Disclaimer: We don't own any of these guys, they are the brainchild and property of: Rysher,
Panzer/Davis, Greg Widen, Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo, Paramount, Pet Fly Productions, UPN
and a bunch of other people. No money made, no harm intended. It's all in good fun, don't take
us too seriously.

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

Part 29

By Zen&nancy

Joe called out a familiar welcome as Duncan stepped into the empty bar. Methos looked up from the table where he sat, with a small smile of greeting.

"Hey Mac, good to see you! Scotch?"

"That would be great, Joe. How are you?" Duncan smiled at his old friend.

"Oh, I'm good, gettin' this place ready for Christmas. You and Blair get a tree?"

"Yeah, we did. Three, actually." Duncan accepted the glass of Glenmorangie offered him, turning around at the bar to greet the other Immortal.

"Three seems to be the lucky number." Methos murmured, then he smiled, and spoke in a more friendly tone. "You're looking well, Mac."

"Thanks, you too. How have you been, Methos?" Duncan swept his gaze up and down his friend with the protective, anxious expression Methos knew so well.

"No trouble. I've been in Germany, working in a library. I saw Amanda last year, she came to Munich and stayed with me for a few days."

"What was she there to steal? Diamonds or a man?" Duncan asked, and they laughed together at the truth of it. Their laughter was only slightly strained, and to Joe's refined and listening ear it seemed to him that these two wanted very much to be able to share their laughter, but that neither was quite sure of the possibility.

"It's going to be good to have everybody home for the holidays again. Mac, what did you tell me Blair's bringing to dinner on Christmas?" Joe came around the bar with a beer for himself and a fresh one for the old man, dropping down heavily into the empty chair at their table.

"Noodle kugel," Duncan answered him, still studying the friend he hadn't seen in too many years. Methos looked good, less burdened than the last time they'd talked. Duncan hadn't forgotten that it was he who had taken the smile from the old man's face. He hadn't had any idea what Methos was losing in Byron. It wasn't until the poet's Quickening, and with it his memories, were coursing through his body that he knew that Byron and Methos had been more than friends, they'd been lovers of great passion.

"What the hell is that?" Joe's question brought him back, and Duncan smiled. "It's a kind of noodle pudding. With soft cheese, sort of sweet. It's good."

"Okay, noodle pudding's covered." Joe conceded, shrugging his shoulders at Methos when the old man raised his eyebrows as if to ask if this were a necessary part of Christmas dinner.

"What are you bringing, Methos?" Duncan drank his scotch, letting the fiery liquid slide slowly across his tongue. He exhaled with pleasure as the warmth of the drink spread through him and set his glass down on the small table.

"Beer," Methos smiled at him, and Duncan felt some of the tension lesson between them.

"You can't bring beer. This is bar, or haven't you noticed?" Duncan teased, trying to pull the old man's pint away from it's spot in front of him. Methos prevented him, a strong grip closing around his wrist. "Unhand my beer, barbarian. I'm not bringing just any beer, this was made for me in India last summer. It's special."

"Hmm, what do you think, Joe?" Duncan looked to Dawson in mock seriousness, "Shall we accept this special beer? Or is it just a ploy to drink the rest of your stock while we're all swilling this Indian stuff?"

Joe laughed, shaking his head. "We'll take it. As much as you all drink, we're gonna need all the extra we can get."

"Alright then, Indian beer and noodle kugel it is." Duncan smiled at his friends in contentment, thinking that it was very good indeed to be sitting here in the old way, with the three of them sharing the coziness of Joe's empty tavern.

"Is the Sentinel coming to the party?" Methos asked mildly, not surprised when Duncan's reply held a touch of defensiveness.

"Of course. His name is Jim Ellison."

"So he said. What's he doing in Seacouver?"

"Blair decided it would be best if Jim came to live in the building with us. So far it's working very well."

"Because Blair wants it to?" Methos questioned softly, and this time there was a definite tone of antagonism in his words.

"No, because all three of us want it to. Is that so hard to believe?" Duncan answered, trying, unsuccessfully, to keep the words from seeming defensive.

"No, no, of course it's not. It's just the last thing I expected of you, Mac. You'll forgive me for being a little bit surprised by your choices."

Duncan sighed deeply, and drank the last of his scotch. When he set the empty glass down, his gaze didn't meet Methos' piercing eyes, but rather wandered about the room as he spoke.

"Methos... I love him. He makes me happy. Happier than I've been in a long time. Jim is a good friend, and an honorable one as well. Would you deny me this?"

Methos stood abruptly from the table, and for a moment Joe was sure that he would leave, but it was only to go back to the bar for a refill.

"No, Highlander, I would deny no one happiness, surely you deserve it more than most of us. I just hope you know what you're getting into with them."

"I do."

"Okay. Want to tell me about it?" Methos' intense, searching gaze moved over his features, and Duncan felt himself putting up his defenses before he knew why.

"What is there to tell? I love him, he has a responsibility to Jim that I don't want to force him to deny, and we're dealing with it one day at a time. What is wrong with that?"

"That's the second time you've asked me." Methos spoke very softly, the weight of the words implying more than he said.

Duncan exhaled noisily in exasperation. "If you didn't think that there was anything wrong with the situation, you wouldn't be questioning me about it. What's your concern, that he'll leave me for Jim? That's very unlikely."

"No, I'm not worried about that. Blair seems very devoted to you." Methos' eyes squinted into their familiar crinkle, but Duncan couldn't tell if it was in mocking humor or annoyance. Why would it bother Methos that Blair was devoted to him?

"I hope so." Duncan gave the old man his best smile, and hoped that it would be enough to table the subject for a time. If Methos wasn't going to explain himself, then he'd just assume move on to other topics.

It was. The old man nodded, agreeing without words to let the matter drop, and the conversation moved on to the kind of gossip the three friends enjoyed most. Who was hunting who, who was hiding, who had changed their name and took on a new identity, and why. They talked all afternoon, the time passing as quickly as the level of beer in Methos' glass. When the Mike, the bartender that helped Joe out in the evenings showed up for work, Duncan took his leave of his friends, saying that it was his turn to cook at the dinner at the loft. Methos watched him go, and Dawson watched him watching Duncan, a thoughtful look of concern on his grizzled face.

"Blair. Blair, honey, wake up. Duncan's back." Jim's hand shook his Guide's shoulder gently.

"Hmm... Duncan? Good." Blair smiled sleepily, opening his eyes. Jim's words registered in his mind, and a wide grin spread across his face. "Hey- you just called me honey."

Jim chuckled, reaching to pull Blair close. "You got me, Chief, red handed. You mind?"

"Mm-mm. 'S nice." Blair answered, still not quite awake. He pushed his face into Jim's bare chest and nuzzled there, his lips pressing soft, repeated caresses to the spot just above his left nipple.

"Good. Now get up, he doesn't need to find us in bed every time he goes out and comes back," Jim mumbled, trying to hold himself away from the pleasure of Blair's soft lips on his skin.

Blair laughed, unable to deny the fact that they seemed to end up in bed together every time they were alone for more than a few minutes. "It's okay, he understands. Don't worry about it. We should get up, though, we've got lots of stuff to do tonight."

"Yeah? What?" Jim rolling to a sitting position on the edge of the bed, reaching for his pants.

"Well, we gotta get the games and the tables for the food all set up downstairs for the party tomorrow, and Spencer said he was gonna come over to help, so we should probably feed him dinner for his trouble."

"It's Duncan's night to cook," Jim pointed out, pulling his shirt over his head.

"I know, but we can help." Blair argued. Pouncing across the bed, he wrapped himself around Jim's back, his arms going around his shoulders. He laughed joyously when Jim stood up, carrying him with him.

"Is that the only way to get you out of my bed, professor?" Jim teased, reaching around to his back to pinch his Guide's naked rear.

"Ouch! Okay, okay, I'll get dressed, man. No need to resort to violence here." Jim laughed, shaking his head, and Blair released his tight hold, sliding down Jim's back to find his clothes where they'd been thrown, on the other side of the bed.

Jim waited for Blair to finish dressing, watching his Guide with a mixture of pride and affection. When they were both fully clothed again, Jim took Blair's hand, drawing him towards the door. The lift creaked to a halt at the end of the hall just as Jim was locking the door behind them.

Duncan wasn't surprised when he found the loft empty, he almost expected it. It made him feel good that he wasn't jealous of Jim and Blair's relationship. This brought his mind back to Methos' questions about his relationship with Blair and Jim. What was the old man getting at anyway? It didn't make sense that Methos would be upset about Duncan having a man for a lover, after 5000 years those things couldn't possibly matter to Methos, could they? Duncan shook his head and decided to put it out of his mind, for now. He hung up his coat and changed into jeans and a sweatshirt and then took the elevator down to get Blair and Jim. They had to get the Dojo ready for the party tomorrow.

Just as he pulled up the gate he heard Jim and Blair coming out of Jim's apartment. He smiled when he saw them. Jim was smiling and Blair looked a little rumpled, and for some reason it made Duncan feel good. Maybe it was just because they were all happy. Their lives finally seemed to be calming down, everyone finding their place.

"Hi Duncan." Jim put a hand on Duncan's arm as he got in the elevator.

"Hey handsome." Blair stood on the other side of Duncan and squeezed his hand.

"Hello to both of you." Duncan smiled. "Did you have a good afternoon?"

"Yeah, great. How was your drink with Adam?" Blair wondered.

"It was good. You guys ready to set up for the party?"

"Yup." Jim rocked back on his heels. "I can't believe Christmas is the day after tomorrow. It really sneaked up on us."

"Snuck." Blair corrected automatically.

"That's not right." Jim argued, looking to Duncan for help. "Is it?"

Duncan laughed shaking his head. "Don't look at me. I'm lucky if I can keep up on slang, let alone grammar."

"No, it's snuck." Blair insisted, shaking his head earnestly at Jim, who rolled his eyes.

"Did you say suck?" Duncan teased, grabbing Blair and pulling him to his chest to suck on his neck.

"No, I didn't... Mmm, well, maybe I did..." Blair mumbled, laughing and squirming.

"Catch!" Duncan called out, laughing, and grabbed Blair around the waist, tossing him across the lift to Jim.

Jim's caught Blair just as the lift reached the first floor, and the impact made them all bounce a little. "See, mom always said, don't throw Blair in the house," Blair mumbled crossly, and Jim burst into laughter, hugging his Guide to him tightly for a moment before putting him down.

Duncan didn't get Blair's joke, but he smiled, watching the joy in Jim's face. It was good, to see him happy. Perhaps he was foolish, to be thinking of he and Jim and Blair as a family, but he couldn't help it. The idea connected with a longing in him that never went away, the memories of the days when he and Tessa and Richie had all lived together, and life was ordered and happy.

Jim pulled the gate, and Blair went to turn the lights on. For a moment, all three of them stood still, looking around in approval at the transformation they had made. The big room was empty, save for the huge tree at one end, and the garland and paper decorations they'd hung all around the walls. The decorations glittered and sparkled under the bright lights, it was pretty, and festive, and to Duncan it felt more like home than it ever had before.

The evening passed quickly, spent setting up tables and draping plastic table cloths, deciding which games would be played where, and stacking the presents all around the big tree. Spencer had called at the last minute, apologizing and begging off for the evening. His girlfriend had tickets for a concert, and she'd kept it a surprise. Duncan told him to go to the concert and enjoy himself, and to show up early the next day, in case there were any last minute things they'd forgotten. So the three of them spent the evening in busy harmony, readying the dojo for the party, and teasing back and forth about what they'd bought each other for Christmas.

"Okay, what next?" Jim asked as he finished setting up the last table.

Blair and Duncan both looked around the dojo. Everything seemed to in place and ready to go for tomorrow.

"I think we're done. Are we forgetting anything Duncan?" Blair asked as he started to gather up the garbage they had made.

"Nope, not that I can think of. What do you guys want for dinner?" Duncan looked to Jim.

"I don't know. It's your turn to cook. Whatever you make is always good." Jim really enjoyed Duncan's cooking. At first he'd been hesitant about it, thinking that a four hundred year old man could probably come up with some really weird dinners. The truth of it was that Blair's food was much stranger and more exotic than what Duncan usually cooked.

"C'mon guys," Blair headed for the elevator. "Let's figure out dinner upstairs."

Blair waited for Jim and Duncan to get in and then he pulled down the gate. "That went a lot faster han I thought it would, but man am I beat."

"It wasn't that bad. Besides, if you're tired now just think how you're going to feel after the party when we have to clean it all up." Jim smiled, enjoying teasing Blair.

Blair groaned.

The elevator stopped and Duncan lifted the gate, following Jim and Blair out. Blair went into the kitchen, pulling out one of two big pitchers on the top shelf. Taking three glasses down from the shelf, he poured a large glass for each of them. Duncan and Jim were talking about whether or not they should go running tomorrow morning, with so much to do before the party, when Blair interrupted them.

"Hey, guys, I made eggnog."

"Mm, that sounds good. Thank you." Duncan gave his lover a warm smile, coming over to the counter to take two of the goblets from Blair.

Duncan brought Jim his eggnog, he was still standing near the lift, unlacing his boots.

"Thanks, Duncan. Blair, tell me this isn't as deadly as last year."

"Almost." Came the musical reply from the kitchen. Blair was humming to himself, going over the list he'd made of things to do before the party. So far, they were right on track. The trays had to be picked up from the deli tomorrow, and the cookies from the bakery.

"This is delicious, Caro. It's not rum?" Duncan asked, enjoying the cold, rich flavor of the holiday drink.

"Nope. Amaretto. Rum's too sweet. This is the real thing." Blair told him, sipping his own glass and nodding in approval.

"It's good stuff, Chief." Jim told him, enjoying the smooth burn of the potent drink.

All three of them finished their first glass quickly, and Blair poured a second round while Duncan and Jim picked up a conversation they'd started downstairs in the dojo.

"But Mac, how are you gonna run a chimney through the center of a warehouse? You've got concrete pillars in here."

"I'll find someone who can do it." Duncan told him confidently, determined to give Blair a fireplace.

"They'll pull the whole damn building down." Jim told him, shaking his head.

They weren't really arguing, just taking either side of the debate for the sake of wrangling it between them. Blair watched from the kitchen, feeling a warmth spread through his insides that was only partially to be blamed on the egg nog. Duncan and Jim were friends. It was obvious, it would be plain to anyone that saw them together. Somehow, these two extraordinary men had managed to build a solid friendship, without any manipulation or coercion from him at all. Well, almost none. Maybe it was fate, Blair mused, thinking back over the first tension filled, nerve fraying month that they'd all spent together, and how quickly everything had smoothed out after that. After he and Jim had slept together. Blair smiled, and shook his head. It wasn't just that, not really. It only seemed like all had been right with the world from the first moment he and Jim had lay down together in Jim's bed. In truth, the new intimacy in their relationship raised as many problems and questions as it answered, but it didn't seem that way, because all three of them were trying so hard to make it right. Maybe it was because finally, they were all happy.

"Blair, what are you daydreaming about?" Jim called to him from the couch, and from the indulgent, gentle way he spoke Blair could tell that Jim was already a little drunk.

"Us, man, just us," Blair told him, coming around the counter to sit between them on the couch. His intense blue eyes moved back and forth between them, expressing his contentedness.

"And what has the professor concluded?" Jim asked, picking up one of Blair's hands from where it rested on his knee.

"We're doin' really good." Blair told him, smiling brilliantly when Duncan leaned over to press a kiss to his temple.

"I think you're on to something, kiddo." Duncan murmured, getting up to refill his glass.

Duncan filled his glass from the pitcher Blair had left on the counter, wandering back to the middle of the room. He was looking at the high ceiling, trying to imagine how it would look with a fireplace there. "Don't you think we could put it here, Jim?" Duncan asked, motioning with his hand to the space above him.

"No way, Mac, you've got to put it someplace where it's not going to cause any stress on the foundation. This is an old building, you're gonna bring it down on our heads. Over here, maybe."

Jim got up, going to stand just inside the living room space, near the lift. Duncan came over to where Jim was standing, shaking his head. "But you'll walk right into it when you get off the lift. We can't put it here."

"Hey! You have to kiss." Blair exclaimed, a wide smile spreading over his slightly ruddy face.

"Come and get it, Caro." Duncan teased back, opening his arms to his lover, still curled into the corner of the couch.

"No! Not me, silly. Each other. You're standing under the Mistletoe."

Jim looked up, and laughed. His Guide was right, he and Duncan were directly under the sprig of Mistletoe Blair had hung. Duncan laughed with him, and their eyes met.

"Come on, you have to! It's bad luck if you don't." Blair obfuscated, his mouth spread into a slightly lecherous grin.

Jim and Duncan were both still laughing at him, but their eyes were locked together, sharing mischief, and daring each other. Duncan felt a quick little spark of excitement run through him as Jim's big hands came down on his shoulders. He leaned forward, and pressed his lips hard to Jim's smiling mouth.

Jim stayed perfectly still, letting himself enjoy the novelty of Duncan's mouth pressing hard against his for a few brief seconds. Then something totally unexpected happened. All the air in his lungs went rushing out of him, and he almost dropped his eggnog. His hand curled tightly around the stem of the glass, and he felt something hard against his back, holding him up though the rush of inertia. Duncan's lips pressed harder, and Jim opened his mouth, no thought present in his brain whatsoever as his tongue thrust aggressively against Duncan's, pushing past full lips and sharp teeth.

Duncan's tongue mirrored his, and for a few seconds they wrestled and fought for dominance inside each other's mouths. Duncan pulled back first, eyes wide open and panting.

"Oh wow. Oh man," Blair breathed softly, frozen on the couch. He had expected a peck on the cheek maybe, or for Duncan and Jim to just joke around. He hadn't expected them to... to... suck face was the term that popped into his startled mind first. It was beautiful, they were beautiful.

"Jesus." Duncan still had his arms around Jim's back, he was stunned by his powerful reaction. When he took Blair's unspoken dare to kiss Jim he was just playing around, having fun. What the kiss had turned into was much too intense to be able to chalk it up to joking.

"Yeah, uh, too much egg nog maybe," Jim mumbled. His nerves were on fire, and he felt weird having this strong a reaction to Duncan's kiss. The fact that he'd kissed back with such passion had him very confused. Up until now he'd been able to tell himself that what went on between him and Blair was different, it was a Sentinel/Guide thing. Now what?

Duncan's hand left his back, but he didn't move. Duncan was still staring directly into his eyes, surprise giving way to embarrassment. It made him feel just a little bit more stable, to know that Mac was almost as thrown as he was.

"That was interesting." Duncan gave him a wide smile, cocking his head to the side with a quick shrug of his shoulders.

Jim laughed, and shook his head. "I don't know what you call that, Duncan."

"Incredibly fuckin' gorgeous?" Blair suggested from the couch, which made Jim roll his eyes, which made Duncan start to laugh again, and the tension disappeared.

"No comments from the peanut gallery." Duncan told his lover, still grinning at Jim.

Blair watched as they stood and stared at each other for a moment longer, and then Jim turned to go sit back down on the couch. He watched his lover and his Sentinel carefully, trying to figure out exactly what was going on between them. The possibility of Duncan being attracted to Jim hadn't even occurred to him, let alone Jim being interested in Duncan. It created so many questions Blair felt like he didn't even know which one to think about first. He wasn't jealous, that was about the only thing he did know for certain. Watching Jim and Duncan kiss like that had only triggered one response from him; arousal.

"So, we still haven't figured out what to eat for dinner." Duncan changed the subject as he went back to the kitchen. His heart was still pounding from the effects of that kiss, and it made him feel very strange to think that Jim could hear it. Why had he reacted to Jim like that? As soon as his mouth was on Jim's his brain shut off and his hormones took over, but why? Maybe it had something to do with Blair, or maybe he had deeper feelings than he realized when it came to Jim Ellison.

"How 'bout we just make some sandwiches?" Blair suggested, smiling broadly at Duncan from the couch. Clearly, his lover was enjoying his confusion.

"Sandwiches are fine by me." Jim was glad that Blair wasn't going to try to analyze the hell out of the kiss. He was happy to just leave it be, for now.

"C'mon Chief, lets go give him a hand." Jim said as he got up from the couch.

Blair just sat there and started clapping, and giggling.

"Very funny Blair, ha-ha." Duncan laughed at his lover. "I think you've had too much egg nog on an empty stomach."

Blair pulled himself together and joined them in the kitchen. "Hey, I am totally willing to concede to the possibility that I may be a little tipsy, but you two are the ones who just went for it like it was the last song at the Junior prom.

"Sandburg, there is a very, very thin line between teasing and asking for it, and you, my friend, are crossing that line with no thought to the consequences." Jim's tone was joking, but from the look that went with his words Blair could tell that he was indeed walking on very thin ice.

"We're entitled. There's nothing wrong with celebrating a little early. It's almost Christmas," Duncan defended them, offering Jim an excuse without actually speaking of what had just happened.

"And almost your Birthday," Jim reminded him, getting bread and roast beef out of the refrigerator.

"Aye, four hundred and eight. Do you think I'm too old for him?" Duncan asked, coming up behind Blair to wrap his arms around him, grinning at Jim.

"Now I know you've had too much egg nog." Blair smiled up at Duncan, rubbing the back of his head against his chest. "Here, eat." Blair pushed the first sandwich into Duncan's hand, ripping a paper towel off the roll on the counter for him.

"Why? Because I'm admitting my age?" Duncan asked, taking a big bite of his sandwich.

"No, because you get all Scottish when you get drunk. Here Jim," Blair handed over another sandwich and started on one for himself.

"No I don't."

"Aye, MacLeod, you do." Jim laughed, trying to mimic Duncan's thickening accent.

Duncan just laughed at him, and shook his head. "That's awful! You don' even sound Irish, let alone Scottish. Give it up, Jim."

Duncan wandered into the living room with his sandwich, flopping down on the couch with his legs draped over the arm. "What are we going to do tonight?" Duncan asked.

Blair bit his lip, just in time. The first words that came to his mind were "I have a creative suggestion", definitely on the wrong side of Jim's line, and maybe even Duncan's. His eyes wandered around the room, searching for inspiration, and came to the stack of his board games on the shelves.

"We could play Scrabble."

"I don't know if I have the brains for Scrabble right now, Chief, but if you really want to, I'll give it a shot."

"It doesn't matter, Jim, he's going to slaughter us anyway. I think the best strategy is to try to play defensively."

"You can't play Scrabble defensively." Blair argued, going to the shelves to get the box down.

"Just watch me, professor," Duncan promised, grinning back at him.

They settled around the coffee table, Jim on the sofa and Blair sitting cross-legged on the floor. Duncan moved to his chair, clearing the table's clutter to give them room to play.

"No way, man, that is so not a word." Blair protested, one finger pointing to the half filled board.

Duncan was drinking, he swallowed his egg nog, shaking his head vehemently.

Before he could talk, Jim came to his defense. "Hold on, Sandburg, if you challenge him, you have to look it up. Now if you're right he loses his turn, but if he's right, you lose those points. You sure you want to take a risk on azoth? That's a hell of a lot of points, he's on a triple word score."

Blair hesitated for a moment, and then he puffed out his chest, frowning at Jim. "He's wrong, it's not a word. I'm positive."

"Okay Darwin, you're gonna be really sorry if you're wrong." Jim got up a little unsteadily, going to the bookshelves for the big dictionary.

Duncan sat back in his chair, smiling at Blair with sparkling eyes. He knew he was right, and that this score would give him a chance of catching Blair's early lead. He loved being competitive with his lover. He did want to win, but half the pleasure was watching Blair so happy and excited and full of life.

Jim interrupted his thought, obvious pleasure in his voice. "You're out of luck, Chief, it's a word." His finger marked his place in the dictionary, open on his knees.

"No way. Damn! Okay, what does it mean?" Blair stamped his foot, shaking his head in disbelief. "No wait, let Duncan tell us. If he doesn't know what it means he can't use it."

"It's another word for alchemy, Caro, it comes from a magical formula called Paracelsus' remedy. The english word is descended from the arabic word for mercury, I believe, which is az-zauq."

"Too bad you can't use that, it'd be almost double the points," Jim told him, enjoying Duncan's victory.

"I don't believe you, Duncan. No, I mean, I do, it's just that you amaze me."

"I think it's great, Chief, I like watching you get outsmarted once in a while." Jim laughed at the look Blair shot him, turning his concentration back to his letters. He made "zone" out of Duncan's z, smiling ruefully at the joke of it as he laid down his letters.

They played out the game, and Blair won, although Duncan was only three points behind him. Blair claimed a victory kiss from Duncan, nipping his lower lip playfully.

"Good game guys." Jim stood up and stretched, flexing his arms behind him so his back cracked.

They put the game away and Blair poured out the last of the egg nog into their glasses. Then he walked around the loft turning off all the lights except for the ones on the Christmas tree. The glow from the tree filled the room, the light soft and warm. Blair paused by the door to survey the room, smiling. "This is perfect." He told them quietly, and he could tell from the way Jim and Duncan smiled back at him that they both agreed.

The three of them settled into the couch and Duncan picked up the remote. Blair was sitting in the middle, as he usually did, but tonight he was making the most of it. He leaned his back against Jim's side and put his feet up in Duncan's lap, a satisfied, slightly gluttonous smile on his face. This was heaven, the best Christmas present he could get this year, Blair thought, snuggling in between the two men he adored. Four glasses of egg nog caught up to him and he was asleep in a matter of minutes.

"How does he get away with this?" Jim asked Duncan ruefully, keeping his voice down just the same. Blair's head was pushed into his shoulder, only the mop of curls visible, and one arm was tucked around his neck. The rest of him was in Duncan's lap, feet curled under the couch cushion for warmth.

Duncan chuckled, "It's a talent."

"Yeah, I guess it is," Jim started to smile, but it turned into a yawn.

They sat together watching the news, not talking so as not to disturb Blair. Both Duncan and Jim adored the feeling of Blair curled up asleep against them, and neither wanted to disturb the peaceful happiness that surrounded them.

Duncan shifted contentedly under Blair's weight, angling his body into the corner of the couch more comfortably. He glanced over to Blair's head on Jim's shoulder, and smiled when he saw that Jim had fallen asleep, his temple resting against the side of Blair's head. Jim looked so content that Duncan didn't want to wake him.

It was good, to be sprawled on the couch with Blair in the middle, and if he woke them up they would have to decide who Blair was sleeping with. He didn't want to lose him tonight, the warm weight of Blair on top of him was too wonderful. Duncan pondered the comfortable, secure feeling of drifting off to sleep together, and he realized he didn't want Jim to leave, either. He fell asleep with his arm curled around Blair's denim covered thighs, the other stretched out across the back of the couch in the space between he and Jim, one finger twisted in a trailing curl.

Stabbing pain in his arm woke Duncan a little over an hour later. There was a crick in his neck and as he became more awake he realized that his left leg was also asleep. Groaning, he tried to move his suffering limbs and found that his legs were completely trapped by Blair's body.

Squeezing Blair's thigh he tried to wake him up. "C'mon Blair, wake up. I've got to move this leg kiddo, it's asleep."

"So am I," Blair mumbled, snuggling deeper into Jim's warmth.

"Mmm, what?" Jim woke up a bit confused. Ever since his senses had gone haywire he tried not to drink too much, and he had definitely had too much egg nog. "Aw damn, we fell asleep on the couch."

"Caro, you have to move, I can't feel my leg. Jim, will you move him?" Duncan squinted at Jim, remembering that Jim could see him perfectly well in the dark.

Jim grinned sleepily at Duncan's pained look and wrapped one arm around Blair's ribs, pulling him off Duncan's lap and into his own.

"Ah! Thank you." Duncan kneaded his thigh for a few seconds, looking up at Jim and shaking his head. "I can never figure out how he can be that heavy."

"Mmf," Blair protested, pushing his face into Jim's shoulder as he resettled himself.

"Come on, wake up Chief."

"Why?" Blair demanded crossly, burrowing deeper into Jim's neck.

"So we can all go to bed," Jim told him reasonably, rolling Blair off his lap and into the space between him and Duncan. "You can't use us for a mattress all night, you're putting Duncan's leg to sleep and I can feel the knots forming in my back."

Duncan laughed at that, his own back cracking as he stretched over the back of the couch. Jim gave Blair a quick squeeze, inhaling the scent of his guide deeply as he pressed a kiss to the top of his head.

"Decide where you're sleepin', Chief, cause I'm going to bed," Jim told him, getting to his feet.

Blair frowned, grabbing for his hand to keep he from leaving. "No. I don't wanna lose you."

"It's okay, Caro..." Duncan murmured, trying to hide the disappointment he felt.

"No, man, come on. This is stupid. That is a huge bed, why can't we all just crawl under the covers and go back to sleep? It was so nice sleeping here on the couch, I was cozy."

"Blair-" Jim and Duncan both spoke at once, sounding cautious and slightly aggravated. Both of them were tired and wanted to go to bed.

"Come on, guys, please? Don't make me decide who I have to give up tonight, okay? It's almost two a.m., we've got, what, another four hours of sleep coming?"

"It is big bed, Jim, and I really don't mind if you don't," Duncan relented, shrugging his shoulders expressively.

"Blair... do you really feel that way?" Jim asked seriously, more awake now and worried by Blair's choice of words.

"Oh man, not really. Well, yeah... tonight I do. I don't know, I'm not awake. Just come to bed, please, Jim?"

"You should, Jim, there's plenty of room," Duncan told him quietly, leaving them to go to the bathroom.

"I'll sleep in the middle. You can have my pillow." Blair looked up at Jim, still holding the larger man's hand in his grip.

Jim rolled his eyes at Blair's outrageous puppy dog eyes, but he relented. The idea of sleeping in Duncan's bed did make him uncomfortable, inspite of Duncan's assurance that it was fine with him. He was still a little drunk and he was very tired. He didn't have the brain power or the stamina to argue with Blair about it, and the closest bed sounded like an easy solution.

"You're not going to let this go, are you?"

"Nope." Blair shook his head, curls flopping across his face.

"Fine Sandburg, I'm too tired to argue about it." Jim was already walking towards the bed. "But this is a one time deal here, Chief, so don't go getting any ideas."

Blair smiled smugly. "Okay."

Duncan came out of the bathroom in sweat pants, grinning at Jim. He was lying on the far edge of the mattress, arms folded over his chest. He was still wearing his t-shirt, and although he was under the covers, Duncan guessed he'd probably left his jeans on too.

"Good, he talked you into sleeping up here," Duncan commented as he got under the covers on his side.

Blair had taken the bathroom after Duncan. Jim listened to the sound of Blair brushing his teeth. The sound was such a familiar comfort that it put him at ease, and he relaxed, turning on his side to face Duncan with his head propped up on his hand.

"You're right, this is an enormous bed." Jim grinned at Duncan across the space between them, easily twice as wide as Blair.

"Yeah, it is. What time should I set the alarm for?" Duncan rolled over to set the alarm.

"Six." Jim yawned, reaching for Blair's pillow and tucking it under his head.

Blair came out of the bathroom in his boxers. He took his time crawling over Duncan to get to the middle of the bed, turning it into a rather awkward full body hug. Finally, he rolled over Duncan to flop between them, looking silently from one to the other and grinning from ear to ear.

"Happy, chief?" Jim grumbled good naturally, while Duncan chuckled.

"Yeah, totally happy. Thank you, both of you." Blair turned over on his side, his back to Jim, and gave Duncan a loud, happy kiss. "Goodnight, Duncan."

"Goodnight, Caro, don't get squished."

Blair held the covers up to flip over beneath them, and gave Jim an equally enthusiastic goodnight kiss, which Jim tried to resist but gave in to at the last minute.

"Goodnight, Jim," Duncan called softly from the other side of the bed, reaching to turn off the small light on the beside table.

"G'night Mac." Jim answered, turning over onto his side, his back to Blair. He thought that it was because it was his habit to sleep on his right side, but maybe it was also because having Duncan sleeping on the other side of Blair seemed a little too intimate in the dark.

Behind him, Blair spooned himself into his back, his knees coming up to tuck under Jim's. His guide giggled, whispering, "Goodnight John-boy."

Jim chuckled, Duncan only sighed, resigned to Blair's late night sillies, although he didn't get the joke.

Duncan turned onto his side as well, pulling the covers up gingerly over his shoulders. He was afraid he was pulling them off Jim, but he seemed to keep his share of the blankets. Curling up around Blair's warmth, Duncan nuzzled his nose into his lover's hair and thought about how glad he was that Blair was here tonight. His lover was right, it was cozy, and it was even better because none of them had to sleep alone. Duncan drifted off wondering what Methos would think of this particular situation.

End Part 29

Part 30

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