Disclaimer: We don't own any of these guys. Rysher, Pet Fly, UPN and a bunch of other people who make a lot more money than we do get to claim them. Please don't pick on us, it's all in good fun.

Attention: This is an ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. In reality, or as close to reality as Zen&nancy can get, Jim would never act this way. We love Jim!!!

This is a crossover. We're not sure where it came from, nancy doesn't even like crossovers. Zen kept pushing this outline for a Blair/Duncan piece and this monster of an ongoing work in progress is what happened. It doesn't seem to have an end in site. At first we weren't even going to post it, but now Zen really wants to share. We'd really appreciate some feedback here, so by all means, do tell us what you think. However, we really need you to read this one with the words 'alternate universe' firmly fixed in your mind. We don't think we've committed any character assassination (except that Jim isn't really a bigot), but if you do, let us know. We're tougher than we look.

That said, this story takes place somewhere roughly around the beginning of the yet to be fourth season of the Sentinel, and the never to happen seventh season of Highlander. BTW, Zen&nancy are in complete denial of the Archangel stuff and, so far, the entire sixth (crappy) season. So, none of that really matters here. :)

Story title and lyrics borrowed without permission from Bob Marley (r.i.p.)

Three Little Birds

Part 18

By Zen&nancy

"That was a great game, Chief. They win three or four more like that and they just might just make it."

"I'm telling you, man, it's going to happen, no question, total rebound."

They were alone in the loft. Duncan was downstairs working out in the dojo.

"That's what I like about you, Chief, you're an optimist."

"Yeah, you should be glad I am, man, or you might not be here at all."

Jim's expression turned serious, "I don't think optimism had anything to do with it. How did you know, Blair?"

Blair shook his head, smiling, "I have no idea. It was the strangest thing I've ever felt, Jim. I mean, there I was, standing in the kitchen doing dishes, and out of nowhere, just, like, this panic thing, and I knew."

"So what do you think, Chief? You're a genetic throwback, predestined to be a Guide?" Jim smiled, teasing Blair, but half serious.

Blair shrugged, "Maybe. Who knows? I could definitely agree that I have the predisposition for it, though. I don't care what it was, I'm just grateful it worked, man. You scared the living shit out of me, Jim."

"Me too, Chief."

"Can we talk about that, man? I know you don't want to, Jim, but shit, you put a gun to your head. We really need to figure out what happened."

"I don't know, Chief. I was out of my mind, and I did something really stupid. Can't we just go forward from here?"

"No, man, we can't. Look, you are just like, drowning in denial here. Can't you see that? I think it's a major factor in how you got to that point in the first place. Now you want to blow this off, too. You can't do that. You gotta face it, man. You gotta talk to me." Blair's eyes pleaded with Jim.

Jim rubbed the ridge above his brow, nodding. "Yeah, okay, I understand, but this isn't easy for me to talk about. What do you want me to say, Chief?"

"Hey, come on, Jim, I know that it's hard. Okay, let's start here... Tell me about calling me at the University. What was going on in your head?"

Jim thought about it, trying to remember. The last few days before he'd left Cascade were pretty fuzzy. "I can't really remember, Chief. Just knowing I needed you back, hoping that you'd be willing to listen to me."

"Yeah, but what were you feeling? Angry? Afraid? Depressed?"

Jim nodded, "Yeah, all that."

"Angry at me?"

"Yeah, at you, at Duncan, mostly at myself. I think I was just starting to realize how badly I'd screwed everything up."

"You really think it was all your fault?"

"Yeah, of course it is, Blair. I kicked you out..."

"Because I jumped you. No, come on, man, we gotta talk about what happened if we're going to get over this."

Jim nodded, he was embarrassed, but he wanted to talk about it. What had happened in the kitchen just now with Blair's touch test was upsetting. He didn't want to tell him, but at the same time he wanted his Guide's opinion. How was he going to find the courage to tell him about that, if he couldn't even talk honestly about what had happened four months ago?

"How do I do that, Blair? How do I get over it?"

Blair's smile was sad. "I'm not all that sure it's an option, big guy. I told you, I really think that the attraction between us is a lot more chemical that emotional. A pheromone thing, like Laura, remember? Something designed to keep a Sentinel and his Guide from separating, a bond that strengthens the others... But I suppose if you want to get over it, the best way to start would be to face it, name it. Stop saying 'it' and tell me what you really feel."

Blair realized that his hands were shaking. He was incredibly nervous, but one of them was going to have to have the guts to get it out in the open. He kept looking at Jim, trying not to communicate any of his own fear to his Sentinel.

"I don't know... I need you."


Jim closed his eyes, "Come on, Blair, I can't do this."

"Yes, you can. I'm not giving you any choice. Jim, listen to me... This is so important to me, man. I need you, too. I missed you so much, Jim. You can't even imagine. I was so scared. It was the scariest thing in the world to go to sleep at night and know that nobody was listening. I was so mixed up, man. I was furious with you for becoming so important to me that when I had to live by myself I felt like I was nothing. But I did that to myself, Jim, I let you define who and what I was, I let myself become totally obsessed with you..."

"I'm sorry, Blair. I'm so sorry. I know I took advantage of you. I shut you out and pushed you away as much as I could. I did it because I knew I needed you, and I'm not good at needing people. I've done it to everybody, all my life, I never let anybody in. You know me so much better than anybody else in the world, partner. I guess I didn't want to need you any more than I already did, so I blocked you out and tried to take control of every aspect of our lives."

"Jim, tell me the truth... When did you figure out you were attracted to me?"

"I don't know. At some level I think I was always aware of how you felt about me, I just never let myself admit it. I think maybe I wanted you to have a crush on me, I just didn't want to have to deal with it. That makes me a total asshole, doesn't it?"

Blair smiled, "No, it doesn't. It's natural, first of all, and second, I really think this goes a lot deeper... Jim, think about it this way, we're linked, like a magnetic thing, what would physical intimacy do to the Sentinel/Guide dynamic? Would we get psychic or what? I mean, come on, Jim, you have to see the connection between us, you hear my heart beat differently. Why? Because you have to be able to. You have to be able to find me. I knew you were going to kill yourself. That time when I got dosed with Golden... I heard you, I was able to distinguish you from all the things I was seeing, even when nobody else could get through to me."

"I remember," Jim interrupted softly, remembering again what it had felt like to hold Blair in his arms, waiting for the ambulance. "I'm not denying it, Blair. You're right, we're connected. I think I've always known that much, even if I never admitted it."

"But do you get what I'm saying? That the sexual attraction is a part of that, a fail-safe, maybe, or maybe more than that, I don't know." Blair looked at Jim anxiously.

"It makes sense. Blair... I have to tell you the truth. It's killing me, seeing you with him. I'm glad you're happy, Blair, I really am, and I even think MacLeod's a pretty decent guy, but it's ripping me apart, Chief. This morning, doing the tests, when you handed me the water... you touched my hand and I lost it, but I wasn't really zoning. You touched me and I just needed more. I wanted to grab you and not let go. It was almost impossible not to. When you put my hand in your hair it was too much, I was going to zone."

"That is so not good. Can we try that again, see what happens? I can't have you zoning out on me every time I touch you," Blair asked, but he was already moving from the couch to kneel in front of Jim. He took Jim's hand, watching him carefully. His Sentinel's eyes were full of pain, and then his grip on Jim's hand was returned and he was pulled hard against Jim's chest. Jim wrapped his arms around him, tight enough to immobilize him. They breathed in and out together, and then Jim released him, pushing him away gently and jumping to his feet.

"I can't do this, Blair. It hurts too much. I need you. I can't have you. I don't think I can do this."

"Jim..." Blair tried to go to him, but Jim backed away.

"No. Let me go for a walk. I'm sorry, Chief, I'm not running out on you, but I really need some fresh air, I need to clear my head."

Blair stopped, not trying to go to him again. "Yeah, I understand, Jim, it's okay, but I don't want you to zone. Can I come with you?"

"No. I'm gonna be fine, Chief. I'm not going to lose it walking around the block. Cut me a little slack here."

Blair frowned, not really happy about Jim going off alone. "Okay, but I don't like it. And please, promise me you won't go too far. We really haven't figured out yet how long or how far away you can handle."

"I won't. Don't worry, I can handle it. I'll be back," Jim grabbed his jacket, heading for the back door and the stairs to the street.

Blair stood in the middle of the room, trying to get his emotions under control and analyze what had just happened. What were they going to do about it? Blair began to pace, circling the small amount of open floor space. How was he going explain all of this to Duncan? Blair's hands went up to his hair, raking through the curls anxiously. He was sure that when Duncan had told him that he wouldn't come between Jim and his Guide, this was not what he meant. Blair spoke aloud, berating himself miserably, "If you lose him over this, it will be the biggest mistake of your life. How can you expect him to deal with this? He's already breaking his back to make you happy... Oh, God, Duncan, please don't let me lose you..." Blair stopped pacing, unable to continue the progression of his thoughts. He needed to be with Duncan, right now. He hesitated, the one thing he'd never done was barge in on Duncan when he was practicing with his sword.

He waited another five minutes, and when Duncan didn't come upstairs, he went down, hoping he was nearly finished, because he couldn't make himself wait anymore.

"Duncan, I'm sorry... I need to talk to you," Blair spoke quietly, watching Duncan and his sword slowly come to a standstill.


"Yeah, I'm sorry... I really do. Jim went for a walk..."

"Is everything okay?"

"Um, sort of..."

Blair looked so distressed that Duncan put down his sword, coming over to put his arms around his shoulders. "Are you okay, kiddo?"

"Uh-uh," Blair pushed his face uncaringly into Duncan's sweat slicked chest, wrapping his arms around his waist.

Duncan hugged Blair close, murmuring into his curls, "Tell me, Caro. What's upset you?"

"I'm afraid to. I don't want to lose you. I'm asking so much of you already, and I don't know what to do about it, Duncan, I really don't..."

"Shh, relax, it's okay, sweetie. You're not going to lose me, I promise. I love you, remember? Everything's going to be okay."

"Yeah, but I don't know how to handle it. I don't want him to be unhappy..."

"Okay, just relax, backtrack a little for me, Blair. What don't you know how to handle?"

Blair took a deep breath, "Okay, but we gotta sit down, this is gonna take a while..."

Duncan dropped cross legged onto the mat, waiting patiently while Blair paced back and forth in front of him. His lover was extremely upset, and the longer he took to tell Duncan what was wrong, the more concerned Duncan became.

"Oh, man, this is just not easy. I am so fucking scared that I'm going to lose you, Duncan. I don't want that, I really, really don't. Okay. Um, I've drawn some pretty definite conclusions about the Sentinel/Guide relationship. Jim's pretty much admitted to me that he's been totally repressing everything he feels for me out of fear. Which is pretty wild all by itself. I'm really seeing this as all being interconnected, man. His grounding himself on my heartbeat without even knowing it half the time, the way he zoned on me when I touched his hand, it's all about this link. It's a really powerful thing, Duncan, and I just don't know how we're gonna handle it. I'm so afraid that it's gonna fuck everything up. I mean, you two were just starting to realize how much you have in common and all, and I don't want to ruin it..."

"Whoa, just slow down a little, kiddo. Calm down, okay? You're trying to tell me five different things at once here."

Blair took a deep, frustrated breath and flopped down next to Duncan.

"Let me try and help you out here, Caro. You're trying to tell me that you think that you were right all along, and that sex is a natural part of the Sentinel/Guide relationship, is that right?" Duncan's voice was calm, his dark eyes regarding his agitated lover warmly.

Blair nodded, "Um, yeah, basically."

"But, you don't want to leave me?"

"Oh man, no way. Never. Duncan, I am so afraid that this is going to be more than any of us can deal with, and I have to find a way to make it work, because I can't loose you, and I have to help Jim. I don't see any solutions here, not any realistic ones, anyway. I just don't know what to do. I'm just beginning to figure this whole thing out, and now he's zoning on me every time I touch him."

Duncan took a deep breath, and reached for Blair's hands, pulling him into his arms. Uncrossing his legs, he settled Blair between them, rubbing his back soothingly.

"You've been taking it one step at a time so far, and it's been working. Every instinct you've had about this entire situation has been right on the mark. Just take it as it comes, Caro, and be honest with me. It's going to be all right."

"Oh man, I wish I had as much faith in me as you do."

"That's the whole point, Blair, I do have faith in you, and so does Jim. We've all dealt with this pretty well up until now, don't be so hard on yourself, and don't panic. You are not going to lose me. I'm not going to just give up or walk away from you, Caro. You should know me better than that by now. I need you in my life, and I'm here for you, no matter what."

Blair closed his eyes, leaning back against Duncan. "Yeah, I do. I love you too. I guess I'm just feeling guilty... I wish I could clone myself."

Duncan turned Blair's shoulders around to look at him, "Why are you feeling guilty, Caro? Just tell me, Blair."

"This attraction isn't just a one-way thing, Duncan! I can't help it. I'm trying so fucking hard and it's just as impossible as it ever was. Especially because he's finally admitting it too... But I love you with all my heart and soul, Duncan. Man, this is so fucked up. I feel like anything I do I'm going to hurt someone, and hurting either of you is like cutting out my own heart. I just keep running it around in my head and I can't figure it out and I just don't know what to do."

Blair collapsed against Duncan, he'd run out of steam and he was emotionally exhausted. Duncan pulled him closer, kissing the top of his head. Blair went boneless in his embrace, soaking up Duncan's love. It felt so good, to have his strong arms around him and his bare chest under his cheek.

"Hang on," Duncan murmured, kissing Blair's temple. Blair's arms came up around Duncan's neck, his legs wrapped tightly around Duncan's waist. Duncan stood up, rolling forward to a squat and rising slowly.

"I still don't know how the hell you do that," Blair whispered in his ear, hanging on tight.


Duncan crossed the empty dojo, kicking the door to the locker room open with the ball of his foot.

"What are we doing?"

"Stealing a little time alone," Duncan answered softly, carrying Blair over to the nearest bench and squatting to set him down, sitting on it.

"Oh. That sounds really good."

"Yeah, it does," Duncan whispered, unbuttoning Blair's flannel and pushing it off his shoulders. Leaning in, Duncan pressed his lips softly to Blair's, and then again, his mouth warm and gentle. Blair let Duncan lean him back, his arm behind Blair's back supporting him as his other hand dealt quickly with the button and zipper of Blair's jeans, pushing them off his hips.

Blue eyes smiled up at him, anxiety replaced by anticipation. Duncan untied his hiking boots, pulling off his socks and putting them in his shoes so they wouldn't get dripped on.

He lifted Blair off the bench and the jeans fell from his knees to the floor. Reaching one hand between them, he pulled the drawstring of the gi he was wearing and the loose cotton pants fell around his ankles. Blair started to slip and wrapped his legs tighter around Duncan's middle. Duncan bounced him higher on his hips, his arms tightening around the narrow waist.

"This is good," Blair mumbled against his shoulder, pressing himself closer to Duncan's sweat slicked skin. "I missed you."

"I know. Me too."

Duncan carried his lover around the corner to the showers.

"It's cold in here," Blair complained, goose bumps standing out on his arms.

"It is, but we have hot water," Duncan told him huskily, maneuvering them into one of the wide stalls.

Holding on to Blair with one arm around his hips, Duncan turned the knob on the wall, adjusting the water temperature.

"Mm, that feels good." Duncan stood under the hot spray, his legs braced apart, shoulders leaning back against the tiled wall.

"Fantastic," Blair agreed, unlocking his ankles around Duncan's back and sliding down to his feet. He covered Duncan with his body, pressing him against the wall. "Oh, man, I am so glad I came downstairs. I was really freaked... I love you." Blair's neck bent back to look up at his lover.

"Don't worry, love, it's going to be okay. Just be honest with me, I trust you. Kiss me, Blair," Duncan's eyes were full of love, he leaned down to capture the soft lips, drawing Blair up against him. Their tongues tangled slowly under the hot water, hands sliding over wet skin.

"I love you so much, Duncan," Blair almost sobbed against Duncan's shoulder. His hands moved over the hard, pumped muscles of Duncan's arms and shoulder, spreading out across his back.

Duncan's lips were soft, whispering against his mouth, "I know, I'm the luckiest man in the world. Don't talk, just kiss me."

Blair melted completely against him, letting Duncan take his weight as his arms came up hold the back of Duncan's head. His fingers tangled in his long hair, raking slowly through the wet strands.

"I love this stuff. You're always talking about my hair, but man, yours is gorgeous. It's so thick, but it's silky, feels so good on my skin." Blair's mouth trailed across Duncan's cheek to his ear.

Duncan moaned quietly, shivering under Blair's teeth. Blair sucked lightly on his earlobe, moving his hips in a slow grind, his cock hard against Duncan's thigh.

"Oh, man, you feel so good, Duncan. I wanna crawl under your skin..." Blair's voice was ragged, his mouth moving across hot, slick skin, sucking hard enough to leave a trail of crimson circles down his lover's neck to the hollow of his throat, and up the other side.

Duncan shifted, trapping Blair's cock between his thighs. His lover groaned, thrusting hard against him. He needed this, Duncan could see it in the tightness of his face, the way his hips moved with quick, desperate jerks under his hands. The more stressful Blair's life was, the more he needed the physical confirmation of their love for each other.

Duncan's hands glided over narrow, muscular hips to cup the firm cheeks. They fit perfectly in his palms, his fingers kneading the soft skin as his head dipped down to capture Blair's lips again, drawing out the kiss until Blair had to pull his mouth away, panting.

"Oh, sweetie, you feel so good," Duncan's hands on his ass pressed Blair tightly against his hard body.

"Mm, want you..." Blair panted, his cock moving urgently between Duncan's thighs. It felt so good, hot water and slick skin, Duncan's big hands squeezing his ass cheeks, and the taste of his skin. Blair's mouth skimmed across Duncan's chest until it found a nipple, stopping there to lick and suck hungrily.

Duncan groaned, his cock rubbing urgently against Blair's belly. "Touch me, Caro," he whispered against Blair's throat, moaning when a small hand closed gently around his throbbing erection.

Duncan's breathing quickened, his hands moving from Blair's ass to his lover's hard cock trapped between his thighs. Blair pushed urgently against his hand, shivering under the hot water. The shower stall echoed their harsh breaths, their hands falling into a synchronized rhythm. Light, quick strokes that brought them quickly to the height of pleasure.

Duncan's mouth came down to cover Blair's, swallowing his moans. Blair shuddered in his arms, his fist tightening around Duncan's cock as they came together, the water washing away the thick fluid that splattered across their stomachs. Blair's arms came up around Duncan's neck, letting his lover hold him up.

"Thank you. I love you," Blair whispered, still out of breath.

"Feel better?" Duncan smiled, his arms wrapping around Blair to hold him closer.

"Oh yeah. Definitely."

"Me too."

Duncan left Blair in the stall, going back to the locker for towels. Wrapping one around his hips, he grabbed two more, coming back to Blair, who was squeezing water out of his hair.

"Here you go, kiddo." He handed Blair a towel, using the other to dry his lover's hair himself.

"Thanks. Did it get colder in here? I'm freezing." Blair's arms were covered with goose bumps, his teeth chattering when he spoke.

"Let's go back upstairs. Come on, the faster you're dry and dressed the faster you'll be warm."

Blair followed him from the shower stall back to the bench where Duncan had left their clothes. He sat down to put his socks on, grinning up at Duncan. He felt so much better, even if nothing had changed. He laughed at himself, shaking his head, "What the hell would I do with a normal life, man? I don't even know. I guess I'd be bored."

"Are you calling me abnormal, Caro?" Duncan swatted at Blair's denim covered ass lightly.

"No, I'm the weird one, just look at my life."

Duncan shrugged, smiling back, "It's a little complicated, right now, I'll give you that. Don't worry, Blair, it's going to be okay. Listen, with everything that's going on in your head right now, I don't want you to be worrying about us. I'm not going to let anything take you away from me, Caro, I promise. I want you to know that."

"Okay." Blair beamed at him, blue eyes shining.

"Are you ready?"

"Yeah, I really hope he's there. I didn't really want him to go out, but he needed to be by himself. Besides, you can't exactly keep a guy that big on a leash, you know what I mean?"

Duncan laughed, holding the door open for Blair, following him out of the locker room.

In the elevator on the way back up to loft Blair hugged Duncan hard, telling him earnestly, "You are so incredible."

Duncan shook his head, leaning down to kiss him quickly, "I just love you."

Jim was sitting on the couch watching t.v. when they came in. He looked up uncertainly at his Guide. "Hey, Chief. Duncan."

Duncan was putting his sword away, setting it carefully against the wall near the bed.

"How's it going, Jim? Did you have a good walk?"

"Not bad. Interesting neighborhood."

Duncan nodded, "Yeah, it's colorful. I like it."

Blair watched as Jim and Duncan small talked around each other. Now that he was secure about his place in Duncan's life, he needed Jim and Duncan to feel more comfortable around each other. He couldn't take much more of this polite tension.

"How about we all sit down and stop being so damned polite with each other?" Blair decided the blunt approach was the best.

"What do you have in mind, Chief? I thought the whole point here was for us to try to get along." Jim gave Blair a suspicious look.

"I don't know, big guy, but if you two keep tip-toeing around each other I'm gonna go nuts. "

Duncan and Jim both laughed at that, and the tension in the room went down a few notches. Duncan grabbed three beers for them and went to sit down next to Blair.

Jim reached across Blair to take a beer from Duncan. This was definitely the strangest situation he'd ever been in, but he really was trying to make the best of it. He had a million questions running around in his head, maybe this would be a good time to ask a couple. He was just about to, when Duncan beat him to it.

"How long were you in the jungle, Jim? If you don't mind my asking."

MacLeod seemed genuinely curious, so Jim answered without hesitation,"Eighteen months."

"Jim was the only survivor from his unit and he lived with the local tribe for all that time. It's where he first developed his Sentinel abilities," Blair looked at Jim to make sure it was alright to be telling his story to Duncan like this.

"It's okay, Blair. I don't mind if Duncan knows the whole story." He turned his attention to Duncan and continued to explain,"The Shaman of the tribe, Incacha, sort of took me under his wing. He taught me about my senses, and the jungle."

"So he was your first Guide?" Duncan wanted to know as much about this as he could, and he was surprised that Jim was opening up to him like this.

"Yeah, but I really don't remember much about the time I spent in the jungle. When you're living such a basic life all the days seem to blend, y'know? Blair says I blocked it because it was a traumatic experience. He's probably right."

Blair couldn't believe that this was going so well. He realized that if he just let the two of them lead the conversation they might actually get to know each other.

"So," Jim looked hesitantly at Duncan,"How did you meet Blair? Was it at the University?"

"Yeah, Duncan, I'd like to hear you tell the story, I always tell it," Blair beamed at his lover. He couldn't wait to hear how Duncan would tell the story of their unusual beginning.

"You really want to hear this?" Duncan asked Jim, not sure how he would react.

"It's okay, MacLeod. I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want to know,"Jim actually smiled his reply. Blair was dumbstruck.

"Okay," Duncan finished his beer and went to get another round for them. "Well, I was walking to my car after a late lecture and I heard someone yelling for help. I ran over to see two punks beating the hell out some guy they had on the ground. I said something . . ."

Blair interrupted him, "You said 'Stop, NOW'. Then one of them said something like 'What are you going to do about it?' and you said 'Try me.' It was very surreal, man. Way too much like the movies," Blair settled back into the couch, letting Duncan finish the story.

"Wait a minute here, Chief. Are you trying to tell me that these punks were kicking the shit out of you?" Jim's jaw was clenched.

"Yeah, Jim, but it's okay, it's all in the past," Blair smiled at him reassuringly.

"If this is too much to deal with, we can drop it." Duncan didn't want to upset the relaxed mood, although he was afraid he already had.

"No, it's okay. I just expected something a little... nicer. So, what happened?"

"I kicked one in the head and the other one took off. I tried to get Blair to let me call him an ambulance, but he refused. I knew his ribs were bruised, maybe broken, so I took him to the emergency room."

Duncan told it all so matter-of-fact. The way Blair remembered it Duncan was a hero. He remembered how it had felt to have Duncan carry him to the car, and fuss over him. Maybe he sugar-coated his memory a bit, but not that much.

"What he's leaving out is the part about him carrying me half way across campus to his car, staying with me at the emergency room, and then taking me back here when I passed out in the middle of giving him directions to my apartment. Oh man, Jim, are you sure you want to talk about this?" Blair couldn't help but be afraid that Jim would zone if this got to be too much for him to deal with.

Jim wasn't sure if wanted to, but he knew he had to deal with it. So, MacLeod had saved Blair's life. The voice in his head was screaming that protecting Blair was his job, that he should've been there to save his Guide. Still, he was damn glad that Duncan had been there. He also realized that he didn't know why these guys had been beating the crap out of Blair.

"I'm okay, Chief. One thing you haven't told me is how you got into that situation in the first place."

"I uh," Blair couldn't look Jim in the face, he was too embarrassed. "It was a hate crime. They were skinhead assholes who were beating the shit out of me because...." Blair's face turned red.

"I get the picture, Chief. It's okay." Jim figured the least he could do was let Blair off the hook. Jesus, what if MacLeod hadn't been there? He wouldn't let himself think about it, he couldn't.

"It turned out that he did have bruised ribs, but nothing more serious than that," Duncan wanted to ease some of the guilt he saw in Jim's face. Maybe he could take Jim's mind off it and learn more about his relationship with Blair, "So, now do I get to hear about how you two met?"

Blair laughed,"Not quite as dramatic, but much more theatrical." He gave Jim a lopsided smile.

Jim felt some of guilt slip away as Blair smiled at him. He started to tell Duncan the story of how Blair had saved his life. "It was five years after I'd gotten out of the jungle, I was working on the Cascade P.D. My senses were going out of control and I had no idea why. I thought I was going crazy. I went to hospital for some tests, to see if the doctors could tell me what was going on. I'm sitting there in an exam room waiting for the doctor to come back and tell me the test results, when this joker comes in wearing a doctor's coat. He couldn't even get the name on the doc's i.d. tag right. Gave me some crap about it being the correct Gaelic pronunciation of the name." Jim paused to laugh at the memory of Blair feeding him a classic line of 'Sandburg Bullshit'.

"Then he starts telling me how doctors can't help me, but this guy can, and he hands me a card and makes a quick getaway. The real doctor came in, without his name tag, and tells me that all my tests were normal. I didn't know what the hell to do. I figured I didn't have anything to lose, so I went to the address at the University that was on the card he gave me. I get there and find Sandburg boppin' away to some jungle music. I realized the kid had tried to put one over on me, and man was I pissed."

"No shit, he put me up against a wall and threatened to search my office for drugs," Blair couldn't help but add to the story.

"Yeah, well I was scared I was going crazy and you were playing cloak and dagger. I was so pissed off I didn't really listen to what he was telling me about Sentinels and just stormed out of there."

"Before I could warn him about the zone out factor. I ran after him to tell him and found him zoned in the middle of the street with a garbage truck heading straight for him." Blair's adrenaline surged just from the memory.

"What happened?" Duncan was caught up in the story.

"The kid tackled me just in time for the garbage truck to drive over us. Saved my life. In more ways than one. From that minute on he never stopped trying to help me get control of my senses, help me figure out how to use them without zoning." The affection in Jim's voice was undisguisable.

"So tell me, kiddo, do you always meet people under extreme circumstances?" Duncan teased Blair.

"No, just the important ones," Blair answered, smiling back and forth between his lover and his Sentinel. He was definitely stuck in the middle, but at the moment it didn't seem like such a bad place to be.

End Part 18

Part 19

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