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 30

By Zen&nancy

Jim came awake feeling overheated and suffocated. He woke up a little more, and realized he had his face buried in his Guide's hair. His next awareness was of his hand, touching skin too smooth to be Blair's. His head was fuzzy, and he had the idea that if he opened his eyes the light would hurt. He was somewhere familiar, but not home. Duncan's house... Which would make the very smooth, tight skin under his palm Duncan's chest, not Blair's.

Jim groaned softly, and on the other side of bed, Duncan stirred a little under his hand. Jim's arm was stretched across Blair, who was sandwiched between them, his hand curled around Duncan's side. He felt the width of Duncan's ribs between his fingers, and the smooth, slightly oilier texture of his skin, and suddenly become very aware of the morning hard on pressing into the small of Blair's back.

They must have all turned over at some time during their sleep, Jim thought, remembering that he had fallen asleep on his other side, with his back to Blair and Duncan, and his Guide curled around his body. Now they were lying like three spoons in a drawer, his knees tucked up under Blair's thighs and his arm stretched across the two male bodies in front of him. Jim's brain seemed content to stay frozen in hangover haze, perfectly willing to deny that he was awake at all, and take life one painful sensation at a time. His head hurt, throbbing fiercely until he found the dial that turned it down a little, numbing the pounding headache. His eyes felt glued shut, and his mouth tasted bitter and acidic. The arm that wasn't wrapped around Duncan's chest was trapped under Blair's head, and totally numb.

"Are you awake?" Duncan asked softly, one hand coming up to touch the back of Jim's on his chest.

"No," Jim answered, dragging his arm back.

"Okay, I'm gonna turn off the alarm," Duncan whispered, already awake and thinking that a Sentinel with a hangover might be very much like a bear waking up from hibernation.

"Thank you," Jim groaned back, trying to retrieve his other arm, which Blair was using for a pillow.

"Shh!" Blair shushed them both harshly, pushing his face into the sheet when Jim took his arm away. "No talking. Coffee."

"I don't know how the hell you talked me into this, Blair." Jim growled quietly, flexing his arm and grimacing at the pins and needles that followed.

"Mmm, you know... If I wasn't so hung over, this could be a hell of a lot of fun," Blair mumbled, becoming more aware of the hard bodies on either side of him as he woke up. He wriggled experimentally, pushing back against the hard flesh nestled in his back, and then into Duncan, flexing his hips to rub his own hard cock against Duncan's ass.

Duncan's response was a happy, invitational little groan, Jim's was somewhat less accepting. "Blair," he rumbled, a clear warning in his voice.

"Does that mean I'm not going to get laid this morning?" Blair asked, mock innocently, laughing weakly when Duncan's hand moved behind his back to grope Blair quickly.

Jim was just about to get out of the bed, in spite of the embarrassment of a very obvious hard on, when his ears picked up the sound of metal chinking on metal, and light, unlabored breathing outside the door. "Shh! Someone's outside the door."

Duncan sat up in bed, shaking his head as the familiar tingle ran up his spine and into his brain. "It's okay, Jim, relax. It's probably Amanda or Richie." Even though he spoke words of reassurance, Duncan picked up his Katana from under the bed, just in case.

"Who?" Jim asked, sitting up as well and looking none too pleased about company.

"Helloo? Mac? Oh my!" Three pairs of squinted eyes stared back at Amanda, who was dressed in a short leather trench coat and boots with three inch heels, an expensive carry-on bag slung over her shoulder. "Duncan MacLeod, you've been busy..."

"Don't you people knock?" Jim asked crossly, crossing arms over his bare chest.

Duncan smiled, unable even in this situation to be less than a gracious host. "It's good to see you, Amanda. Make yourself at home."

"Hmm, it looks a little crowded, but it could be lots of fun." Amanda's huge, mischievous eyes roamed over all the bare skin in sight.

"Immortal central, Joe wasn't kidding. Hi, I'm Blair. I'm the boyfriend. This is Jim." Blair decided to take charge of this situation before it could get out from under him, as the last meeting of Duncan's Immortal friend's had. He turned to his lover, giving him a kiss that pushed him back down on the bed, making sure Duncan remembered his promise before releasing him. He rolled over Duncan to the floor, standing up and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.

"Now I know why Duncan looks so happy," Amanda couldn't resist murmuring at the sight of the compact, muscular body and hugely tented boxers.

Blair blushed deeply, but rolled his eyes, and grinned back at the lovely, catty Immortal. "Uh, yeah, thanks. I'll be right back."

Amanda watched him walk the short distance to the bathroom, a wide smile spreading across her appealing mouth. She turned back to Duncan and his remaining bed mate, but before she could speak Jim held up one large, commanding hand. He closed his eyes for a brief moment, and then spoke quietly, wincing at the sound of his own voice.

"Duncan, I'll be downstairs. It's a pleasure to meet you." He added, only a trace of sarcasm in his scratchy voice.

"Likewise." Amanda murmured quietly, earning a small smile of thanks from the buff, obviously hung over man. He was a magnificent specimen, in any condition, Amanda decided, eyeing Jim's well developed biceps.

Jim was about to get out of bed and escape to his apartment when he stopped, turning back to look at Duncan again. He wanted to say something, but he didn't have the slightest idea what, especially in front of this very bright, bawdy woman. "I think I'm going to have to wimp out on you this morning, I can't run. I'm gonna go downstairs and try to be alive in time for the party."

Duncan gave him a reassuring and sympathetic smile, telling him "Go back to bed, get some more sleep. We'll come get you before the kids get here."

"Deal." Jim pushed himself slowly out of Duncan's bed, nodding silently to Amanda as he passed her on his way to the door.

Duncan watched him leave, wondering how Jim was really feeling about spending the night in his bed. Blair came out of the bathroom wrapped in his robe, looking no more awake than he had when he'd crawled out of bed. He shuffled directly to the coffee pot, reaching for the filter basket as he asked, "Jim go downstairs?" Squinting at his lover across the room.

"Yeah, I told him to go back to bed, get some more sleep." Duncan smiled at Blair, who nodded, counting coffee spoons.

"Amanda, do you want some coffee?"

"That would be lovely, thank you." Amanda gave Blair a dazzling smile, setting her bag down near the couch and coming to stand at the counter next to him.

"I'm going to take a shower, Caro." Duncan finally crawled out from under the blankets, hoping to escape to the bathroom.

"Coward," Blair called, grinning at Duncan when Amanda laughed in obvious agreement.

"I'll be right back." Duncan told them, grabbing clothes from his dresser before retreating to the safety of a shower.

"So how long and have you and Duncan been together?" Amanda asked Blair directly, watching him put together a cup of coffee for himself.

"Mm, little over six weeks." Blair gave Amanda a broad smile over his coffee mug.

"You're kidding, right?"

"Nope." Blair set his mug down, smiling. "Seems like a lot longer. I guess it doesn't really matter, I mean, when you're madly in love, and you just know, then time is sorta superficial."

"Yes, of course it is," Amanda told him sweetly, accepting her own cup and following Blair over to the couch.

Blair drank his coffee quickly, trying to catch up to this morning. He'd expected Amanda to be beautiful, but in real life she was pretty and vivacious and very quick, with a sharp sense of humor and laughing brown eyes, that reminded him a little bit of Duncan's.

"Usually I'm flattered when men stare at me, but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be when it's my old flame's boyfriend doing the staring." Amanda leaned towards Blair on the couch, a sassy, conspiratorial smile playing on her lips.

Blair wiggled his eyebrows, and then he threw his head back and laughed. Duncan was hiding in the shower, Jim was hiding downstairs, and he was sitting on the couch drinking coffee and flirting with Duncan's 1,000 year old girlfriend. Well, if life was getting stranger, at least it seemed to be going towards the wacky side of weird, rather than the disastrous.

Making a tremendous effort, he got himself under control. "I'm sorry, Amanda, I'm not completely crazy, honest. This morning has just been a little more, complicated, than they usually are, and you know, I think you showing up just defused the whole situation. Thanks!"

"Mmm, I did notice that Duncan's bed was rather crowded. Jim is your..."

"Best friend." Blair filled in quickly. Realizing that it didn't answer the question, and opened his mouth to try to explain. Duncan saved him, coming out of the bathroom in his robe. He came to the them, dropping a kiss on Blair's head as he walked around the couch. Taking Amanda's hand, he pulled her to her feet and into a strong hug.

"Hi! I'm sorry you walked in on us. Have you and Blair been getting to know each other?"

"Oh yes, he's very charming. Let me look at you." Amanda pushed Duncan away to look him up and down, nodding in satisfaction. "You look happy." She gave him a genuine smile before it turned into a very familiar pout. "You might have called to tell me, though, Duncan. I broke off a very enjoyable liaison with a diplomat, just to come home for Christmas. If I'd have known you were madly in love, I'd have brought him with."

Amanda thought belatedly that this might not shed a very flattering light on Duncan, and turned to see if Blair was upset by her teasing. He was smiling, shaking his head at her behind Duncan's back. Amanda decided that Blair just might live up to her standards for Duncan MacLeod. It was a bit disappointing to come back to find him in love, but more than anything she did want Duncan to be happy, it was what they always wanted for each other. After two hundred years, they'd learned how to love one another and leave enough space for each of them to live their own lives. Duncan with a man was very, very interesting.

"So Blair, what do you do?" Amanda smiled sweetly, curious.

"I'm an anthropologist. I teach at the same university Duncan does." Blair smiled.

"Oh, is that how you met?"


Amanda saw the loving look that passed between Duncan and Blair and got the feeling that there was more. "I get the feeling that there's a story here. You'll have to tell me all about it over Christmas dinner. Now however, I think I better get to the hotel before I lose the room."

Blair shot Duncan a confused look, and Duncan explained.

"Amanda always makes a reservation at a hotel just in case I'm involved with someone when she breezes through my life." Duncan grinned, remembering how difficult it had been to get Amanda into this habit. "You should come back this afternoon for the Christmas party we're having in the dojo," he told Amanda.

Blair piped in. "It's for the neighborhood kids, it should be a lot of fun. Duncan's going to be Santa."

"Oh really? Well I can't miss that. What time?" Amanda asked, setting her coffee cup down on the table.

"Around two." Duncan got up to walk her to the door.

"Great, I'll see you boys then. It's a pleasure to meet you Blair." She shook Blair' hand and then got up. "Just remember, break his heart and I'll have to hunt you down and kill you."

She was smiling playfully when she said it, but Blair knew that it wasn't an idle threat. It made him feel good to know that she cared so much about Duncan. "Not a chance."

Duncan said goodbye and locked the door. He stood facing the closed door for a moment, his hand still on the lock, not so much thinking as simply feeling. Waking up to Amanda picking the loft's lock had become familiar, the distinctive feel of her quickening in his head, and then the sound of his door being breached, and high heels on his floor. Almost every time, he woke up smiling. So it was an unexpected, but welcome distraction from the experience of waking up in bed with his lover and another man, which wasn't familiar at all.

Duncan let himself remember, for just a moment, the strangeness and the pleasure of waking up under the weight of Jim's arm, the way his fingertips had grazed feather light over his chest, before he was really awake. He'd held himself completely still, his whole body focused on the barely felt sensation of Jim's fingertips brushing over his skin. Duncan shook himself out of his reverie, deciding that before anything else happened with this day, he needed to sit down and talk to Blair. How would Blair feel about his attraction to Jim? One thing that Duncan had noticed right away was that Blair was nearly as protective, and as territorial, over Jim as the Sentinel was with his Guide. Blair liked to tease Jim about his protective instincts, but he was nearly as protective of Jim himself.

Turning slowly from the door, Duncan met his lover's eyes across the room. They were bright, shining with his pleasure, which was so plainly expressed in his face that it made Duncan happy just to look at him. Blair held out a hand, motioning him across the room. "Come sit with me, Duncan."

When he came to sit down next to him, Blair stood, wrapping both arms around his lover's waist. "Thank you so much."

Duncan smiled down at the joy in Blair's eyes, cocking his head to the side. "For what, Caro?"

"For loving me."

"Of course I love you." Duncan dropped a kiss on his lover's forehead, concerned for a moment that what had happened between he and Jim yesterday had triggered some insecurity.

"Yeah, I know. It just makes me feel really good..." Blair pulled the tie on his robe to wrap the velour material around them both, pressing his naked body close to Duncan. "I mean, you just sent your incredibly gorgeous girlfriend, of what, two hundred years? to a hotel room, because you'd rather be with me. That makes me feel really good." Blair felt pure happiness rush through him as Duncan's strong arms tightened around him, his mouth coming down to claim his lips in a slow, passionate kiss.

"You're all I want, always. I'm in love with you, madly, hopelessly in love with you, Caro. I'm not ever going to let anyone or anything come between us. I want to spend every day with you, I want to have time to show you how happy you make me." Duncan stared into his lover's beautiful eyes as he spoke, wanting Blair to see for himself how happy he was, and how deeply he was loved.

"I love you too." Blair squeezed Duncan back, hard, his hands moving possessively over his lover's muscles. "It's just really good to know that you'd rather be with me."

"Than anything," Duncan confirmed, his hands moving down Blair's back to his ass cheeks, pulling the deliciously naked body into his hips.

"Mmm... good," Blair sighed contentedly, turning his head to rest it on Duncan's shoulder.

"Sit down and talk to me a bit longer?" Duncan asked him quietly, guiding Blair backwards to sit on the couch with him. "I want to talk about Jim..."

"Okay," Blair encouraged softly, waiting to see if his lover would continue.

"What happened last night... With Jim... It wasn't just because we were drinking, I think it really started the day before, when we were sparring in the dojo."

"What happened?" Blair asked him curiously, picking up Duncan's hand to intertwine their fingers.

"Well, nothing happened... He knocked me off my feet and when I got back up I was... distracted, which is why he managed to break my nose."

"What do you mean, distracted?" Blair interrupted, his voice low and smooth, the same tone he used to coax information out of Jim.

"Well, I... I was looking at him, I guess," Duncan admitted hurriedly, looking away from Blair for the first time since they'd sat down.

"Okay... Well, he's nice to look at," Blair offered, not sure how Duncan felt about what he was telling him.

"Yeah, he is... Blair, how do you feel about this?" Duncan took his lover's hand, looking for help.

"I think I'm stuck halfway between confused and horny as hell. Can you tell me a little more about what "this" is?"

"I guess I'm not sure myself. I'm sorry... I'm not trying to be evasive, I'm just not very clear about how I really feel."

"Hey, it's okay. Look, we don't have to talk about this now, handsome. It's cool..."

"No, I want to," Duncan interrupted, lifting his shoulders and smiling at his lover helplessly. "I just don't know what to say."

"Okay, well, lets try and break this down a little. Start with the physical, we already have data there to work with. Okay, the kissing under the mistletoe thing... that was totally my fault. I was just kidding, but you did go with it. Do you know why?"

Duncan blushed, looking away from his lover's intense, loving eyes for a moment. "I was joking around too, until I was actually doing it... Then I wasn't."

"Yeah, I noticed that, Duncan. Was it just maybe, like, an alpha male thing? A dominance thing?"

"No. I don't know. You're confusing me, Caro. What do you mean?"

"Well, you and Jim have pretty much worked out the dominance thing as far as I'm concerned. I mean, we basically had to, like, establish equality, for this situation to work. So far, it is, it's working great, and you guys are really friends. You have a connection. Besides me, I mean. You balance each other out in ways I can't 'cause I'm just like, not there with the competitive thing, and the physical stuff. So, when it comes to your interrelations with me, it's cool, you both feel that you're on equal ground, but in your relationship with each other, that's not so clearly established."

"Okay, that makes sense... But how does that become a sexual thing?"

"It's totally sexual, Duncan. I mean, sex is at the center of this whole thing. If sex wasn't an issue between me and Jim, or between me and you for that matter, this would be an entirely different situation. There's a sexual bond going on here that I'm at the center of, but that doesn't mean that it's not going to enter into what goes on between you and Jim. I think it's sorta inevitable."

"Inevitable?" Duncan wasn't sure he liked the sound of that. What Blair was saying made sense to him. On an intellectual level, it was a very reasonable answer, but it wasn't what he really felt, at all. Taking Blair's hand back to hold between both of his, he gathered his thoughts, and tried to explain. "I understand what you're saying, about issues of confrontation and dominance being redirected into our friendship, instead of it being about you. It makes sense, but I don't feel like that's what's going on. I think maybe it comes out that way, on the surface, because as you say, it's a physical relationship. We run, we spar, we encourage each other through competition. I don't feel that way, though..."

"How do you feel, Duncan? How do you feel about Jim?" Blair prompted gently, taking a moment to be thankful that his lover was just as open and willing to talk about his feelings as Jim was closed and reticent.

"Protective... Empathetic. I have tremendous respect for him, he's a remarkable man. I guess I feel like we have a lot in common. Hyperactive senses and Immortality are both big secrets to keep, and I think I see some of myself in the ways he deals with his gift, the way it's changed him. It's something I can't help being attracted to... his abilities fascinate me. I think my Immortality is just as fascinating to him."

Blair nodded, getting up to refill his coffee cup. Coming back to Duncan with a mug for each of them, he sat cross legged next to his lover, cocking his head to the side. "Okay, the empathetic thing I understand, that makes sense. But protective? Of Jim? Why?"

Duncan smiled at Blair's confusion, thinking that even after everything that had happened between them in the last few months, Blair still saw Jim as being nearly invincible. "Because he has such strong beliefs, he has faith in the division between good and evil. He's lived a very full life, yet there's an innocence there that I don't want him to lose, I guess. I'm sorry, Caro, that doesn't make much sense."

"Yes it does. What's really important is that it makes sense to you." Blair smiled, squeezing his lover's hand. "So, now that you've figured it out a little better, what are you going to do about it, handsome?"

Duncan laughed, shaking his head. "I don't know. I'm not sure we should do anything about it. We haven't even gotten to how you feel."

Blair grinned at him, looking up at the clock on the wall. "I know, but if you let me start rambling now, we're never going to be ready for the kids when they get here. We have to make it to the deli and back and have time to set out the food. The short answer is eighty percent horny, ten percent jealous, and ten percent totally confused. We can do this some more later, right?"

Duncan leaned across the space between them, smiling at his lover's honesty. "Yes, of course we can. I love you." He kissed Blair sweetly, taking his hands to pull them both up off the couch. "So we should get ourselves moving?"

"Mm, yeah... Not the moving of my choice, but moving." Blair grinned up at his lover, letting go of his hand to cross the room to the wardrobe. Blair dropped his robe, considering his sartorial options.

Duncan couldn't resist coming up behind him, but he didn't really try. He wrapped his arms around his naked lover, pulling Blair's back against his chest to nibble on a bare shoulder.

"Ahh... handsome? We really have to get going here." Blair groaned softly, grinding his hips against the erection he could feel growing in Duncan's jeans. "That's the last of the voice of reason, if you ignore it I'm going to drag you back to bed." Blair warned, a little frustrated by the teasing touch of Duncan's hands on his body.

"Christmas party called on account of hormones? Nope, I don't think it would go over very well. We'd better stop." Duncan sighed, giving Blair a final squeeze before letting go of him.

Blair pulled underwear and blue jeans on reluctantly, borrowing one of Duncan's t-shirts to wear under his sweater. "Okay, I need I need socks and shoes and then I'm ready," Blair told him, sitting down on the bed to put his socks on.

"I know it's not Christmas yet, but I got you something to wear for the party." Duncan spoke with his back to Blair, searching for a paper bag he'd tucked under the bed. Pulling it out, he took out a red and white Santa hat, with a big white pom pom at the pointed tip. Blair laughed, coming to take it from him.

"That's so cool! Thank you." Blair pushed his hair back and put on his hat, flipping the pom pom back and forth experimentally. "How does it look?"


Blair laughed, "You're the one who's going to look adorable. I can't wait to see you in that Santa suit."

"And what do you want for Christmas, little boy?" Duncan teased, pulling Blair into his arms again.

"A blow job. Maybe a back rub to go with it." Blair answered, biting Duncan playfully through his long sleeved shirt.

"Can you wait for Christmas?" Duncan taunted, one hand snaking down to squeeze his lover's cock.

"No! Definitely not. Screw Santa."

Duncan tossed his head back, laughing so hard that his whole body shook. Blair joined in a moment later, pushing himself away from Duncan reluctantly.

"Okay, lets go get the damn food." Blair grabbed Duncan's hand, pulling him towards the door. Duncan picked up his coat and keys along the way, and they left the loft together, still laughing at their inability to keep their hands off each other.

Jim pulled the gate of the lift, wandering into the dojo. He'd showered, and his hangover was getting much more bearable. He'd only gotten about an extra hour of sleep in his own bed, but he felt much better for it. Waking up, he'd listened for Blair and Duncan's voices and found himself alone in the building. Deciding that they must have gone to get the party trays without him, Jim took his time in the shower, leaning back against the wall and letting the hot water and steam soothe his senses.

In some ways, he wished he'd had time to talk to Duncan a little this morning, and in others, he was grateful for Amanda's dramatic entrance. Breaking and entering seem to be the preferred manner of arrival for Immortals, but he had to admit this one did it with considerably more class. She was something else.

Jim turned the lights on in the dojo, going across the room to the office for the shopping bag full of plastic forks and spoons and paper plates. Every time he tried to think about the events of last night, the only thing that ran through his mind was //Jesus Christ, I kissed MacLeod//. What the hell did Blair think about it? Was he angry at him? Was Duncan? Jim felt a very familiar frustration growing. It seemed like every time life was starting to make sense again, it got more complicated.

What in the world had made him react that way? For that matter, what had made Duncan kiss him like that? Was Mac just drunk? Was he making fun of him? Jim didn't know whether to take it seriously, or if he was blowing the whole thing out of proportion.

Jim took the plastic silverware to the tables they'd set up the night before, laying them out in neat lines. He simply wasn't ready to think about how he felt about it, Jim decided, trying to block the memory of waking up with Duncan's smooth skin under his hand. What was more important was how Blair felt about it. Last night, they'd both made light of it, and Blair had fallen asleep drunk and happy on their laps. How did he feel about it this morning, though? Jim was sure he'd find out. One thing Blair wasn't going to do was let them ignore it. His Guide would find a way to get him to talk about what happened, and Jim was both dreading the discussion and looking forward to the relief of letting his Guide dissect him and figure it all out. He wasn't sure that facing Duncan was going to be quite as easy. He was used to Blair running right over all his defenses, and dragging truth out of him whether he liked it or not. Talking to Mac wasn't as simple.

Jim heard the T-bird's engine outside, and then the car doors slamming, and his pulse quickened. He stopped what he was doing to listen to their voices, realizing that both Duncan and Blair sounded cheerful and playful. He felt relief wash over him as Duncan and his Guide burst through the door, loaded down with packages and laughing.

"Hi Jim! You're setting out the plates? That's great," Duncan called to him, going to the nearest table to set down his stack of plastic deli trays.

"Yeah, I thought I'd get started," Jim answered, trying to meet Duncan's friendly smile with one of his own.

Blair took one look at Jim and set his boxes down, going across the room to give him a hard, reassuring hug. "You okay?" Blair questioned softly, whispering against Jim's shoulder so that only he would hear.

"Yeah, sort of. As long as you're not upset," Jim answered quietly, wishing they had more time to talk about it.

"No, everything's cool, man. Don't worry, okay? We're good," Blair reassured him, squeezing Jim's ribs.

"Okay. Whatever you say, partner." Jim let himself relax into Blair's arms for a another moment, drawing peace of mind from the solid, familiar body against him.

"Hey, I'm going to run upstairs and start bringing down all the presents, okay?" Duncan called to them, walking towards the lift.

" 'Kay, you don't have a lot of time. We still have to get you in the Santa suit and stick your beard on and stuff." Blair gave Jim a final squeeze, before releasing him to go back to the trays he and Duncan had brought in.

"I'll help you with the presents, Duncan, we should be able to get them all down here in one trip." Jim left the stacks of paper plates and napkins to follow Duncan into the lift. Seeing Blair and Duncan so relaxed and happy made him feel much better, and Jim told himself that taking the opportunity to talk to Duncan alone now was smartest thing to do. Otherwise, he'd have to wait all afternoon.

"How's your hangover?" Duncan asked, pulling the gate gently, in case Jim was still recovering.

"Much better. Thanks for letting me sleep." Jim smiled at Duncan across the small space of the lift, not sure how to broach the topic of what had happened between them.

"You look like you want to say something," Duncan told him, lifting the gate for him. He gave Jim an encouraging smile, stepping off the elevator and into the loft.

"Yeah... I guess. Mac, about last night..." Jim took a deep breath, and forced the words out. "Why'd you kiss me like that?" He looked away from Duncan quickly, surprised that he'd actually blurted out the question he couldn't get out of his mind.

Duncan look surprised, too, but he grinned at him, going across the room for the bags of wrapped Christmas presents. "I'm not sure why. I'm not sorry I did it. Are you?"

Jim stood still in the middle of the room, blue eyes searching Duncan's face helplessly. "No."

"Okay. Pretty weird, huh?" Duncan asked, handing Jim bags to set down near the lift.

Jim laughed, grateful for Duncan's candidness, and for his relaxed attitude. Jim supposed that with four hundred years of embarrassing situations behind him, Duncan had probably had plenty of practice handling them. He was glad to follow Mac's lead, and laughed back at him, some of his nervousness dissolving. "Yeah, it sure as hell is."

"Are you upset about it?" Duncan asked, more seriously, concern in his big brown eyes.

"I'm not upset, I'm just really confused. Honestly, Mac, I don't know what the hell to think or feel." Jim took another armful of bags from Duncan, carrying them over to the lift to add to the pile.

"Well, at least we're on equal ground. I'm not sure what to think, either. I'll tell you what, let's not worry about it, and have fun at the party today. We're still friends, right?"

"Right." Jim agreed quickly, his voice full of conviction. That Mac was his friend was one thing he didn't have to question, ever.

"Good. Then there really isn't a problem." Duncan clapped Jim on the shoulder, pulling up the gate for Jim to load the bags into the lift.

Jim smiled, nodding his head in agreement. If Duncan wasn't going to worry about, then he didn't have to either. They managed to fit themselves and all of the presents into the elevator, bringing them down to Blair to stack around the big tree.

They were piling boxes around the tree when Duncan's head came up, the familiar look of unease on his face that meant another Immortal was near.

"Mac?" Jim asked, concern in his voice. He watched Duncan's eyes move automatically to the place on the wall where the weapons usually were, but had been moved upstairs for the party.

"Mac? I'm home." A voice called, and a moment later Richie came through the door, lugging a large backpack and a sleeping bag.

Duncan's face lit up, he moved across the room in a few long strides, pulling his student into a bear hug, baggage and all. "You look great! I'm so glad you made it back in time for Christmas, Rich. Let me look at you." Duncan's hands came down on the young man's shoulders, holding him away to look at him, pride shining in his eyes. Richie grinned at him, happy to see Mac after so long away from home.

"You too, Mac. This place looks good. You been busy." Richie's eyes moved over Duncan's face, taking in the joy he saw there. "You look happy, Mac. Actually, you look like you're in love." Richie told him, laughing when Duncan's grin turned sheepish.

"Well, come meet the reason for my happiness." Duncan took Richie's arm, bringing him over to Blair and Jim by the tree. "Rich, this is Blair, who I'm madly in love with. Blair, this is Richie, my long lost son." Duncan grinned at his student, happy when Rich didn't look at all displeased by his introduction.

"Hi. It's really good to meet you. Duncan talks about you a lot." Blair smiled at Duncan's protégé, offering his hand.

Richie was surprised, but not embarrassed, so he didn't bother to try to hide it. "Wow. Hi, it's nice to meet you."

Mac sleeping with a guy wasn't all that surprising. Mac with a guy that looked like somebody he'd party with was. He smiled, shaking Blair's hand. He was shorter than Richie, with big blue eyes and long hair. When Joe had mentioned that Duncan was involved with somebody, he hadn't bothered to explain that somebody was a guy his age, who looked like a hippie. It would have been nice to have some warning. Richie decided he'd have to give Joe a hard time about it. His attention turned back to Duncan, who was introducing the man standing just behind Blair, on his left.

"And this is our friend, Jim Ellison. He's living on the third floor."

"Hi. Good to meet ya. You guys converted more space into another loft, that's really cool." Richie shook Jim's hand, thinking privately that he looked a lot more like the kind of guy he would have expected Duncan to sleep with. He also looked like a cop. "You're not a cop, are you?" Richie joked, giving Jim a friendly smile.

"What? There's a sign over my head or something?" Jim asked, laughing.

"Just about," Blair told him, happy to see Jim in such a good mood.

"Can you stay, Rich? Help us get ready for the party?" Duncan asked, putting an arm around Richie's shoulders.

"I'm not even here five minutes, and you're putting me to work. Now I know I'm home. No, I'm just kidding, Mac, I'd be happy to. What can I do for you guys?"

"Let me put your stuff in the office for now." Blair offered, taking Richie's backpack from him.

"Thanks. That's a monster tree, Mac. Did you find that one in a forest or something?"

"Nope, we got it from a used car salesman." Duncan joked, helping Jim begin to stack the presents around the base of the tree. Richie picked up the nearest box, placing it on top of the one Duncan set down.

Blair came back from the office, and told Richie the story of their tree shopping, making him laugh until tears came to his eyes. They finished putting the presents under the tree, and laid out the trays of food and cookies. Richie and Blair hit it off immediately, and once Jim found out he raced motorcycles they happily talked bikes and racing while they all dragged out folding chairs and set them up. Duncan watched them talking together, and a deep contentedness spread through him. It was such a relief, to see Richie alive and well. Even after all these years, it was still hard not to be protective of him. It was wonderful to see him, and even better to see him and Blair getting along so well. Jim caught him staring at Blair, and smiled at him across the room, sharing Duncan's happiness.

When Methos came through the doors of the dojo the Christmas party was in full swing. There were kids everywhere, running around, playing games, and taking turns telling Santa what they wanted for Christmas. He spotted Amanda across the room, talking to Joe and Richie. That seemed safe, so he headed their way.

"Adam!" Amanda squealing when she saw him, coming up to throw her arms around his shoulders. "You came home for Christmas!"

"Yes, I did. To quite a surprise," Methos murmured, returning her embrace.

"Didn't we all," Amanda agreed, smiling wickedly. "Duncan seems to be very happy with the little mophead. He's adorable. Very charming, too."

Methos made a face, rolling his eyes at Amanda. "If you say so. Is there liquor in that punch?"

"No, of course not. This is a party for the children, Adam. You're not the tiniest bit jealous, are you?" Amanda's eyes sparkled with mischief, until she realized that she'd caught the old man off guard. There was a flash of real pain in his eyes before Methos recovered his usual mask of mocking amusement. "I'm sorry, love," she told him gently, reaching up to touch his cheek. "I'm thoughtless. Will you live?"

"Of course. Thank you, Amanda. You're a remarkable woman, and a good friend. So where is our Scot, anyway?"

"Didn't you see Santa?" Richie asked as he came over to greet Adam. "It's good to see you."

"Good to see you still have your head," Methos grinned at Richie, almost surprised at how good it was to see the young Immortal. "What's all this about Santa?"

"Mac's playing Santa this year." Richie laughed as he look across the room to see Duncan smiling and laughing, with yet another kid in his lap.

"He's having the time of his life." Amanda watched Methos find Duncan in his Santa costume on the other side of the room, laughing at the expression on his face. "Doesn't he look great?"

"I don't believe it."

"I think the beard suits him, don't you? A little over done on the pillow stuffing, but besides that, he looks good." Amanda took Methos' arm, drawing him back over to Joe.

Methos laughed, shaking his head at Amanda. "From boy scout to Santa. What next?" He had to admit that Duncan did look very happy. Joe got in on the conversation and they all spent the next few minutes making jokes about Duncan in his Santa suit.

Blair spotted Methos across the room, and came towards him, a glass of fruit punch in his hands. "Hi Adam. I'm glad you decided to come. Merry Christmas."

"Thank you. Merry Christmas," Methos murmured, accepting the cup from Blair's hand. "This is quite a party."

"Yeah, we went kinda overboard on the presents." Blair agreed, looking around at all the happy kids with satisfaction. Jim was nearby, organizing a game of musical chairs. Spencer was helping him, looking very festive in a Santa hat just like the one Duncan had given Blair, and elf slippers curled up at the toes. He was the tallest elf Blair had ever seen, the kids loved it.

"Hey, Adam, give me a hand with the trays, we're running low on cookies. I've got a few more backups stashed in the office." Blair smiled at Adam, drawing him away from Amanda, Joe and Richie. He followed Blair to the office, weaving though the crowd of boisterous children. When they got inside the door, Blair closed it halfway behind them, drowning out some of the noise.

"I'm really glad you showed up. I know we didn't start out on the best foot, but you're really important to Duncan, so I'd like it if we could get along." Blair looked at Adam questioningly, handing him two plastic trays of Christmas cookies to carry back out to the party.

"Yeah... I don't do jet lag well. Consider it forgotten."

Blair decided that this was as much of an apology as he was going to get from Adam, and that he could accept it.

"Okay, good. Let's get these out there, before they eat the tablecloths." Blair made a goofy face at Adam, pleased when he made the reserved Immortal chuckle.

"Duncan's just about ready to start passing out presents, I'd better go help Jim get the kids together. Can you put these on the table for me?"

"Sure, go ahead." Methos smiled at Blair, thinking that perhaps he'd been a bit quick to judge Blair. He had the Sentinel thing all wrong, but Methos decided that the boy had a brain in his head, just the same. He was willing to face an embarrassing situation, for Duncan's sake, and this made Methos think that he had more back bone than his first impression had allowed.

Handing out the presents was the best part of the party for all of them. Jim, Blair and Spencer helped Duncan pass out presents and collect the shredded wrapping paper amid squeals of delight. The kids were thrilled with their toys, and Duncan and Jim and Blair were proud of their shopping. Duncan thought it was the most successful Christmas party they'd had yet. The best part, for him, was watching Blair and Jim enjoying themselves and getting to know his friends. That they had all come back to Seacouver for the holidays was more than he'd hoped for.

Blair leaned against the wall of the lift, exhausted but happy. "That was awesome. I think everybody had a really good time."

"Next year, you get to be Santa, Caro." Duncan told him, starting to unbutton the coat of his costume. He was hot and sweaty and tired, but he didn't care. The looks on the kids faces when they unwrapped their presents had made it all worth it.

"Nope, we're gonna make him be an elf." Jim laughed, pulling off Blair's Santa's hat. He put it on, punching Duncan playfully in his belly of pillows. "Come on, Santa, I'll take you on."

"Oh man, you can't punch Santa, you'll get coal," Blair laughed, watching Jim and Duncan play fight until Duncan got him pinned against the wall.

"Give up?" Duncan asked, smiling.

"Yep, I'm too tired. Santa Claus kicked my ass," Jim told him, leaning against the wall, out of breath and laughing.

Blair pulled the gate up for them, and Duncan went straight to the bathroom, peeling off pieces of his costume as he went. Jim collapsed on the couch, happy to sit still and do nothing. He'd managed to keep his hearing turned down, and avoid a return of this morning's headache, but the quiet of the loft was a tremendous relief after hours of high pitched voices. Blair was in the kitchen, heating up the Christmas eve supper he'd made earlier in the week, and frozen for them. There were Cornish hens stuffed with wild rice, baked squash for Jim and a Yorkshire pudding for Duncan, and an apple pie for dessert.

"That smells good already," Jim told him, leaning back on the couch with his hands locked behind his head. There was something about watching Blair in the kitchen that was so essentially comforting. Jim thought that Blair could make any place feel like home.

Duncan came out of the bathroom twenty minutes later freshly showered, wearing faded blue jeans and a white sweater, his wet hair bound in a tight ponytail. He poured himself a drink, carrying it over to the couch to flop next to Jim.

"I'm exhausted," Duncan sighed, putting his feet up on the coffee table. "There is nothing in this world that has more energy than an eight year old."

"Dinner should be ready in a minute," Blair told him, getting plates for them and setting the table.

"That's wonderful, kiddo, I'm starving. Thank you."

Jim and Duncan pulled themselves off the couch to help Blair put all the food out on the table. When the table was set and the candles lit they collapsed into their chairs and started passing dishes back and forth.

"This is delicious Chief, I'm a lot hungrier than I thought I was." Jim stuffed another forkful of squash into his mouth.

"Yeah, chasing those kids around all day you really work up an appetite. It sure was fun, though, wasn't it?" Blair asked, smiling at them contentedly over his plate.

"It was great. I want to thank you both for all the work you put into it. It was by far the best party for the kids I've had yet, thanks to all your help."

"You're welcome." Blair told him, smiling. "It was great. I'm just really glad it's over till next year." Blair was so tired he was almost falling asleep over his dinner. He thought about making a pot of coffee for them after their meal. It was Christmas eve, and he wanted to stay up late and enjoy it.

"No problem, Mac, I had a lot of fun," Jim told him, pushing his empty plate away from him with a contented sigh.

They sat around the table talking about the party, and other Christmas eves. Blair told Duncan and Jim about the Christmas eve he'd spent in South America, and Jim talked about Christmas in the army, and how good it was to have a home, and a real Christmas dinner to look forward to. Duncan listened to them talk about the past, and thought about how grateful he was for the present, to have them both here now. He drew one story after another out of Jim, listening with avid interest as Jim told him about Christmas on leave in Japan and the family he'd spent the holiday with there. Blair cleared the table while they talked, starting a pot of coffee for them when he he'd stacked all the dishes in the sink.

Duncan thought about how little Jim talked about his childhood, and his past all together. In all their reminiscing, he hadn't mentioned his family once. Duncan knew that he didn't have much of a relationship with his father, but he thought it was sad that Jim didn't have any happy memories of Christmas with his family.

"What are you thinking, Duncan?" Blair asked him softly, coming to stand at the back of his lover's chair. "You look sad."

"No, no I'm not. I was thinking about family, how good it is to have one." Duncan leaned back in his chair to smile up at Blair, taking his hand when his gaze moved to include Jim, sitting next to him. Jim looked surprised for a moment, but he smiled, and agreed. "Yeah, it is Mac, it really is."

"I love you guys," Blair whispered, squeezing Duncan's hand.

For a moment, they were silent, all three of them enjoying the feeling of closeness. Then Blair let go of Duncan's hand, squeezing Jim's shoulder affectionately on his way back to the kitchen. He brought out the apple pie, and poured coffee into three mugs on the counter.

"You guys still have room for pie, right?" Blair asked as he started cutting pieces.

"Oh yeah. Cut me a big slice," Jim enthused.

"Me too, kiddo, I've been wanting to eat that pie since you made it. The whole loft was filled with the smell of baking apple pie and you wouldn't let me have any." Duncan almost pouted.

"Yeah, I could smell it downstairs, it drove me crazy," Jim commiserated with Duncan, remembering waking up to the smell of Blair on one of his three am baking stints.

Blair gave them each a huge piece, handing the plates over to Duncan from the counter. "I hope it's as good as last year. I lost the recipe. I think I remembered it, though. Hey, can we turn off the lights and watch t.v. with the Christmas lights on?"

"Sure, do you want to move this to the couch?" Duncan asked, taking the two mugs Blair handed him.

"Yeah, lets. I'll get the lights." Blair went to plug in the Christmas tree lights, flicking off the overhead lights in the kitchen once Duncan and Jim were settled. His pie and coffee were waiting for him on the coffee table, and Duncan and Jim had left him his place in the middle. He settled between them, handing Duncan the remote for the t.v.

"Take your pick, Caro, It's A Wonderful Life or A Christmas Carol."

"Oh cool, it's the Allister Simms version. Christmas Carol, definitely." Blair reached for his pie, nodding in satisfaction when he'd tasted it.

"It's fabulous, Chief. Total pie success."

"Thanks." Blair made short work of his pie, settling back against the cushions with his coffee. "I love this movie."

"I've never seen it." Duncan told them, handing Jim his coffee mug so that Blair wouldn't have to move. He'd arranged himself against Jim's side, his knees up on the couch and his feet in Duncan's lap. It didn't look very comfortable, but Blair looked happy.

"You've never seen A Christmas Carol, really?" Jim asked, accepting his cup and taking a sip over Blair's head before transferring it to his other hand.

"Nope. I've read the story though."

"It's good," Blair told him, "It used to scare the pants off me when I was a little kid."

Duncan turned the volume up as the movie started, and settled back into the couch, one hand on Blair's foot on his thigh.

By the time Scrooge had made his journey with the ghost of Christmas past Blair had scooted down until he was stretched across their laps.

"No way, Chief. You are not falling asleep on top of me tonight. My leg's already numb. Move it." Jim scooped Blair up, dumping him onto the space on his left side, moving over to the middle of the couch.

Blair grumbled, but he lay down again, curled up so that only his calves were in Jim's lap. Duncan chuckled, watching Blair curl himself, spreading out gradually to take up all of the available space. "You amaze me when you curl up that small, Caro."

"Mm, I'm tired," Blair answered sleepily, tucking his head into the crook of his arm, his eyes half open to watch the movie. He was asleep in ten minutes.

Jim and Duncan were enjoying the story, absorbed in the charm of the old black and white film. Jim's arm lay across the back of the couch, and unconsciously, he was playing with the ends of Duncan's ponytail, twisting it around his fingers. It was a habit he'd fallen into with Blair, to twirl a curl around and around his fingertip.

Jim wasn't aware of it, but Duncan was. As soon as he felt his hair move, he looked quickly to Jim, but he was caught up in the movie, a relaxed smile on his face. Duncan held still, thinking about it. If he said anything, he might embarrass Jim, and it would definitely spoil the quiet between them. So he sat very still, letting Jim's fingers play with the ends of his hair. Gradually, his body responded to the touch, a warmth spreading slowly to his groin. Unconsciously, his head tilted towards Jim's fingers, and the light strokes through his hair.

The station broke for commercials, the sound loud after the scratchy soundtrack of the film. Jim's hand moved quickly from Duncan's head, startled.

"It's okay." Duncan murmured, resisting the urge to turn his head to look at Jim beside him.

"It's thick," Jim mumbled, running three fingers slowly through the length of Duncan's pony tail.

Duncan shifted just as little, so that he was close enough to see Jim's face in the dim room. He waited until Jim met his eyes, and then his hand came up, slowly, to cup his jaw. Duncan waited, watching the slow breath that expanded Jim's chest. He didn't move, he held perfectly still under Duncan's touch. When he didn't pull back, Duncan smiled, caught in the intensity of Jim's eyes. Pressing very gently, Duncan's hand drew him forward, until their mouths were almost touching. Fear flared in Jim's light blue eyes, and then he closed them, moving the last millimeter's of space of his own accord. His mouth pressed itself to Duncan's, and his hand came up to hold the back of his head.

Jim heard the quiet little noise Duncan made around his mouth, felt his pulse quicken under his lips. He felt Duncan's large hand, covering all of his cheek as their lips seal together, the rough texture of his callused palm against his skin. The same dizzying rush of excitement spread through him, and Jim coaxed Duncan's mouth open, his tongue creeping in to taste him. Duncan's lips moved slowly against his, his tongue stroking and soothing his urgency. They let the kiss go on and on, breathing each other's air slowly through their nostrils. Neither wanted to have to pull away long enough to breath, long enough to think. Jim's fingers found the elastic band that held back Duncan's hair, and slowly worked it free, his fingers running through the thick, heavy locks.

Duncan groaned quietly, his hand moving to the back of Jim's head to hold him against his mouth. Jim's tongue was stroking the entire interior of his mouth, moving slowly over his teeth and the inside of his cheeks. It sent shivers of heat through him, the hard press of Jim's lips and the smooth glide of his tongue. Duncan felt Jim tremble under his hand, and his grip tightened in his hair, his mouth pushing Duncan back on the couch, leaning over him.

"Mac..." Jim groaned quietly over his mouth. "Why are we doing this?"

Duncan pulled back enough to see the other man's eyes, but he didn't take his hand from Jim's face. "I don't know..." Duncan murmured, lost in Jim's eyes. Slowly, he leaned into Jim's mouth, kissing the thin lips very softly, taking little sucking tastes of him. Jim swallowed a moan, and wrapped his arm around Duncan's shoulders, his other hand still raking through his hair.

Duncan's arms wrapped around him, squeezing him tightly as his lips slanted over his mouth again, kissing him so passionately that Jim felt himself going limp in Duncan's arms, yielding to the hunger for Duncan's mouth.

The next time they came up for air, Duncan met Blair's wide open eyes over Jim's shoulder. He stiffened, releasing Jim slowly. They were both out of breath, their faces red and their lips swollen.

"Hey... it's okay. You guys don't have to stop or anything," Blair whispered, his voice full of wonder and adoration.

Jim moved very slowly, leaning back against the couch. He couldn't take his eyes from Duncan's, and after a second, he reached out for his hand, squeezing hard when he interlaced their fingers. Duncan squeezed back, holding on to his hand when he shifted to a sitting position, facing Blair.

"I'm sorry I interrupted," Blair murmured softly. wishing that Duncan hadn't noticed him. The sight of the two of them with their arms wrapped around each other was the most incredible thing he'd ever seen. His body was totally out of control, and doing it's best to shut down his brain. Blair fought back, trying to push arousal away long enough to think. //What did they need from him? Should he try to get Jim and Duncan to talk about this? Or would it be better to try to let them keep this between the two of them?//

"It's okay, Caro," Duncan spoke gently, squeezing Jim's hand harder. He was watching Jim with concern, unable to take his eyes off his stunned face.

"Jim, are you okay? Don't zone out on us." Blair sat up quickly, one hand reaching out for Jim's shoulder. His Sentinel was unnaturally still, staring straight ahead, his mouth slightly open.

"Yeah..." Jim exhaled, closing his eyes. He didn't know what to say, or what to think, either. He was so turned on he couldn't think.

Blair met Duncan's eyes across Jim's shocked-still body, and read love, concern and embarrassment in his lover's face. He smiled, reassuring Duncan with his eyes, telling him how much he loved him. "Hey, listen, guys. I could go downstairs... If you want to do this without me, it's cool..."

"No! I mean, I should go," Jim tried to push himself up off the couch, but Duncan stopped him, one hand on his shoulder pulling him back.

"No, don't, Jim. Please? Don't leave just yet, not like this."

"I don't know what to say." Jim forced the words out, his eyes on his hand, still entwined with Duncan's. Their fingers were leaving white marks on the back of their hands.

"We don't have to talk, I just don't want you to leave. Stay, please?" Duncan spoke persuasively, his fingers squeezing harder for a moment. Duncan knew that if Jim left now, their friendship would never be the same. There would always be distance between them, the awkwardness of something that had almost happened.

"Okay, I'll stay," Jim whispered, glad when Blair moved to sit leaning against him, offering him his strength.

"So, can I uh, ask how this um... happened?" Blair asked softly, his eyes moving between them.

Duncan chuckled, shaking his head. "I certainly don't mind you asking, but I can't give you an answer, Caro. I haven't the slightest idea, and I don't think Jim does, either."

Jim shook his head, confirming Duncan's judgment.

"So, you haven't, like, talked about it or anything?"

Jim laughed weakly, his free hand coming up to cover his eyes, rubbing the bridge of his nose before he spoke. "Chief, I know what you're trying to say, but it's not going to do any good. Right now, I'm too God damn horny to put one thought next to another, let alone express anything that's going to make sense." He laughed at himself, feeling better for telling the truth.

Empathetic brown eyes met his, and Duncan smiled, letting him know that he didn't have to talk about it at all. It was a tremendous relief.

"Really? Wow. Okay, that's cool. Me too, I think," Blair laughed, pushing his hands through his hair. "Look, guys, I really think it would be a good idea if we talked about this, but I can agree that this might not be the best time. Maybe we should just go to bed?" Blair asked, looking to Duncan for help.

"That's a very good idea, Caro. Come to bed, Jim. We don't have to talk about it, we don't have to do anything about it, either. We can just go to sleep," Duncan spoke soothingly, his thumb stroking the back of Jim's hand.

"Um, okay. I think I can do that." Jim took a deep breath, and met Duncan's eyes once more. "Are you sure you want me here? I could go downstairs..."

"Yes, I'm very sure. Come to bed." Duncan didn't want Jim to be alone, he didn't want him to leave, not when he could have him next to him all night, Blair snuggled comfortably between them.

"Okay." Jim stood up slowly, and Blair took his other hand. Together, they led him to bed. When Blair moved to pull Jim's shirt over his head, Duncan released his hand, murmuring, "I'll be right back." He went to the bathroom, closing the door quietly behind him.

When he returned, Blair and Jim were under the covers, their clothes in a pile at the foot of the bed. Jim was lying on his back, in the middle, and Blair was whispering quietly in his ear.

"I'm going to turn the lights off, okay?" Duncan asked them quietly, standing near the foot of the bed.

"Yeah, that'd be good," Blair answered, his voice mellow and low.

Duncan would have liked to stay there watching them for a little longer, but he made himself turn away, going to the turn off the lights on the Christmas tree and one they'd left on over the sink in the kitchen. He could hear the melodic murmur of Blair's voice, but he couldn't make out what he was saying.

He went back to them, crawling under the covers on his side of the bed. As he did every night, he checked to see that his sword was within reach against the wall. He slid under the blankets, listening to the hypnotic murmur of his lover's voice.

"Just turn everything down a little for me, it's okay, it's cool, we can do this. That's it, just relax. You're totally safe here, everything's okay."

Duncan turned onto his side, placing one hand gently on Jim's muscular shoulder. "This is okay?" He asked him softly, wanting to be sure than Jim was alright with the idea of sleeping between them.

"Yeah... it's good," Jim whispered, closing his eyes. It was, it was very good, to feel the warmth of their bodies on either side of them, to have Blair's heartbeat in his ears and Duncan's gentle touch on his shoulder. It was incredible. He took a slow, deep breath, and groaned as the combined scents of their arousal washed over him. The scent was strong, a heady mix of sweat and pheromones that were both strange and familiar. He felt all the blood in his body rushing to his cock, and then he was dissolving into the intense rush of desire, falling into the blackness around him.

"Everything's alright, everything's okay, listen for my voice, hear my heartbeat. Come on, that's it, just follow it back, I'm right here, I'm right here, come back to me, Jim," Blair's voice pulled insistently at the edge of his consciousness, and Jim opened his eyes, blinking against the light that blinded him. Blair was holding his right hand, with gently increasing pressure. Duncan had his left hand, their fingers intertwined.

"Just relax, breath, stay with me," Blair murmured, waiting for Jim to acknowledge him. He was totally tuned to his Sentinel, almost unaware of Duncan on the other side of Jim, holding his hand, concern and fascination in his dark eyes.

"Okay," Jim groaned quietly, the overpowering awareness of their arousal returning with his sense of his surroundings. "Oh God... Blair, I don't think I can... It's too much. I want to. I want this, but I don't think I can handle it."

Blair moved quickly, lying down on his side to press himself against Jim, his lips close to his ear when he spoke again, coaxing him gently. "Tell me about it, it's okay, just tell me. What is it? What's making you zone? What can't you handle, Jim?"

"Smell," Jim whispered, closing his eyes. "Both of you. I feel like I'm going to explode. It hurts."  Jim's eyes were squeezed shut, the muscles of his face tight with frustration.

"Well, there is another solution besides you leaving." Duncan told him silkily, his hand moving slowly from Jim's shoulder to the center of his chest. Jim groaned, and Duncan met his lover's eyes across Jim's chest. Blair was very excited, Duncan could see it in his eyes. His cheeks were flushed, and his pulse beat rapidly at the base of his throat.

"Help him, Caro," Duncan murmured, watching Blair's eyes as he leaned over Jim, covering his open mouth with his lips.

Blair moved quickly, scooting down the bed to kneel between Jim's legs. He heard Jim moan, and watched his hips arch up off the mattress as Duncan kissed him deeply, his hands holding either side of Jim's head. He couldn't hold back a groan, as he watched his Sentinel twist under Duncan's mouth. Leaning over him, he drew Jim's rigid cock slowly into his mouth, closing his lips around him. Jim shuddered in his mouth, moaning out loud against Duncan's lips.

Blair took Jim into his throat, sucking down the length of him slowly, letting his tongue drag over the hard flesh. Jim's body strained and shuddered above him, and he sobbed into Duncan's mouth, sucking desperately on his tongue. His hands clutched at Duncan's shoulders, holding onto the hard, rock like muscles for dear life. Blair's mouth twisted slowly over his cock, the wet, constant friction sending jolts of pleasure though his body so strong that all he could do was hang on to Duncan, his tongue burrowing into his mouth, searching for protection from the burning, searing pleasure.

"Let go," Duncan whispered harshly against his lips, and he did, going limp in Duncan's arms as his cock exploded in his Guide's mouth.

Duncan held him tightly, protectively, amazed and extremely aroused by what he'd just watched. The connection between Sentinel and Guide was something so powerful that he couldn't help but be affected by it. The trust Jim placed in his Guide, and now in him, was something that moved him so deeply he could only hold Jim's head to his shoulder, stroking the velvety hair as Jim clung to him. Jim's gasped breaths evened out gradually, his body shuddering violently before it relaxed, melting against him.

"Look what you've done to Blair," Duncan whispered in Jim's ear, his fingers stroking the strong neck tenderly.

Jim opened his eyes to see his Guide, still curled up between his legs, his face pressed into his hip. He was grinding his pelvis slowly into the mattress, the muscles of his legs taut and his toes curled up.

"He's beautiful, isn't he?" Duncan whispered seductively, his fingers trailing up and down Jim's chest.

"Yes." Jim answered hoarsely, one hand reaching out to sink into Blair's curls.

"Come here, come back to us, Caro," Duncan murmured, moving back a little as Blair crawled up Jim's chest to lie on top of him. He watched them kiss, love so strong it made him ache unfolding inside him. Blair held Jim's head, not kissing him, but pouring his soul into him, his body pressed against Jim's in total surrender.

Jim moaned contentedly into his Guide's mouth, sucking on his tongue. His hands held Blair's hips, dragging him slowly up and down his torso. Blair pulled back to breathe, his eyes staring down into Jim's, his breath coming in soft pants. At the same time, their eyes turned to Duncan, laying on his side next to them. Duncan smiled, and Blair leaned over to kiss him quickly. Then he pulled away, sliding off Jim's chest to lie on his other side again. His legs slid under Jim's, encouraging him to turn halfway onto his side so that he could wrap himself around Jim's back, his hard cock pushing against the base of his spine.

"I really want to watch. Is that okay?" Blair whispered, watching Jim and Duncan stare into each other's eyes, their faces inches apart.

"Jim?" Duncan questioned softly, his voice deep with desire. He wanted to know what Jim wanted, if he was alright.

"Mmm, yeah, definitely." Jim mumbled, closing the space between them to attach himself to Duncan's mouth again.

Their tongues met and battled for dominance, until Duncan slid over to lay half on top of him, his hands pressing into the hollows of his shoulders. Jim's arms wrapped around him, his hands moving slowly down Duncan's sides. Reaching the elastic waistband of his boxers, Jim pushed them off, shoving them down his legs until Duncan kicked them off for him.

"Oh man," Blair groaned softly, watching Jim's large hands covering Duncan's muscular ass. "Kiss him, Duncan," Blair whispered, his voice ragged with arousal.

Duncan followed Blair's direction, rolling on top of Jim and covering his mouth, kissing him softly. Jim moaned, opening his mouth expectantly for his tongue. Duncan's arms braced his weight, as he covered Jim with his body, groaned quietly as his hard cock nestled into Jim's hard hipbone. "Ahh, that feels good," Duncan told him, his teeth nipping at Jim's lips, his tongue lightly tracing the outline of his mouth.

"Incredible. Oh God, that's so beautiful," Blair whispered harshly, his hand straying to stroke his own erection.

Duncan's weight bore down on him, the hot, stiff length of his erection rocked against his hip, and Jim groaned out load, panting against Duncan's mouth as he felt his own cock swell to hardness. "Oh God yes. Jesus, Mac, don't stop. More..." Jim moaned helplessly, trying to shift underneath Duncan's weight to bring their cocks together.

Duncan moved down a little, and dragged his throbbing cock slowly over Jim's length, hissing through his teeth at the intense pleasure of the friction.

"Mac!" Jim groaned, his hands clutching at Duncan's biceps, his breath coming in heaving gasps.

"Easy, just go with it, it's okay. Don't let yourself zone, concentrate on him." Blair's whisper was harsh, his hand jerking over his swollen cock, but he never took his eyes off his Sentinel, watching over him for the first sign of another zone.

Jim groaned out loud as his Guide's voice pulled him back from the very edge of oblivion, his skin on fire everywhere that Duncan covered him. "Oh god, Duncan..." he moaned, his hips jerking hard against Duncan's slow thrusts.

"Yes. Yes, that's perfect," Duncan whispered back, his face nuzzling into Jim's neck as he bent over him, his hips rocking hard against Jim's.

Duncan felt Jim's muscles coil like a spring, his arms locking around his ribs as he thrust up once more, hot come splattering over their bellies. Duncan closed his mouth over the skin at the side of Jim's neck, his teeth sinking into his flesh as he came explosively, bucking against Jim's slick skin. Each of them were vaguely aware of Blair's shout as he pressed himself into Jim's side, his hand moving furiously over his cock until he came, shuddering against them.

"Oh my God," Jim groaned, the words drawn out as he gasped for air.

"Yeah," Duncan agreed, rolling off Jim's chest to let him breathe.

Blair sighed, pulling himself up to kiss Jim softly at his temple. "Thank you. That was really incredible."

"Yeah, it was," Jim answered, groping for his Guide's hand. He interlocked their fingers, holding onto him while his senses rode out the waves of pleasure after his orgasm.

"I'm glad you stayed," Duncan told Jim, his voice thick with sleep. His hand moved to the center of Jim's chest, covering his heart with his palm. "Goodnight, Caro, sleep well."

"Mm, we're a mess," Blair mumbled, rolling over to reach the side of the bed. Finding a T-shirt, he did a quick clean up, wiping them all off so that they wouldn't be stuck together in the morning. "There, good enough," he told them, tossing the shirt over them to the other side of the bed and flopping down to curl around Jim's back.

Jim rolled over, already half asleep. Duncan's hand came up to guide his face down to rest on his shoulder, stroking his cheek tenderly. "Goodnight, Jim."

"Goodnight, Duncan. Merry Christmas."

Duncan chuckled sleepily, his arm reaching across Jim to hold the curve of Blair's hip. "Merry Christmas."

Blair giggled, burrowing into Jim's broad back. "Merry Christmas, guys."

They fell asleep in a sweaty tangle of limbs, the covers forgotten at their feet.

End Part 30

Part 31

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