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 34

By Zen&nancy

Blair was settled comfortably on the couch, his laptop lying on the cushion next to him. The screen was closed, but the power cord plugged in just in case he decided to work on something. There was a pot of tea keeping hot under a cozy, and a plate of oatmeal cookies within reach on the coffee table. His new video game machine was on the floor under the table, the cord for the controller stretched across the rug. Blair poured himself another cup of tea, and settled himself back into the corner of the couch. This was the life... playing Tekken before noon on a weekday.

"Man, do I love Christmas vacation!" He exclaimed to the empty loft as he picked up the playstation controller.

Duncan and Jim had left after breakfast to go shopping for a new gun for Jim. He was going to start working on the Seacouver P.D. next week, and he needed a new gun. Jim had even mentioned getting a new back up. Blair had been enthusiastic about the idea of a new backup, he wanted the little .38 that Jim has almost blown his head off with to stay exactly where it was, forgotten and wrapped in an old sweatshirt in the back of his closet. Duncan had agreed, saying it would be good to "start fresh".

Blair wanted no part in the gun shopping, it seemed a long, boring way to waste a day, watching Jim debate carefully over a dozen different weapons. Instead he'd decided to make a large pot of tea and take advantage of the time with the loft to himself to try out his new playstation games. He was still extremely apprehensive about Jim being a cop again, and the distraction of the fantasy fighting game was welcome.

Blair was a long way from convinced that Jim was ready to take up Sentinel duty for the entire city of Seacouver without him. Neither was he looking forward to being drawn back into the world of police work. Even without the observer status, Blair knew that it was unavoidable. Where Jim was, he would be, and what Jim felt and experienced, he would share a part of. Blair had spent a good amount of time lately questioning whether his aversion to the idea of Jim going back on the force was out of concern for his Sentinel's safety, or his own distaste with the stress and the ugliness of Jim's world.

Three hard raps against the elevator shaft startled Blair in the middle of a fighting match, and he quickly put his game on pause before his computer opponent could get in another hit. Getting up, he trotted to the lift, called down, "Who is it?"

"Adam Pierson. May I come up?"

Blair unlocked the lift and sent it down, "Sure, c'mon up, but Duncan isn't here. He's out with Jim," Blair finished as the elevator came to a stop. Adam was inside, a slight smile hovering on his face.

"Hi. Duncan's not here?" Adam looked around the loft uncertainly, making no move to enter.

"No, they went shopping. C'mon in, though. Duncan and Jim should be back in an hour or two, you're welcome to wait for him."

"Um, alright." Adam nodded gravely, following Blair into the loft.

Blair told himself sternly not to be nervous, that there was no reason to be insecure around Adam. Maybe if he could get the guy talking he would be able to get some sort of clear picture of him, and stop feeling so off-kilter in Adam's company.

"You were playing Tekken?"

Blair went into the kitchen, motioning Adam to take a seat. "Yeah, you know, house to myself and all. Can I offer you a cup of tea?"

"Thanks, that would be good. It must be a rare occasion."

Blair laughed, finding that he didn't have to try to cover up any annoyance over Adam's blatant observation about their living situation, maybe he was getting used to him. Duncan had promised that he would.

"Actually, they both spend a lot of time downstairs, in the dojo, so I do get the occasional hour to myself, but yeah, it's still rare enough to be appreciated." Blair smiled, coming back from the kitchen with a mug to pour Adam a cup of tea.

"So are you enjoying yours?" Blair asked, nodding to the play station.

Adam blushed very slightly, shaking his head. "You know, I haven't had time to hook it up yet."

"Want to play?" Blair offered Adam the second controller, hitting the reset button when it was accepted. "Pick your player."

"I'll take Yoshimitsu, he looks like a strong fighter." Adam smiled, pressing the "b" button on his controller to select the character as Blair instructed.

"According to the manual, you're a ninja from outer space, also the head of a world theft ring that steals only from people who profit from dishonest activities." Blair read the short description of the half mechanical half human ninja to Adam, laughing at his reaction.

"I'm a ninja Robin Hood?"

"Could be worse. I'm a "hot blooded American fighter." Blair grinned at his opponent widely, resettling on the couch with one leg folded underneath him to play.

Blair won the first several rounds, but once Methos got the hang of the game they were more evenly matched. After his second win, Methos tossed his controller down, raising his arm over his head for a long stretch.

"That is extremely enjoyable. Thank you."

"Thank you, it's a lot more fun to play with someone else than just against the computer."

"You should make Duncan play, tell him it's good practice."

It took a second for Blair to get the joke, but when he did, he laughed hard, falling back against the couch.

"You don't fight much, do you?" Blair asked seriously, when he'd regained his composure.

Adam didn't look surprised by his question. He shrugged, looking around the loft. "I fight as little as possible."

"Is that why you've survived so long?" Blair leaned forward to pour them each a last cup of tea.

Lines creased the thin skin around Adam's eyes as he squinted at Blair, his expression unreadable. "And how old do you think I am, Blair?"

Blair shook his head, annoyed with himself for asking the wrong question. He'd obviously put the canny Adam on the defensive. He was touchy; Blair decided that he would have to be even more careful extracting information from Adam than he was with Jim.

"I have no idea. Honestly, Duncan's never said. He hasn't really told me anything about you, no stories, no historical facts. He pretty much made it clear that he'd given you his word, and that telling me about you would be breaking it, so I don't have any data to formulate an opinion with. I think you're older than Duncan, though, by a lot. Maybe hundreds of years."

Blair watched Adam considering his answer, trying to find some sort of reaction in the unreadable hazel eyes. Finally, Adam reached for his tea, leaning back into his corner of the couch, one leg crossed on his thigh. "I am older than you could conceivably imagine, even a student of anthropology, and that is information that it displeases me to reveal to anyone, so it would be a very good idea to keep it entirely to yourself."

"I know how to keep a secret." Blair assured him confidently, getting the feeling that Adam had given him a straight answer not so much because he wanted to, but because he saw it as an inevitability that Blair would learn more about him.

"Until that secret becomes a dissertation and that makes you famous in your field."

"Famous is a major exaggeration. It laid the foundation for what I hope will be a decent reputation, which is a hell of a lot more than my teacher got."

"Yes, Burton, they did laugh at him, didn't they?"

"He was ridiculed to the point of being made a laughing stock. These days the entire body of his work is virtually forgotten. I hope that what Jim and I were able to document together may return some credibility to his studies." Blair cocked his head at Adam, a wary expression coming over his features. "You read it, didn't you?"

"Yes, actually, I did." Adam didn't look in the least uncomfortable, but Blair thought that he might have surprised him.

"Why?" Blair wasn't sure if he was upset, flattered, or just plain flabbergasted. He was able to count on one hand the number of people outside his colleagues and professors at Rainier who has read his dissertation. Jim wasn't even one of them, although Duncan was.

"Well, let's just say I make it my business to understand the people who get close to MacLeod. Sometimes he needs a bit of looking after."

"Okay. I guess. Did I pass?" Blair faced Adam directly, feeling a great deal more confident now that they'd gotten the real issue out on the table.

"Mac's romantic choices aren't my responsibility. I was just... curious."

Blair thought about that for a moment, and took a chance with his next question. "Do you always do background checks on Mac's new lovers?"

"As I said, I make it my business to know who his friends are. However, jealousy is not my prime motivating factor. You don't have to worry about it, Blair, I'm not going to try and take him away from you."

"That's good. I wouldn't let you, anyway. I'm going to love Duncan for as long as I possibly can, every year I get."

Methos smiled, nodding solemnly in agreement. "I hope it will be a long time."

"Thanks. Can I ask you how you met Duncan? How long you guys go back?

Adam frowned, shrugging his shoulders. "Not very long at all. Four years, or thereabouts. I think it's fair to say we met by mistake. Duncan was looking for someone, and I decided to let him find me instead. He was fighting an Immortal named Kalas, who killed a very close friend of mine. He killed one of Duncan's oldest friends, as well, but Mac won the final confrontation."

"He took his head?"

"Yes." Methos picked up his controller and set it on the coffee table, obviously ready to change the subject. Blair decided that they had talked about Immortals enough, perhaps it was time to see if Adam would be as willing to talk about Sentinels.

"When we met, you gave me reason to believe that you've had personal experiences with Sentinels. I'd really like to ask you about that..."

"Yes, I'm sure you would." There was a mischievous gleam in Adam's eyes, but finally, he relented. "What is it that you want to know? You've already written the handbook on the everyday care and feeding of a modern Sentinel, haven't you?"

Blair made himself laugh, refusing to take offense. Adam was prickly; he was beginning to see what Duncan meant when he said that. In order to learn anything from him one had to take the risk of getting pricked by those thorns, and possibly, it wasn't an entirely unfriendly process after all. Adam's gift for verbal sparring reminded him of some of his own defense mechanisms.

"I've spent the last five years of my life trying to study him, yes, but it's entirely possible that you've spent whole lifetimes with Sentinels in different cultures, that you have knowledge of Sentinels that I'll never get from any other source."

"That's true. Well, we'll have to talk about that sometime, won't we?" Adam gave him an innocent smile, light eyes laughing at Blair's frustration.

"Okay, sometime would be good. Today would be better, but if you're going to stick around for awhile I guess I can live with sometime."

Adam shrugged, noncommittally. "I may, for awhile."

"I know that would make Duncan happy, he really values your friendship, Adam."

Blair wasn't surprised when his guest frowned, looking quickly away. "It's been tested a great deal of late. I suppose we'll have to see what's left." His tone of voice implied that he might not have much faith in what had been there in the first place.

"I'm sure there's something left," Blair told him softly, getting up to take the teapot and their empty cups into the kitchen, to leave in the sink.

While he was there, Adam took the CD they'd been playing out of the player, choosing another from the stack of plastic cases. "Can we play this Odd world next? It looks really interesting."

"Oh yeah, it's great, man, really wicked. Pop it in, I'll be right there."

"Have you decided yet?" Duncan came up to Jim at the counter, smiling at his negative shake of the head.

"No, I'm still not sure." Jim turned back to the man at the counter. "Could I see the Ruger again please, sir?"

"Sure, no problem." The man flipped through his ring of small keys, walking a few cases down to unlock the one he wanted.

"I'm sorry, Mac. I'll make up my mind soon." Jim smiled apologetically at Duncan, who had been incredibly patient with his careful deliberation, helping him weigh the merits and possible faults of each weapon.

"Don't worry about it, we can spend all day here if you need to, we don't have to do anything else. So long as you get something you're satisfied with."

"Good advice." Jim's lips quirked into a conspiratorial little half smile, and Duncan grinned back, checking the urge to throw his arm around Jim's shoulder. The gun store probably wasn't the smartest place to display his affection.

Jim took a long time looking at the Ruger, asking the gunsmith several questions about the stock and ammunition choices. He held the gun, pointed politely down towards the counter, squatting down to sight down the barrel.

"If you'd like to shoot it before you buy, there's a range in the back." The gun dealer raised his eyebrows at them, waiting patiently until Jim finally shook his head. "No, I've decided. I'll take the Smith and Wesson .45, the law enforcement issue. Three boxes of regulation shells, also. Here's my Concealed Weapons Permit and my Cascade P.D. identification card. Is there anything else you need?"

"I'll need proof of residency in the state, and there's a twenty four hour waiting period. You can pay for it today and we'll call you when the check comes back. Should be by four p.m. tomorrow."

"That'll be fine." Jim handed over his new Seacouver driver's license and his credit card, waiting while the gun dealer filled out the paper work. Duncan was at the front of the store, talking to a young man behind the counter there. Jim saw him smile at the clerk, leaning over to speak near his ear, and wondered what he was up to. He was about to give in to the temptation to listen in and find out when the man behind the counter came back with the paperwork to be completed, offering him a pen.

"Here to go, buddy. Excellent choice. You just coming on the force here?"

"Yes sir, next Monday. I worked as a detective in Cascade for several years."

"Well we're damn glad you to have you, and glad to have your business. Here's your credit card back, Mr. Ellison. Give me just a moment and we'll have you a receipt to sign."

"Thank you, I'm very happy with it, good price, too." Jim was happy, he was very excited about his new weapon, almost in spite of himself. He knew when he came home all hyped up over his purchase Blair would tease him, tell him he was like a kid in a toy store. The trouble was, he was right.

Duncan came back to him just as they were finishing up the paper work. The gun dealer gave Jim his copy, reminding him that they would call him tomorrow when the weapon would be available for him to pick up.

"Thanks again, I'll see you tomorrow." Jim smiled, offering his hand to the man who has just sold him his new gun.

Duncan followed him out of the store, very happy with the secret purchase he'd made. Jim had looked at several compacts to replace the one that Blair had taken out of the loft in Cascade, but had ended up buying the .45 he would carry in the holster he wore around his waist, instead. His service weapon from his days in Cascade wasn't suitable for the Seacouver P.D. Jim had explained that although the Seacouver officers had to supply their own weapons, just as they did in Cascade, Seacouver had different guidelines and requirements for what sort of weapon they allowed their officers to carry.

He'd looked at the compacts, but the only one he liked was a gun by an Austrian maker, and when Jim had seen the price tag he'd pushed it reluctantly back across the counter, shaking his head. Duncan had managed to purchase it while Jim had been occupied filling out his own paperwork, and with some help from the clerk, it would be waiting for him tomorrow when he went to pick up his forty-five, already registered to Jim's name.

In the truck, Jim leaned across the bench seat to give Mac a quick, hard hug. "Thanks for coming with me today, Duncan. It was great to have the company."

"No problem, I enjoyed it. We'd better get back to the loft, though. I think Adam was going to come by and take me to lunch today. I don't want him to think I'm avoiding him."

"You know something? I think that's the very first time I've ever heard you worry about what somebody thinks about you. What is it with this guy, Mac?" Jim's tone of voice was imploring, a touch of fear in the blue eyes that moved questioningly over Duncan's.

"It's not that. It's just that I've put so much strain on our friendship in the past, I don't want to do any more damage before I have the chance to try to make things right." Duncan's hand reached out to squeeze Jim's thigh reassuringly, wanting to take away the doubt he could feel in Jim's worried look.

"What do you think it will take to make things right between you two?" Jim glanced across at Duncan every time traffic gave him the opportunity.

"Maybe just time. I really don't know. I can't give him an apology if he won't accept it, and he won't. Nothing is ever that simple with Adam."

"Well, it's your call. At least you have the chance, right?"

"Yeah, you're right." Duncan smiled widely at Jim across the cab. He felt better, although Jim hadn't told anything he didn't already know. Maybe time was the only thing that would mend their friendship.

Blair and Methos were still on the couch when Jim and Duncan came home. They were deeply engrossed in Odd world's realm, and had switched from tea to beer, with ham sandwiches to facilitate the transition.

Methos watched deep relief turn to welcome on Duncan's face as he entered. He smiled, nodding to Mac when Blair paused their game, getting up to greet his house mates. "Glad to see me, Mac?"

Duncan laughed, "Yes, and glad it's not anyone else dropping by, too."

"Duncan's paranoid," Blair informed Adam, grinning at him over Duncan's shoulder as he collected his hugs.

"Have you been here long?" Duncan asked, taking off his coat and hanging it on the coat rack.

"All afternoon, and I've enjoyed myself tremendously." Methos smiled at Blair, who nodded enthusiastically in agreement.

"Oh yeah, we had a real slacker afternoon, drank beer and played Odd world." Blair laughed, wrapping one arm casually around Jim's back. "Thanks for the company, Adam. You'll have to come back and help me figure that maze out when you've got some time."

"I certainly will. Tonight, though, I'm going to take Duncan away from you two, if you'll let me."

"Where?" Jim demanded shortly, not liking Adam's mocking tone of voice.

"Just out to dinner, for his birthday," Methos returned calmly, smiling at Duncan across the room. "Are you in the mood for seafood, Mac? Joe told me about a new place on the waterfront that's supposed to be spectacular."

"Seafood sounds great, I'm starving. Kiss me, Caro?" Duncan asked, reaching for his coat again.

"Have fun." Blair told him, squeezing his lover hard around the waist, hanging on for a moment to let him know he'd be missed.

"I'll see you tonight," Duncan murmured in his ear, pressing a quick kiss to Blair's neck before he was released.

"Have a good time, Mac. Nice to see you again, Adam." Jim made a serious effort, and was pleased when his words came out sounding totally sincere.

"And you, Ellison," Methos nodded, giving the Sentinel a small, tight smile.

Duncan and Methos left the loft discussing who should drive, their voices drifting out of hearing distance for Blair as the lift took them down to the first floor.

"No eavesdropping," Blair murmured softly, grinning at Jim when he shook his head, only making a half hearted attempt to deny it.

"I'm worried about him, Chief. I know it means a hell of a lot to Mac to keep this guy's friendship."

Blair sighed heavily, going over to the video game to put it away. "I know."

"Do you know why?" Jim asked abruptly, and Blair turned back to him, surprised by the question. It was totally unlike Jim, he sounded... insecure.

"Not really, but that's not a problem with me." Blair kept his tone light, waiting to see if Jim would continue the discussion.

"Of course it's not a problem. So, did you have a good day?" Jim went to the kitchen, getting himself a soda from the fridge and coming back to sit next to his Guide.

"Oh yeah, great. I actually enjoyed his company. Did you buy a gun?"

Jim nodded, a wide smile of satisfaction spreading over his face. "Yep. Another Smith and Wesson. It's a damn good gun."

"Okay, Army guy, whatever you say. I thought the Germans made the best guns."

"No, the Germans make the most expensive guns." Jim laughed, enjoying Blair's teasing.

"Listen, Jim, I was wondering if maybe I could ask something of you on this gun issue..." Blair looked nervously around the room, twisting his hands in his lap.

"What do want, Chief?" Jim frowned, already getting the feeling that he wasn't going to like it, but was probably going to have to say yes anyway.

"I, um, I was wondering if it would be okay to have a no guns in the loft rule? I really don't want to live with a gun in my house. I mean, if it's not going to be a big hassle..."

"It's fine." Jim answered shortly, cutting him off. It really wasn't a big deal, but the fact that Blair still felt that way upset him. It brought up all kinds of irrational anger that Jim had to remind himself he didn't want to feel. "If you're going to be upset about it."

"I know, it's stupid. I mean, I still have your holdout in the bottom of my closet."

"I'll take it back." Jim told him firmly, watching his Guide with barely concealed annoyance. It wasn't rational, to take Blair's feelings about guns personally, but somehow it still felt like Blair was rejecting him, not his weapon.

"Yeah, I guess that would be a good idea. So, what kind of hours are you going to be pulling?" Blair changed the subject, sensitive to Jim's displeasure. It had gone better than he'd expected, at least Jim had agreed without an argument.

"I don't know yet. I have this all day orientation thing Monday where they throw me around from one person to the next, walk me all over the station, then I have a meeting with the Captain in the afternoon. You know how it is though, Chief. The department doesn't make out your schedule, the bad guys do."

"Yeah, I know," Blair agreed quietly, a far off look in his eyes. He was remembering days, weeks, without sleep, sleeping in elevators, in the truck with the siren blaring, in between lectures in the student lounge.

"I should have a better idea after that."

"After what?"

"My talk with the Captain. Earth to Sandburg. You still with me, Chief?"

"Yeah, right. I' sorry. I was just thinking..."

"About what?"

"Us." Blair's answer was barely spoken, Jim's sensitive ears turning up automatically to catch it.

"What about us, Chief?" Jim reached out to put a hand of his Guide's shoulder, not sure if he needed to reassure Blair or himself.

"Just about how much simpler life's been, here, with you and me. And what happened last night." Blair paused, sneaking a look at Jim, who had put his head down, staring at his hands in his lap. "I just don't want to screw this up, Jim. It's really important, and I'm afraid I'm dragging you into deeper waters than either of us can handle. Now you're going back on the force, and I guess I'm just freaking out, just realizing how much more danger you're putting yourself in. I don't know if I can handle it, now that..."

"Does it make a difference?" Jim asked, confused. For him, having everything right with Blair only made it easier to go back to the stress and the risks of the job. Hell, it made it possible. He couldn't understand how Blair was connecting him being a cop again and the two of them being together, and why it was a problem. His Guide got upset about the most abstract, irrational things. Why couldn't Blair wait until something bad happened to be unhappy?

"Of course it makes a difference!" Blair's eyes flashed hurt and anger, and Jim felt frustration rise as he struggled to understand what he'd said wrong. Obviously, his Guide was three steps ahead of him, and taking all kinds of offense over his confusion.

"How can you ask me if it makes a difference! I've shared my body with you, I've made love to you, and now you're going to go try and be super cop for the whole goddamn city again, and you expect me to deal with it the same as I did before. How the hell am I supposed to do that?"

Jim sighed heavily, moving closer to lay an arm across Blair's shoulders. "Chief... I don't know what to tell you. For me, it just makes me stronger. To have everything right between us, to have you and Duncan. I'll be careful, Blair, I promise."

Blair nodded, but his jaw was clenched tight. "Yeah, I know. But you can't promise me that you're not going to get shot, that some crazy motherfucker isn't going to get lucky, take you down, blow you up, drown you, whatever. You're addicted to it, the danger, the save the world thing. I mean, I know, it's a part of you, it's your instincts, your nature. I know better than anybody, and I know what that means, what kind of situations that's going to put you in. And I'm not going to be there, Jim. I'm not going to be there to call for fucking backup, I'm not going to be there to pull you out when you zone!"

"Hey, hey, what's this "when" stuff, Chief? Have a little faith in me, huh? Can't I at least get an "if"?" Jim pulled his Guide closer, afraid of the intensity of the emotions coming out of Blair, but needing the contact in spite of his discomfort. "Look, I'm not some twenty-two year old hotshot, Chief. I've been doing this a long time, and I got an edge that no other cop in the city gets. Five of them."

Blair nodded, pulling out of Jim's embrace reluctantly. "Yeah, I know Jim, and I know it's something I just have to deal with. Cut me some slack, okay?" Blair took a deep breath, dragging his hands through his hair.

"Yeah, okay, Partner, I can do that." Jim gave Blair's shoulder one more reassuring squeeze. He didn't want his Guide to worry at all, but, that was asking for a miracle.

Blair got up quickly from the couch, changing the subject. "You hungry? I think I'm hungry again."

"No, I'm really not. Thanks, though." Jim shook his head, watching Blair go into the kitchen. After a moment, he followed him, standing directly behind his Guide. He stood and watched him rummage through the refrigerator, thinking about what Blair had said. Maybe they all just needed a little space. Mac was out with Adam, and Blair seemed content to sit around and play video games. When he thought about it, a little piece and quiet didn't sound bad.

He gave Blair's sides a squeeze and and a couple of reassuring pats as he spoke, "I think I'm gonna go downstairs for a while."

Blair turned around, concern showing in his expression. His eyebrows pulled together as he asked, "Are we okay, man?"

"Yeah, Sandburg, we're okay." He pulled Blair into a warm, soft hug. "Enjoy the R&R, I'll see you later.

Blair relaxed, relieved that Jim was all right. "Later Jim."

As soon as the door closed Blair realized he was relieved to be alone. As long as Jim really was okay, he planned on enjoying his solitude. He loved Jim and Duncan with all his soul, but everyone needed time to themselves. Turning back to the fridge he pulled out the makings for an elaborate salad.

Settled on the couch again, with salad, remote and laptop, Blair found it hard to relax. His thoughts kept returning to Jim, and the underlying tension between them. His reflections kept circling back to the night before, and the sudden, unexpected fear he'd felt lying under Jim, at a moment that should have been perfect. Why couldn't he give his Sentinel his body, as he'd given him his spirit? He'd wanted to, more than anything, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, it had felt terribly wrong. He'd been very close to real panic when Jim had pulled away, just as upset as he was.

"I'm going to figure this out, man, one way or another." Blair spoke aloud to the empty house, flopping down on the couch to stare at the ceiling. He closed his eyes, wondering how a day of doing absolutely nothing could have worn him out this much. He was asleep within five minutes.

Duncan came home a little after ten to a quiet house. His lover was asleep on his back on the couch, his laptop still open and running on the coffee table. Duncan slipped his coat off, hanging on it the standing rack and moving quietly to the couch. He moved the ball mouse to save Blair's work before suspending the machine, closing the screen gently when it went dark.

"Huh? Hi. I fell asleep?" Squinted blue eyes smiled up at him as Blair turned onto his side, moving back against the couch to make room for Duncan to sit with him.

"Apparently so." Duncan sat in the spot Blair made for him and leaned down to kiss his forehead. "Did you have a good day?"

Blair sighed and turned into his hand when Duncan's fingers fought their way through his curls and found his scalp. He scratched lightly over Blair's scalp before beginning a massage, jostling Blair's curls.

"Hmm, yeah, not a bad day. Kinda weird. How about you? Have a nice dinner with Adam?"

Duncan smiled, nodding, as he leaned down to take the soft, sleepy mouth, kissing his lover with slow, coaxing pressure, opening Blair's mouth wide, taking full advantage of his leverage. Duncan pulled Blair firmly into his arms, laying him across his lap on his back, his arms underneath him to hold Blair's mouth up for his kiss.

"Mmm, you can wake me up anytime, lover," Blair sighed happily, squirming his way onto his side to get a little closer. "I missed you today."

"Me too." Duncan settled deeper into the couch as Blair scooted down a little and snuggled against him. Duncan slipped his arm under the relaxed, sleepy body and pulled Blair against him, enjoying the warmth, and Blair's sweet smell.

"Mmm, you feel good." Blair burrowed his head into the crook of Duncan's neck. "You smell good, too."

"I was just thinking the same thing about you." Duncan chuckled. "You are so wonderful to come home to."

Duncan hugged Blair close, finding the warm, relaxed body of his half awake lover irritable. "So, what was weird? Troubles with Jim?"

Blair smiled, pushing his face into Duncan's neck. "How'd you guess? You getting psychic on me, handsome?"

Duncan smoothed back the long curls, brushing the hair away from Blair's face. "No, but I like to think I know the love of my life well enough to know when he's stressed out." Duncan paused to press a kiss to Blair's temple, continuing in a more teasing tone. "And, fond as I am of a certain Sentinel that lives downstairs, he's just about the only possible source of Blair stress on Christmas break."

Blair laughed, and Duncan felt as if he had won a prize. His lover sat up in his embrace, scooting off his lap to kneel beside him, wrapping both arms around his neck. "Duncan?"

"What is it, Caro?" Duncan's hands came up to hold Blair's hips, letting himself be pushed back into the couch by his lover's weight.

"What do you think about what happened with me and Jim last night?" Blair's whisper was a hesitant sound in his ear.

Duncan smiled, thinking how glad he was that his lover was as young as he was, and that he could hope to have him for many, many years to come. Sometimes he forgot, how young Blair really was. It was easy to do. Blair took years of knowledge and study of human nature and made it a part of him, so that to Duncan, he often seemed far more experienced in the ways of men and the world than he really was.

"I think, that those kinds of little bumps in the road happen quite often when people are brave enough to be honest with each other in bed, and that it will work itself out one way or another. Either you'll talk about it until you both understand what happened and you feel more comfortable with the idea, or, it will happen all by itself when the time is right, and you won't have to. Either way, everything will be all right. Don't let yourself worry about it, okay?"

Blair sat unusually still, looking just beyond Duncan, obviously thinking over what he'd said. "It seems so simple when you put it that way, and it makes sense. I know I can blow things out of proportion sometimes."

"Only because you are so passionate about the people you love." Duncan ran his thumb over Blair's stubbled cheek.

Blair laughed self consciously, but he nodded in agreement, turning his face into Duncan's calloused hand. "I didn't shave today, I was lazy."

Duncan chuckled, leaning close to rub his cheek against Blair's. "I don't care."

He proved his statement true as he nuzzled Blair's face gently, tracing Blair's jaw line and cheekbones with his lips, cheek and nose. Blair returned the soft touches, his fingers skimming Duncan's face. Finally their lips met, a familiar duel waged in a very friendly manner as their tongues wrapped around each other, chasing back and forth over teeth and gums until they had to call it a draw and come up for air.

"Oh man, I love you so much. Could you maybe just kiss me like that till morning?" Blair laughed low in his throat, a sexy, happy sound, and draped himself over Duncan's upper body, leaning over him to nibble on the back of his neck.

Duncan grabbed Blair quickly and firmly, and rolled them onto their sides. Blair was laughing as he hit the cushions, his legs flying up, and Duncan pinning him down.

"You only want to kiss?" Duncan teased, as he fought with the buttons of Blair's shirt, finally giving up and pulling it over his head. The jeans were more difficult, but after a short struggle and some help from his lover they too were tossed over the back of the couch and forgotten.

"No way. More, lots more." He demonstrated by wrapping his legs around Duncan's as soon as they were free of the unwanted clothing, pulling their groins together. A wicked glint in his eye was the only warning before he attached his mouth to Duncan's neck and began sucking. Duncan moaned and rocked into the heat between Blair's legs. His hands were busy pushing the cotton boxers off Blair's hips, managing to lift his hips to pull them off while Blair attacked his throat.

Duncan felt blood rushing to his neck as Blair sucked harder, small teeth gnawing lightly, making a feast of his flesh. Duncan didn't try to hold back the groan of pleasure as Blair's hot, demanding mouth moved slowly over his throat, finding the most sensitive spots to leave the impression of his teeth.

"Caro... Ahh, you have a very dangerous mouth." Duncan's gasp was interrupted by his lover's laughter.

"And you have a very edible body. How about we call it a night? I'm suddenly very, um, tired. I think we should go to bed."

Duncan chuckled, pulling them both up to a sitting position again. "Tired, huh? That's too bad."

"Mmm, I love it when you tease me," Blair purred, laughing when he was picked up halfway to the bed and tossed onto the mattress, bouncing hard.

"Let's see if we can wake you up a little," Duncan grinned, pulling his own shirt over his head and tossing it to the floor next to the bed. He watched Blair's eyes get glassy as he pulled his pants slowly down his hips, and stepped out of them.

"You are so beautiful." Blair crooned as Duncan slid in next to him under the blankets. "All this smooth, hard muscle. You give new meaning to the phrase, "Tall, dark, and handsome."

Duncan shook his head, smiling. It pleased him a great deal that his lover found his body so attractive. "And you, my heart, are absolutely irresistible."

Duncan fell down on top of Blair, covering his chest with quick, hungry, open mouthed kisses. "But- you taste, even better, than you look." The words were punctuated by gentle bites across his lover's pectorals.

"Mmm, Duncan..." Blair squirmed beneath him, hands sliding intimately up the backs of his thighs and over his ass, pulling their groins together hard. A satisfied little groan came out of Blair, as he thrust up beneath him, rubbing his cock against Duncan's with sensual little jerks of his hips.

"I am so crazy about you, handsome. I think I'd die without this. I love you so much..."

"Oh Blair." Duncan pulled the writhing body tightly against him, one hand at the back of Blair's head holding him pressed to his chest. He was hard as a rock, sweating and panting, and so overcome with love for the beautiful man in his arms that all he wanted to do was hold Blair as close he possibly could, to feel every part of him touching his body. "Stay with me, Caro, don't ever leave me..."

Duncan didn't realize he'd whispered the words out loud until Blair forced his way free to pull himself up to eye level, hands coming up to hold his face. "I won't, not without one hell of a fight. Not for years and years. I wish I could stay with you forever, Duncan. More than I've ever wanted anything..."

Glossy, dilated eyes held his with such love and intensity that Duncan was struck speechless, he could only hold Blair tighter, arms wrapped around his ribcage, wishing fervently that he had the power to make it possible. "I know, Caro, I know." He finally murmured, his arms loosening around the small, sturdy body pressed tightly against him.

Blair slid down on the bed, pressing soft, hot kisses to his stomach, licking him with long sweeps of his tongue. Pleasure shook him to the very core as Blair took him into his mouth and he was enveloped in the hot, wet, softness, devouring him so eagerly it took his breath away. "Blair."

"Yeah. You feel so good in my mouth. Relax, enjoy it, let me have you." Blair coaxed him onto his back, yanking a pillow under his head and arranging his limbs to his satisfaction before returning to his cock. "What a feast," Blair whispered, grinning up at him.

Duncan took Blair's advice and laid back into the pillow, all his muscles melting into the bed. Blair's mouth teased and coaxed, never giving Duncan one touch to focus on, licking and kissing up and down his cock.

"Oh God, that's good," Duncan groaned, giving himself up to the incredible pleasure of Blair's tongue. The soft mouth teased and nibbled at him relentlessly, until he was covered with sweat and straining towards the playful lips, begging for it. "Come on, Caro, don't tease, take me in your mouth again. Oh God... Mmm, Please? Just a little? Give me more, Blair, Ahhh."

Duncan cried out in pleasure as his lover granted his request, taking him deep in his throat. Blair made soft snuffling sounds of contentment as he slid slowly, almost painfully slowly, up and down his length. The heat, the gentle suction and the slow, slick glide of Blair's mouth put Duncan into a state of absolute bliss. Everything else disappeared and Duncan's world was reduced to where Blair's body and his were joined.

Duncan lay perfectly still, absorbing the incredible pleasure of Blair's mouth and listening his muffled moans until he had to have more. There was a growing intensity, a need to be closer, to be joined more deeply. He gently tugged on Blair's curls.

"Blair, wait." He gasped as Blair's teeth teased his sensitive head. "More, I need more of you."

His lover groaned deeply in agreement, quickly pulled his mouth from Duncan's cock and straddled his sweaty body. Looking up at him, Duncan saw such a great depths of love and desire in Blair's eyes that it was all he could do, to give himself up to Blair's passion completely. He felt Blair's hand reach back to grasp him, and he wanted to tell Blair that he held his heart, all of him, in his grip. The words formed in his mind, but all he could do was groan in pleasure as his lover's fist pumped him once, twice, before guiding him home.

Heat, painfully strong pressure, and then pleasure so complete he felt it not only in his groin, but throughout his entire body. Duncan kept his eyes open, taking as much pleasure from the sight of Blair's slow, sensual movements as the sensations his exquisitely slow grind provoked.

"Do you know what you do to me?" Duncan's harsh whisper broke the silence, as Blair rose slowly off his cock, arching his back and rocking very slightly on his knees.

"Mmm, yeah. I do. I know." Blair panted softly, looking directly into his eyes as he demonstrated his power, taking him back into his body in one long, smooth, drawn out motion, until he was completely buried inside him.

"Uhh, Blair," Duncan pulled himself up, clinging to Blair's shoulders. They faced one another, sitting up with arms and legs curling around each other's bodies.

"I know, me too." Blair leaned down and buried his face in Duncan's neck.

Blair rode him slowly, barely moving. He clenched and pulled in a slow, rocking motion, dragging out the pleasure so exquisitely that Duncan found himself clenching his teeth, ordering his body not to even think about orgasm. He clung to Blair's solid body, losing himself in his lover. They moved together, their voices blending as the rocking of Blair's hips increased in force and speed, drawing them closer and closer to completion.

"Oh-oh, Duncan, now."

As soon as the words had left Blair's mouth they both let go, moaning and shaking with pleasure. Waves of tremors rocked them, until they were left panting and hanging off of each other. Duncan felt Blair begin to pull back once their breathing had calmed, and his arms tightened around his lover, not able to release Blair yet.

"No, Caro, please, not yet." His words sounded raw in the quiet loft.

Blair stroked Duncan's hair, trying to calm the raging emotions they has stirred up. "Shh, it's okay, I'm not going anywhere till you're ready. I'm right here."

Duncan felt small and lost in his overpowering love for the man in his arms. It was overwhelming, the intensity of their lovemaking. Blair's strong arms held him close, his head bent to Duncan's ear , cooing reassurances and words of comfort. Finally, he took in a shaky breath and lessened his grip on Blair.

"That was... that was almost too much. When you let me get that close," Duncan let his head fall into Blair's chest. "I never want to let go."

"Oh Duncan, you slay me," Blair murmured, and Duncan felt him swallowing hard against his cheek, deeply affected by Duncan's need for him. "I need you more than air, man," Blair whispered against his hair, strong arms tightening around his shoulders.

They stayed like that until Duncan's cock finally softened and slipped from Blair's body, and muscles suddenly began to complain.

When they both had trouble getting their bodies to move, Duncan laughed, wiping the sweat from his face. "We're going to get stuck in one of these human pretzels someday."

"Mmm, doesn't sound that bad. Let's try again tomorrow." Blair's words were muffled by the sheets as he flopped down next to Duncan on his stomach, reaching for his pillow.

"That's a promise, Caro." Duncan smiled brilliantly, finding the strength to roll to his side for one more kiss before Blair fell asleep.

End Part 34

Part 35

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