of muscle and control.
"Roll over." Duncan groaned, his hands grabbing Jim's hips to facilitate the action.
Duncan ran his palms slowly up the hard thighs, his fingers kneading the muscular cheeks until he got another long moan out of his prize. His hands dug into the relaxed muscles, massaging with a forceful touch until Jim was totally relaxed and open to his invasion, legs spread wide on the big bed, arms still raised above his head, grasping the edge of the headboard.
"You are so fucking beautiful, absolutely perfect. Stay just like that, don't move a muscle." Duncan let his hands slide slowly over his ass and up his back, reaching over his shoulder for the tube of lubricant on the bedside table.
"Duncan... I want you now."
Jim's demand fed his own sense of urgency, as Duncan hurriedly coated two fingers of his right hand and his cock with the cool lubricant. Still he was careful, penetrating gently with just his fingertips until Jim squirmed and began to twist underneath him.
"Now, Duncan. No fucking around, come on... please?"
"You're dangerous." Duncan growled, leaning down to cover Jim's back with his chest, biting him hard on the back of the neck. Jim arched up into his body, reaching for touch, pressing back hard as Duncan repositioned them, pulling Jim up on his knees and draping himself over his body, letting Jim take almost all of his weight as his hand went to his cock, lining up and pressing just a little against the waiting hole, not hard enough to penetrate, just hard enough to make the body beneath him arch up expectantly. He felt Jim draw a deep breath and exhale slowly, rocking back a little against him.
He was so hot, slick and tight as he sank into him, Jim answering in a grateful moan. A moan that Duncan wanted to turn into howls, and he let go of what little control he had been using. He finally found the release he needed, pumping relentlessly into Jim. He was overwhelmed with the way Jim continued to lean back into his thrusts, taking everything Duncan could give, and asking for more. Pulling himself upright, he grabbed hold of Jim's hips, oblivious to everything but the noises coming from Jim, and his own animal lust, and he fucked Jim as hard and as fast as he could. As he slammed into Jim's hot, gorgeous ass, Duncan couldn't get enough air into his lungs to express his satisfaction. His skin was on fire, his body and what was left of reason begging and aching to come. Jim went still, a noise that could easily be called a howl tearing from him, and he felt Jim's orgasm rock through his body, arching tightly back against his thrusting cock and pulling Duncan over the edge. Holding himself firmly inside Jim, he shook with the force of climax, waves of release so explosive that he was dizzy. As soon as the after shocks calmed, he collapsed on top of Jim, pushing him down into the mattress.
"Mac," Jim's voice was raw, but happy. "Holy shit." They both chuckled, and Duncan felt Blair's warm body joining them. Blair flung himself over Duncan, one arm stretched across his shoulders so Blair's hand could touch Jim's. He felt a twinge of guilt for the way he reacted to Blair and Methos earlier. Then warm lips caressed his shoulder and he let himself sink into the euphoric afterglow.
"How the hell am I going to be able to pull myself together and go back to work?" Duncan opened one eye to see Jim make a feeble attempt at getting up. He couldn't, of course, being pinned under Duncan's completely relaxed body.
"You've still got a couple of hours, Jim, you'll be fine." Blair was chuckling at Jim's noodle-limbs. "Don't worry, I'll get up and make coffee in a few."
Blair sat up, and Duncan felt his hair pulled back from the sweaty mat it had created across his shoulder, his lover's fingers combing though it patiently, working out the mass of tangles. "Better now, Handsome?"
Duncan took in a breath, taken aback by how much Blair asked, and told, with that one simple question. Duncan understood now that Blair knew, perhaps even before he had, what this scene with Jim had been about. Blair was telling him that it was okay, that there were no bad feelings between them, and asking if it had been enough, if Duncan worked it all out, mentally and physically.
"Yeah, much better." And he was.
End Part 39