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 33

By Zen&nancy

Jim and Duncan worked together at the counter in Jim's kitchen. Duncan was de-veining shrimp while Jim chopped spinach, mushrooms and onions at a cutting board next to the sink. They moved with the grace of two people accustomed to working together in the narrow space. Jim's kitchen was a long, narrow alcove made up of an extra-long counter-top and bar on one side, with refrigerator, stove and sink on the other.

"Do you think he'll come home for dinner?" Jim asked, breaking the companionable silence.

"I hope so, we're not going to be able to eat all these shrimp by ourselves," Duncan smiled, tossing the next cleaned shellfish into the bowl on his right.

"Mac, do you think he's upset about us?" Jim's knife paused in it's shuffle across the mushroom caps on the board, and he turned to look at Duncan, frowning.

"I don't think so. It's not as if he didn't have an equal part in the decision. If Blair's having any second thoughts I'm sure he'll talk to us about them. Are you worrying?" Duncan cocked an eyebrow at the handsome, obviously fretful man at his side. "Don't borrow trouble, Jim, everything will work itself out in the end."

"Are you really sure?" Jim looked like he needed the reassurance very badly. Duncan set down the shellfish, turning to wrap his arms around Jim's waist, pulling him against his body gently.

"Yes, absolutely, I'm sure. Everything is going to be okay, don't worry."

Just a little less than halfway through his short speech the door opened, and Blair walked in, shaking melting snow and drops of water from his hair. He stopped just inside the door, raising his eyebrows at the scene in the kitchen.

The sight of Duncan standing with his arms around Jim, comforting him, seemed to bring all of his worries and unhappiness into focus. Blair felt torn, his emotions split between wanting to walk straight into the middle of that hug, and wanting to shove Duncan away from Jim and make sure that it was his voice that Jim heard.

"Hey Caro, just in time. We were starting to worry about whether or not you'd come home for supper." Duncan's warm smile reached out to him from across the room, but Blair went to the couch to dump his backpack and wrestle off his scarf, gloves and coat.

"I'm here. You seem to have everything pretty well under control." Blair's voice was flat, the lack of expression setting off alarms in Jim's head.

"What's wrong, Chief?"

"Nothing. Why does something have to be wrong? Can't I just be in a shitty mood, like everybody else?"

Even as he spoke Blair realized he wasn't making any sense. Jim and Duncan seemed to be in perfectly good moods, well, at least until he'd come home. He wondered if they'd spent the whole day together, and what they'd talked about.

"Of course you can, did you have a frustrating day at the library?" Duncan set the bowl of cooked shrimp in the sink to drain, and walked around Jim's counter to the living room to sit next to his lover.

"No, I'm just tired and crabby. Ignore me, okay?" Blair shook his head at Duncan, turning to include Jim in the kitchen with a reassuring smile. Blair told himself that he wasn't ready to have this discussion, and neither were they, Jim wouldn't want to talk about this any more than he did.

"Have you eaten anything since breakfast, Chief? Don't lie to me..." Jim grinned at his Guide over the pot he was stirring. "I know how crabby you get when you don't eat."

"No, I haven't," Blair answered him resignedly, a reluctant grin spreading over his face as he got up from the sofa, coming into the kitchen to slap Jim on the shoulder. "Feed me or suffer the consequences, mister."

"We'll have to feed him, Mac," Jim joked, transferring the pasta from the pot he'd been watching over to a serving bowl and handing it across to Duncan, who set it on the table for them.

Blair got glasses and silverware while Jim and Duncan brought their dishes to the table, obviously proud of the meal they had to offer Blair.

Dinner was a quiet affair, Blair ate in silent concentration, obviously enjoying his food. Jim and Duncan talked quietly for a little while about the class schedule for dojo, but soon they too were quiet, watching Blair.

"What? I turned green in the stacks? You're both staring at me." Blair looked up at each of them quickly, a fork wrapped with noodles and a speared shrimp hovering in front of his mouth.

"You're also as prickly as a porcupine, Chief. Relax, enjoy your dinner." Jim's advice didn't seem to have much effect.

Duncan got up from the table when he finished, taking his plate and glass into the kitchen to start on the sinkful of dishes they'd made.

Blair was still eating, working his way through a second helping of spinach and mushrooms. Jim sat with him, taking pleasure from watching Blair eat. He reached out to touch Blair's forearm, wanting to connect with his Guide.

"You're all bottled up tonight, Chief. Talk to me, what's goin' on?"

Blair shook his head, pushing his plate away from him at the table. "I don't want to, Jim. I'm tired; I'm just not up for it now. It's cool, man, don't worry about it, okay?"

Jim shook his head slowly, reaching for Blair's hand. "No, I'm sorry, Chief, it's not okay. Come on, you make me talk. Just spit it out."

"Look, I don't want to feel this way, okay?" Blair pulled his hand away, and felt guilty as soon as he realized what it did to Jim. The look in his Sentinel's eyes could only be described as fear.

In the kitchen, Duncan listened, shutting off the water and drying his hands on a dishtowel when it seemed like things were getting difficult. "What way, Caro? Tell us how you feel," Duncan questioned him gently, coming to the table to stand next to Blair's chair, taking his other hand. "Why don't we all sit down together and talk for a little while, see if we can resolve this problem." Duncan didn't have any idea what the problem was, but he couldn't stand to see Jim so upset, or for Blair to keep anything painful hidden from him.

When Blair looked like he wanted to refuse, Jim spoke quickly, reaching out to touch Blair's hair for just a brief second. "Please, Blair?"

Blair sighed heavily, pushing back his chair. "Okay, fine, but I'm warning you ahead of time, I'm not going to make any sense. All it's gonna do is cause trouble."

"I doubt that, or at least not as much trouble as not talking would cause," Duncan told him kindly, taking a place on the couch, his legs crossed underneath him on the cushion.

Jim took the opposite corner, leaving Blair no choice but to sit between them. "Talk to us, Blair."

"Fine, fine, you want me to talk? You want me spew out all the bullshit that I don't even want to feel that's eating my insides today? We can't just let it rest and put it down to Blair's emotional instability?" Blair's angry gaze moved back and forth between them, defensiveness in his quick hand gestures.

"No," Duncan answered, gently but with conviction. "We can't." He took Blair's hand, his thumb brushing soothingly back and forth across the back.

"Okay- I'm jealous." Blair spit the word out with a short laugh, shaking his head at the ridiculousness of the situation.

"Of who?" Duncan and Jim both asked at once, and then they chuckled, shaking their heads at each other across Blair in the middle.

"Of both of you, that's the especially stupid part, beyond the fact that I have no right to be jealous in the first place. I'm the one that told you two to kiss under the mistletoe. I started the whole thing." Blair's hands raked quickly through his hair, and gesture of frustration both Duncan and Jim were familiar with.

"Hold on, Caro. I don't think you can take total responsibility for the three of us being together, it was a mutual choice. It's not as though we only did it to please you." Duncan's voice was calm, persuasive. He wasn't alarmed by his lover's confession, it seemed a perfectly logical reaction.

"I know that! Look, I can see that, Duncan, believe me. You're already almost as protective of him as I am, and for that matter, Jim can't even make a sentence that doesn't have Duncan in it!" Blair's eyes opened wide as his hand flew up to cover his mouth, looking back and forth at the shocked faces of his Sentinel and his mate. "I'm sorry," Blair mumbled, feeling ashamed of himself. His hand dropped slowly from his mouth to fall limply into his lap. "I didn't mean it to come out like that. I think I have some property issues here, and I'm feeling really stupid about it."

Jim and Duncan both reached out for him at once, Jim's arm going around his Guide's shoulders as Duncan took his hand, pulling it into his lap to hold.

"So, you're feeling possessive?" Jim offered, already feeling a strong possessiveness growing in answer to his Guide's anxiety. His sense of touch and smell crept up until he was focused intently on his Guide, almost drowning in Blair's physical presence beside him.

"Yeah, big time, for absolutely no good reason whatsoever." Blair shook his head, angry at himself.

"You don't have to have a valid reason, Blair. Whatever you feel is valid, whether you have a reason or not. If you don't want all three of us to be together this way, it doesn't have to be. We could go back to the way things were before." Duncan spoke softly, admitting to himself even as he spoke how hard it would be to go back. If it was the only way that Blair could deal with both of them, then he would do it, and even though it made him sorry to think it, he knew Jim would too. There was nothing either or them wouldn't do for Blair.

"No!" Blair shook his head, whipping his curls back and forth around his shoulders. "That's the really impossible thing. I don't want that, Duncan. Honestly I don't even think it'd be possible, but it's a moot point, 'cause I'd go crazy if we tried to. Look, we can't deny what's happened between us, no matter what. I think I just need some time to deal."

"Okay, maybe we can do that, just relax and deal with this for a while, talk about it," Jim soothed, the hand at the back of Blair's head moving to stroke through the long curls. Blair's hair had grown long in Seacouver, and now it hung almost two inches past his shoulders. When Jim stretched out a curl in the back, it came down to the center of Blair's spine.

Blair laughed, sounding like he was finally letting go of some of the tension. "That's totally ironic, man. You're telling me to chill out and talk about my feelings."

Duncan's laughter was kind. "Yeah, well, somebody has to guide the Guide. Be honest with us, Caro. What is it that bothers you? Is it the idea of Jim and I together without you? Because that doesn't have to happen..."

"No." Blair shook his head, reaching out to pull Duncan closer, until he had both of them hugging him, a group hug, which he decided he didn't mind being smothered in at all. "I don't want to put any restrictions on this situation. Just give me some time, okay?"

"Of course it's okay, Caro," Duncan reassured him, pressing his lips to Blair's temple.

"Why are you two dealing with this better than I am? I always thought I was the open minded one." Blair laughed at himself.

"Maybe because Mac and I have already worked out our jealousy and possessiveness, Chief. We've been past that for quite a while now." Jim stroked Blair's shoulder as he spoke.

"Pretty smart, Ellison." Blair elbowed Jim playfully.

"He's right, Caro. Jim and I have already dealt with feelings of jealousy. But I think it's more than that, I really do. You have a great deal more invested in your relationships with us than we do with each other, at this point at least. What I want you to understand is that you'll always be Jim's Guide, and that I'm not going to try to get in the way of that any more now than I would have before. I'm not going to step on your toes, and nothing that happens between Jim and I is going to change what you are to him. Or, for that matter, what you are to me, which is everything."

"Oh Duncan... I love you." Blair reached for Duncan, wrapping his arms around his neck to hug him tightly.

When he pulled back it was to flop back against Jim's side, one arm wrapped around his Sentinel's broad shoulders. "You guys seem to be really comfortable with this whole thing. Can I ask you about it? What you've talked about and what you want and all that?" Blair looked at each of them in turn, and Duncan and Jim traded smiles and hand gestures, trying to offer the other the chance to go first.

Finally they laughed, and Duncan spoke first. "We haven't really talked about it that much, except to swear to each other that there will never be violence between us. I know that having Jim for a lover as well as a friend makes me happy, that I care about him. I think I'd like things with us to go as they are, to try to share life together."

"Have you ever done that before? Had a three-way relationship?" Blair asked curiously. He was aware of the effect Duncan's words had on his Sentinel, but he wasn't quite finished with his lover yet.

"No, I haven't, but I have seen ones that worked. I think what I would like is for us to do what we have all along, to take one day at a time and trust our instincts."

Blair smiled, reaching up to touch Duncan's face with his fingertips. "That's a good plan, handsome."

"I think you about covered it, Mac." Jim told him gruffly, a little overcome by Duncan's certainty of his feelings. Realizing that Duncan felt that way about him was quite a revelation.

"No rules?" Blair asked his Sentinel softly, his eyes sparkling with mischief.

"No rules, Chief. Well, okay, maybe one rule. Whatever we do at home stays at home, we don't talk about it. I'm not ashamed, but I am realistic, and I've got a career I'd like to try to put back together ahead of me."

"That's understandable. I don't have any problem with keeping our personal lives discreet, do you, Blair?" Duncan looked to his lover.

"Are you serious? Hmm, well let's see, I already keep my mouth shut about the small details of you being Immortal and Jim being a Sentinel... do you think I can keep this just between us?" Blair laughed, teasing Duncan. He was so relieved that they were talking things out and it was going smoothly that he felt punchy.

"Alright, Professor, I'll admit you can keep your mouth shut." Jim smiled, tremendously relieved. He sobered quickly, picking up Blair's hand. "How about you, Chief? You got any kind of ground rules you want to lay down here? Any guidelines?"

Blair laughed at Jim's unintentional joke, but he shook his head. "Nope, I'm clueless. Duncan's the one with four hundred years life experience. If anybody's in charge of guidelines for this arrangement, it's him." Blair's eyes moved adoringly over his lover's smiling face.

"Okay, how's this? No secrets, no manipulation, equal time in the middle, and change the sheets every three days."

Jim threw his head back and laughed until tears came to the corners of his eyes. "That's a plan, Mac."

"You really do have beautiful feet, Methos. They're in fantastic shape for being five thousand years old," Amanda laughed as she rubbed his toes.

Methos tossed a handful of bubbles at her, a half-hearted effort because Amanda had turned out to be a master of the foot rub. There were lots of fascinating things he was learning about her, but the most fascinating of them all was that he truly enjoyed her company. She was witty, clever, playful, and compassionate. In a nutshell, she was just what he needed at this particular point in time.

"You're being quiet. What's on your mind?" Amanda put Methos' foot back under the steamy water and took his hand. "You've got a funny look on your face old me. Spill it."

"I was thinking about you, actually, about how much I'm enjoying your company." He gave her hand a squeeze and smiled one those of those rare, crinkle-faced smiles at her.

"Mmm, me too. You can be a lot of fun once you get past all the sarcasm." Then she paused and her features softened, warmth in her eyes. "Seriously Methos, this is good, you and me, like this." She waved her hand back and forth in the space between them.

"Naked in the bath tub?" He giggled.

"No. Yes. Oh you know what I mean." Amanda splashed him in frustration.

"Yes I do, and you're right, this is good."

"Does that mean you'd consider staying for a few days?" Amanda purred, her hand once again wandering up Methos' leg.

"Hmm," he sighed as Amanda's clever fingers reminded him of the benefits of having a lover with a thousand years of experience. She'd surprised him more than a couple of times since they'd come back to her hotel suite after Joe's Christmas party. "Actually, I had planned on staying in Seacouver for a while."

"I know, you want to keep an eye on Duncan. But why? What's your agenda here?" She asked nicely enough, not in the least bit accusatory.

This was actually the first time they'd had to talk. Up until this bath they had been too busy trying to kill each other with pleasure to stop and chat. Now Methos realized he could have a good friend in Amanda, as well as a delightful lover. He didn't think he could trust Amanda, much, but then he didn't really trust anyone. Maybe it would be to his advantage to bring her in on his mission to find out the truth about Mac's somewhat bizarre relationship. Well, bizarre for MacLeod anyway.

"Don't you think the three of them are a bit close?" He tossed Amanda a crumb and watched her gobble it up.

"Now that you mention it," her eyes were glowing with mischief. "Blair and Jim did seem to be very intimate in the way that they dealt with each other. Stop toying with me, Methos, just fill me in. I know you know something, I can see it in your eyes."

Methos laughed and pulled her warm, wet body closer in the tub. "Why should I trust you?" He asked quietly, nibbling her silky shoulder while he spoke.

"Mmm, good question. Are you serious, or is this just more foreplay?" She shivered as Methos ran his teeth across the top of her shoulder.

He pulled back, looking at her. "If I was serious, would you take me seriously?"

"What a strange question." She tilted her head to side, trying to figure out what sort of thoughts were going on in Methos' brain. "Yes, I'll take you seriously."

"There is more going on with Duncan, Jim, and Blair, but I need to know you can actually keep your mouth shut about this." He gave Amanda one of his classic "I'm serious as shit" looks.

Amanda answered him with no hesitation. "I won't tell a soul." Then she added, "Look Methos, we both know that there's nothing that I can say that will make you believe you can trust me. It's a choice you have to make. Even though it will drive me insane, I'll even back off and wait for you tell me. No pressure, no sneaking, no bullshit."

He knew she was right, whether he decided to trust her with this or not was his decision, so he made it. Sighing heavily and pulling the plug on the tub he stood up and grabbed a couple of towels. "Come on, I'll tell you all about it once we've dried off and ordered room service."

"I can't believe it's only eight o'clock. It feels so much later." Blair stretched, throwing his arms over the back of the couch.

Jim yawned, nodding in agreement. "I'm tired too."

"Yeah, but it's a good tired. I love Christmas vacation," Blair sighed contentedly and let himself slump against Duncan.

Duncan leaned down to kiss his lover, pushing him gently back to Jim when he'd had a thorough sampling of Blair's soft lips. "I'm going to leave you two lazy bones on the couch for an hour."

"Kata?" Blair asked, admiring the fluid motion of Duncan rising from his sprawl.

"My body needs it," Duncan confirmed.

"Your body looks just fine, handsome." Blair leered at Duncan.

"Thanks, but I think you're a bit biased. Later." He waved happily as he left Jim's apartment, heading upstairs to change for his workout.

Blair stretched out into the available space Duncan had left, raising his eyebrows at Jim. "So, big guy, what do you want to do? Turn on the news? This is good, but you need to be a lot closer."

Jim pounced. With a remarkable resemblance to the grace and speed of his animal spirit, he stretched his body out over his Guide's, covering him completely.

"Better?" Jim whispered, his voice already husky.

"Oh yeah, incredible." Blair smiled up at him, a look of perfect contentment on his face. He squirmed and shifted under the larger man until he was comfortable, settling Jim's legs between his own so that he could wrap his calves around Jim's, holding him down on top of him.

Jim closed his eyes, inhaling slowly, feeling something he could only describe as euphoria spread through him as he filled himself up with Blair, all his senses reaching for his Guide. "You smell wonderful."

"Mmm." Blair hummed quietly in agreement, too happy to talk.

They stayed like that for a long time, doing nothing but lying still and soaking up each other's presence; Blair's arms wrapped loosely around Jim's neck, holding the larger man to his whole body.

"We're breathing together," Jim's whisper was hushed, a sense of awe in his brief report. "Heartbeats, too. Pulse, everything. Blair?"

"What is it, Jim?"

"Can I make love to you?"

"You mean, like, intercourse? You want to, you're sure?" Blair's voice betrayed his surprise as wide-open blue eyes searched Jim's features.

"I think so. No, I'd like to, very much. I'm sure." Jim's voice was deeper. He shifted his hand's position against the edge of the cushion and the back of the couch to brace his weight more comfortably. He lowered himself slowly to press into Blair, groaning quietly when their hard cocks found each other, molding against each other through their clothes.

"Okay." Blair smiled, ducking his head to nuzzle the hollow of Jim's throat. He was overcome with a moment of intense shyness. It seemed overwhelming to think about what it would feel like to be bonded with Jim so completely, to let him inside his body.

"Are you sure? I mean, if you don't want to, it's okay." Jim was looking at him uncertainly, very obviously insecure about the entire idea.

"Oh no, I mean, yes. I'm totally sure." Blair beamed at his Sentinel, and then he laughed, ducking his head. "This is silly, I just, I feel... shy. Incredibly shy. Just give me a minute, let me relax, we'll be fine, Jim, we'll be just fine, I promise."

"I trust you, buddy. How about if we take more than a minute, huh? Let's take this nice and slow, we can take all night."

"Oh man, Jim, I swear to God..." Blair didn't have any idea what he was trying to say. He only knew that when Jim talked to him that way, in that half whisper, half growl that was the most intimate, sexual thing he'd ever heard, every single thought went right out of his head.

Jim groaned a soft agreement as he moved subtly against Blair's body, shifting back and forth a little to revel in the contact. "You feel, so good, just your skin, the way your body feels against me," Jim whispered raggedly, rubbing his cheek over his Guide's neck. "I wish I knew how to explain. It's so good, Blair, it just feels so right."

"Mmm, yeah, it is." Blair had his hands under Jim's shirt, his palms moving slowly over the muscular back, squeezing hard and then manipulating the muscles very gently. Blair watched his Sentinel, trying to catalogue everything while his brain still retained the ability to function. Jim's eyes were closed, his head cocked slightly to the right in the listening angle he knew so well. Blair whispered, in case Jim has his hearing turned all the way up. "When did our heartbeats synchronize?"

Before Jim could answer Blair's head came up to steal a kiss, opening his mouth under Jim's in invitation. Jim's tongue pushed into his mouth, one big hand holding the back of his head, prolonging the kiss when Blair would have pulled away. When he had touched every inch of the interior of Blair's mouth with his tongue, Jim released him, remembering his Guide's question as Blair's head fell back against the couch.

"Um, almost as soon as I laid down on top of you."

"Pulse too? Respiration?" Blair whispered, his hands finally moving down to squeeze the muscular cheeks, grinding himself into Jim's hard cock.

"Yeah." Jim moaned, his breath coming in tight gasps. "You takin' notes, Chief?"

Jim freed his hand from Blair's curls to reach between them, his palm sliding back and forth to trace the outline of the prominent bulge in his jeans.

"Yeah." Blair's laugher was hoarse with need as he pushed himself up into Jim's hand.

Jim shoved his face into his Guide's hair, inhaling deeply at the back of his neck. "God, I love this stuff. I can't believe I ever gave you a hard time about it. Can I take it back? Can I tell you how I've been in love with it for the last four years?" Jim stopped when he realized his voice was breaking.

Blair's arms moved to wrap around his waist, squeezing hard. "Really?"

"Yeah. Blair... I'm so sorry. I treated you so badly, I know I did. I was afraid to let you get too close. I think I was afraid that I wouldn't know how to deal with this, and now I don't even know why it made me angry. It just makes sense, the way it feels to hold you, the way you smell, everything. I'm not ashamed of this, Blair. I'm ashamed of the way I acted for the first four years."

"Shh, it's okay, it doesn't matter," Blair tried to reassure him, his hands pushing Jim's sweater up to stroke his back, one hand moving up to the back of his head.

"No, it does, it matters to me. All that time I wasted, when it could have been this simple. Do you think it could have been like this from the start? Tell me honestly, Blair, I want to know."

Jim listened to Blair swallow, licking his lips before he spoke. "You can't count the variables. That's asking what it would have been like if you had been somebody else. I don't know... It wouldn't have been like this, it would have been different. I've changed; I'm coming to you with a different perspective. Yes, I would have been very willing to sleep with you from the first night I spent in the loft, but no, it wouldn't have been like this. That's the best answer I can give you, big guy."

Jim sighed in relief. "I can live with that. Thank you."

Blair smiled up at him brilliantly. "You're welcome."

"Your arms are going to give out eventually, why don't we move to the bed?" Blair breathed into Jim's ear, watching him shiver before reaching up to suck the earlobe into his mouth.

"Mmm, definitely. Good idea." Jim pushed himself back up onto his knees, sliding off the couch and reaching for Blair's hands. Pulling Blair effortlessly to his feet, Jim removed the first layer of flannel off his arms before he let Blair go. He was still wearing the four layers from his trip to the library. Moving them slowly across the room, Jim managed to struggle off the thinner second flannel and thermal undershirt while sucking on Blair's neck. His Guide was panting, twisting this way and that to try to help in the battle with his layers as he stumbled backwards towards the bed.

Blair took his t-shirt off himself, stripping quickly out of his socks and jeans next to the bed. Kneeling on the mattress, he reached for Jim, catching him by the belt loops to pull him close. Unbuttoning the chinos he drew the zipper down slowly, smiling radiantly up at his Sentinel. Jim was watching him with eyes dilated to black pools, standing perfectly still under his touch.

"You are so incredible. Get your clothes off. Come here." Blair moved back on the bed to make room for him while Jim kicked off his pants, leaving them with his shirt and his jockeys on the floor next to the bed.

Blair moved quickly, his hands reaching for Jim's shoulders to draw him down on top of him again.

"You don't mind me being so much bigger? I'm not too heavy? I wouldn't mind if you wanted to be on top..." Jim whispered in his Guide's ear, aware of the fact that he wasn't the least bit uncomfortable or embarrassed in bed with Blair. He was happy. Joyously, incredibly happy. Being naked in bed with Blair felt like the very best thing in the world, it felt familiar and safe and electric and addictive all at once. Jim thought that they could just roll around on the bed and kiss all night and he'd be more satisfied than he'd ever been with anyone else.

"Oh no, I love the way you feel on top of me. Don't leave." Blair shifted underneath him to bring their cocks together, pushing slowly over Jim's hard length. "Mm, oh God doesn't feel incredible? Ah, Jim."

"Yeah, oh yeah. Blair..." Jim inhaled a huge breath, taking in the smell of Blair's arousal until he was swimming in a fog of lust.

"Easy, nice and slow, remember? I don't want to lose you tonight." Blair murmured softly, his hands coming up to stroke Jim's face, guiding him down to his lips to kiss him passionately.

Just as Blair's tongue pushed into his mouth, Jim became conscious of the sound of Mac's familiar footsteps in the hallway. He pushed himself up on his arms, alerting his Guide to Duncan's return. The door opened, and Duncan's eyes moved quickly around the room, searching for them. When his gaze reached the bed, he smiled, and began to retrace his steps backwards to the door.

"Duncan, wait," Jim and Blair spoke in unison, laughing when they realized what they had done.

"Don't leave. Join us." Blair raised one hand to beckon Duncan to the bed as Jim rolled to Blair's left side, leaving the larger space open for him.

"Are you sure? I was going to give you two some time alone together..." Duncan grinned at them uncertainly, a lopsided, affectionate smile as he cocked his head to the side, studying them with interest.

"Are we?" Blair asked his partner, kissing Jim's chest, sucking the soft skin into his mouth.

Jim thought immediately of the night before and the strong bond he'd felt, holding Duncan in his arms as Blair entered him. "No, Mac, don't go. Come over here, lay down with us. Did you have a good workout?"

"Yeah, great, actually. Thanks." Duncan nodded, smiling as he came to stand on Jim's side of the bed. His muscles were pumped and hard from the long kata, and his skin shone with sweat. "You two look very yummy." Duncan leered, his gaze moving slowly over their taut bodies. "But I stink like a horse, let me take a shower first."

"Hurry up." Jim told him, grinning up at Duncan when he chuckled in agreement.

"I will."

Duncan disappeared into Jim's bathroom, the sound of the shower spray following almost immediately. Jim found himself tuning in to Duncan, listening to him take off his clothes and step under the water, remembering the way they'd woken up together.

"You with me, partner?" Blair's gentle mumble broke painlessly into his concentration, as his hands came up to touch his face.

"Yeah, now, definitely. I was just listening to him getting into the shower."

"That's cool." Blair gave his Sentinel a brilliant smile, pulling his face towards him for a long, exploratory kiss.

When they finally parted, tongues moving reluctantly back into their own mouths, Jim shifted on his side, sliding down about a foot before resettling against Blair, half covering him with his body. Blair sighed, wrapping his arm around Jim's shoulders. Jim's mouth covered the center of his Guide's chest, his lips slowly mapping the bones, following the contours of muscles and breastplate. Blair lay totally relaxed beneath him, sighing and groaning quietly in completely abandoned pleasure.

For the first time, Jim had the thought that having sex with his Guide was a totally spiritual experience, and it seemed as though a little piece of the puzzle clicked into place. He came to rest where he'd started his exploration, in the center of Blair's chest, his cheek fit comfortably into the hollow at the top of his ribcage.

The silence was soft, thick with the sound of their matched breath, and the soothing sound of water on tile from the bathroom. They lay perfectly still for several minutes, communicating through touch. Blair's hand came up to cover Jim's cheek with his palm, holding his head against his chest.

For Jim, it was the touch that broke down all the barriers. He felt as if the floodgates had been opened, and love and protection washed over him, enveloping him in safety and comfort. It was totally unlike any other gesture of affection, any touch he'd ever experienced. The way Blair's warm hand fit to his cheek and the curve of his jaw, holding him against his chest, where his heartbeat lulled him into a state of peace so perfect that tears came to his eyes.

"Me too, Jim," Blair whispered, very quietly.

"What, Chief?" Jim's lips moved over Blair's skin, his cheek rubbing lightly back and forth over the silky hairs.

"It's perfect, now. I can feel your peace. I can feel your spirit inside me."

Jim turned his face into his Guide's chest, wet now from the tears leaking from the corners of his eyes. When he could take a slow, steady breath, he whispered back, "Your strength," knowing Blair would understand that he felt it too.

Blair moved slowly, turning towards Jim to wrap his arms and legs around his Sentinel's curled body, pressing hot, moist kisses to his temples. They both heard the shower shut off, and moved slowly to find each other's lips, sealing their mouths together. The simple act communicating more than either of them would be able to with words.

Duncan came to them naked, his footsteps almost silent, even to Jim's sensitive ears. He stopped next to the bed on Jim's side, a tender expression of approval in his dark eyes. His gaze moved slowly over their intertwined bodies, the smooth definition of muscle and the graceful curves of their bodies. They looked as if they were touching at every point they possibly could, skin pressed to skin, Blair's upper body curved around Jim's shoulders, the larger man's head tucked into the side of his neck. He could almost feel the connection between them, the energy radiating in the stillness of their bodies, the completeness of their joining.

"Make room for Duncan," Blair whispered, nudging Jim over a little to make room on the bed.

Jim rumbled a happy sound of assent against his chest, and pulled Blair with him when he moved.

"No, don't. You're too beautiful to interrupt. Just stay like that, you both look so happy. I just want to sit here with you and watch you make love. Is that all right?" Duncan's voice was hushed, conscious of the peaceful silence that seemed to fill the room.

Jim looked up at him over Blair's shoulder, his eyes bright and crinkled, his expression more relaxed and open than Duncan had ever seen it.

"I think that would be wonderful, Mac. Stay with us."

Duncan murmured agreement, settling at the foot of the bed, his legs folded beneath him. He sat still, feeling his cock swell to fullness as Jim moved slowly down Blair's body, licking him with long strokes of his tongue and rubbing his cheek slowly over Blair's skin. His lover was humming deep in his chest, his hands holding the back of Jim's head.

In all his four hundred years, Duncan had never seen two people so attuned to each other. He watched in awe as Jim worshipped Blair with his body, the strokes of his tongue across Blair's skin seemed to be a blessing, or a supplication. There was such reverence in their touches...

Duncan sat stock still, holding his breath as he watched Blair move under Jim's tongue, his hum growing louder. As Jim slid lower and lower down Blair's body, Duncan sympathized with Blair's growing urgency. His pitch rose as he writhed under Jim's strong hands.

Duncan's hand moved slowly to encircle his hard shaft, holding himself without moving as Jim's mouth closed over the flushed, slick head of his lover's cock, his hands holding the narrow hips up to his mouth.

"Jim. Yours, all yours, man. Ahh." Blair's back arched high off the sheets as he moaned, his hands groping for Jim's shoulders.

Duncan felt a shiver run up his spine as he watched them meld together, Blair's body curving sharply under Jim to push all the way into his mouth, his legs coming up to wrap around Jim's thighs. What he was witnessing was so profoundly intimate that for a moment he thought that he should leave them. He was sure that neither of them was at all aware of his presence on the bed with them at this moment. He could slip off and let them have this magic alone. Jim's hand stopped him before he could move, one strong hand reaching behind him to grasp Duncan's wrist firmly, pushing his hand down on the bed.

Duncan's other hand tightened around his cock, feeling the hard grip of Jim's fingers spanning his wrist with his whole body. The touch made him tingle with excitement, enflamed by Blair's groans of ecstasy. Duncan stroked his cock slowly, not moving when Jim's hand released his wrist to return to Blair's hips, supporting his weight as his Guide began to writhe in helpless pleasure.

"Oh my God, that's so good... I have to move, I have to feel you. Mmm, Oh yeah, more."

Duncan found himself awed by Jim's total surrender to Blair's penetration, his body curved over Blair protectively, one arm under his back, supporting his movements. His head was tucked in to take the hard cock as deeply into his throat as Blair pushed. Duncan watched, enthralled, as Blair's hips arched high off the bed, pushing himself hard against the lips that stretched to receive him. He buried himself in Jim's mouth, until Duncan could see the pressure against the muscles in Jim's neck as Jim's face was pressed tightly to Blair's groin. One of Blair's hands curved around the back of his neck, holding him there.

Duncan wasn't able to surpress the groan of vicarious pleasure, his memory supplying the sensation of Jim's hot mouth sealed around his cock. Blair's eyes were tightly closed, his breath coming in loud, labored gasps as he thrust steadily into Jim's throat, a hot flush spreading over his neck and the top of his chest.

Blair's moans turned into howls and sobs as his body jerked violently under Jim's, his hands digging into strong shoulders. He came with his head thrown back, shuddering and thrusting into Jim's slack mouth. Jim's arms wrapped tightly around Blair's waist, gripping his Guide with bruising force as he swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing in his throat. Instead of releasing him, Jim drew Blair's cock back into his mouth, nuzzling into Blair's groin, groaning deep in his chest. Blair curled around him, his body still shaking with the aftershocks of his orgasm.

Jim's hands stroked Blair's back and sides lightly, calming him. Slowly, Jim pulled his mouth from Blair's cock. As he did, they let out a soft sigh of contentment, both of them exhaling together. Jim brought his face up to Blair's and they held still, staring into each other's eyes for long minutes.

Duncan felt the silent communication that was going on between them, but he wasn't sure of the meaning. He watched as Jim took a limp but lucid Blair in his arms and turned the smaller man onto his stomach.

"I love you," Blair whispered, flattening himself against the sheets, his cheek pressed to the bed, his hair falling over his face.

Jim stretched out on top of him, his arms reaching out to cover Blair's, spread out towards the edges of the bed. Jim's mouth pushed the long curls out of his way until he found skin, biting and sucking at the back of Blair's neck.

Blair groaned quietly, a sound of acknowledgment and assent. Duncan imagined the suction of Jim's mouth and the dark welt he would leave, as he pumped his cock hard in his palm. Jim was thrusting against the lithe body beneath him, his muscular ass cheeks clenching as he dragged his cock up and down over Blair's flesh, his hips rocking slowly against his lover trapped beneath him.

"Yeah, oh yeah. Oh God, Jim, that feels so good. Mmm, lube? Duncan? Could you help?" Blair mumbled, his head twisted sideways against the sheets.

"Yeah, of course, I'd be glad to," Duncan answered after a moment, clearing his throat. He moved off the bed to go around to the nightstand on the other side, finding the tube of lubricant and bringing it back with him to his place at the corner of the mattress. Opening the plastic cap, he squeezed a large dollop of the jelly into his palm, warming it before moving up to kneel next to Jim.

"I'm afraid I'm going to hurt him." Jim whispered, his eyes searching Duncan's, asking for reassurance.

"Don't be, you won't. Duncan's hand moved between them, stroking Jim's stiff cock slowly, making sure to spread a thick coating of the slick lube over his skin. "Just enter him as slowly as you can, relax, let him guide you." Duncan's deep voice was calm and steady in the silence, his other hand reaching for Jim's neck to pull him in for a gentle kiss. Jim groaned over his mouth, his tongue reaching to taste him before he pulled away, laying down over his Guide once more.

"Ahh, Jim," Blair moaned softly, arching back against the warm press of Jim's chest and stomach on top of him. He was totally relaxed, his cock gradually growing full again as Jim slid slowly between his cheeks, the feeling of his hot, hard cock against his skin spreading fire over his sensitized nerves.

"I want to be part of you," Jim whispered in his ear, his mouth searching out the place at the base of his neck where he would shake with uncontrollable pleasure when bitten.

"Oh man, yeah, oh Jim, please," Blair cried out, arching beneath him.

Jim's hand moved to guide his slick cock against Blair's hole, holding himself there for a moment, trying to get a measure of control on his senses before he pushed inside him.

"Nice and slow, mmm, oh God." Blair sighed, his cock grinding slowly against the mattress. Hot pulses of pleasure were shooting over his nerves, his blood beating hard in his veins. Blair inhaled a great, gasping breath, exhaling in a controlled rush as Jim angled his cock against the entrance to his body. He waited, totally relaxed, his toes curling in expectation of the satisfaction to come. Suddenly, a feeling of dread spread through him, a sickening pit forming deep in his stomach. His cock trembled and faltered, as he felt Jim stiffen on top of him. A cold chill ran through him. Out of nowhere, he was suddenly afraid, his whole body denying the penetration that was about to happen.

"Blair... I can't." Blair felt Jim's shudder as if it went straight from his Sentinel's body into his own, and he struggled to roll over onto his back beneath him, his arms reaching up to wrap around Jim's wide shoulders.

"I know, me too. It's okay, shhh, it's okay. I don't know. Why does it feel like that? Scary, bad, just like, total instinctual imperative, going no, don't do that. You feel it too, huh? Okay, it's okay, we'll figure it out. Come on, calm down, everything's okay, you didn't do anything wrong, Jim, I promise. It's alright."

Blair wrapped himself around his trembling partner, his hands holding Jim's head possessively to his shoulder. "It's all right, it's my fault, I'm sorry. I don't think we were ready for that, big guy, it's okay."

Jim took a deep, unsteady breath, nodding against Blair's warm skin. "I just couldn't, it was wrong. I don't know why. I'm sorry, I wanted to..."

"Duncan? Come here?" Blair asked softly, raising his head to meet his lover's worried eyes over Jim in his arms.

Duncan moved quickly, crawling around them to lay down on Jim's other side, enfolding the larger man in his embrace.

"Thank you." Jim whispered from his place between them, pushing his face into Blair's chest. His muscles finally relaxed, grateful for Duncan's comforting bulk against his back.

"Shh, just relax," Duncan murmured, reaching to press his lips to Jim's cheek. He hugged him hard, smiling reassurance to his lover over Jim's shoulder.

"I'm a little confused, but I think maybe we sorta overloaded on the intensity there. Are you okay?" Blair's hand pushed Jim's head back gently from his chest to look at him, concern in his wide blue eyes.

"Yeah, I'm sorry. I don't know what happened. I guess that makes sense, overload," Jim answered him, shaking off the last of the shivers. "I'm okay."

"Good," Duncan whispered, but he didn't let go, his hands reaching for Blair to pull them both even closer.

Blair's fingertips stroked soothingly up and down Jim's arm, moving over his shoulders and back down again, tracing the lines and curves of his muscles. He was exhausted, and despite his reassurances to his Sentinel, he was disturbed by his body's violent rejection of the act of love they'd almost completed. It was upsetting, and unsettling, as well. He wanted to give his body to Jim, wanted to bond with him, with his body and his spirit, but it seemed that they weren't ready for that particular journey. Blair worried about what effect this failure between them would have on his Sentinel. Jim was breathing deeply, relaxed and sleepy and heavy on his chest.

"Are you okay, Caro?" Duncan's gentle voice broke the silence, and Jim's eyes drifted open again, his head craned back to look up at his Guide.

"Yeah, thanks. I'm okay, just trying to work it out in my head. I feel, I don't know, just confused I guess. Off kilter."

Jim's arm came up to slip under his, his hand sliding under him to spread out over his shoulder blade. It was reassuring, the way Jim tried to support him and protect him even in his sleep.

"Sleep well, I love you," Blair whispered, barely making any sound at all. Jim smiled, and rubbed his face against his chest.

Duncan's arm stretched out to touch Blair's face, two fingers rubbing gently at his temple. "Don't worry, love. Everything will be all right."

"That's what you always say." Blair voice expressed his pleasure, a smile spreading slowly over his tense features.

"I know, and I'm always right. Don't fret, Caro, you'll work it out."

"Yeah, you're right, I don't know, I just hate feeling clueless. Shaman insecurity." Blair laughed quietly, his fingers squeezing Duncan's back when his lover found his hand in the dark. They drifted off to sleep with Jim held securely between them, their fingers intertwined over his chest.

End Part 33

Part 34

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