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 38

By Zen&nancy

Blair slammed his car door shut behind him as he glanced up to the window of the loft, looking for lights. It was dark up there. There wasn't much likelihood of Jim or Duncan going to sleep at 8:30 at night, no matter how bad their day had been; therefore, he was most likely the first one home. Blair's day had been exceptionally good. His students had seemed especially interested in his lectures, and an artifact he'd been waiting for had finally arrived from Chile. Now he was home at a decent hour and could cook some dinner before Jim and Duncan got home. Chicken stir fry sounded appealing.

He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the outline of a large man just inside the doorway to the darkness of the empty Dojo. It looked like Spencer had already closed up for the night and gone home. Blair's stomach did a flip, but he made an effort to appear relaxed and not in any way threatened or frightened by finding a stranger in the hallway.

"Can I help you?" He asked, as he approached the intimidating man.

"I'm looking for the owner." The man's powerful voice filled the Dojo.

"I'm sorry, the Dojo is closed. You'll have to come back in the morning." It was the best Blair could think of to get the stranger out before Duncan came home. After assessing the long coat and general aggressiveness of the man, Blair decided it was far more likely than not that he was an Immortal. Whether he was after Duncan's head or not, he wasn't sure, but the guy certainly wasn't acting like an old friend, and Duncan could walk in the door any minute.

"Do you know where he is?" The stranger took a step towards him, and Blair backed up before he could stop himself. The man's eyes were scary, a bright, piercing green. He had the look of a fanatic, or someone hell bent on accomplishing his goal. He was as tall as Jim, and just as wide across the shoulders. He moved quickly, with a light step for a man of his size. He looked to be about forty, and in excellent physical condition.

"I don't know, he must be working late. You'll have to come back tomorrow." Blair answered quickly, making himself stand still and look the Immortal in the eye. All he wanted to do was get him out of the Dojo, as quickly as possible.

"Ah, well, thank you for all your help. I'm sure I'll catch up with him eventually." The man gave him a long, level look, and strode quickly out of the Dojo.

"Oh shit." Blair cursed, running down the hall to the elevator.

Upstairs, he ran straight to the phone, dialing and shifting his weight anxiously from one foot to the other. "Come on, Duncan, answer!"

Blair waited anxiously through eight rings before hanging up. Duncan must already be on his way home. Wishing desperately that there was some way to warn his lover, Blair ran to the window, to see if the stranger was waiting outside in front of the building. There was no sign of him, or the unfamiliar dark blue SUV that had been parked in front when he'd come home.

Pacing back and forth as the far as the phone cord would let him while he called Jim, Blair was tearing himself up inside for telling the stranger that Duncan was working. What if the man had done his research? What if he knew Duncan taught at the university? What if he broke into Duncan's office while he was working and caught him by surprise? Jim answered on the third ring.


"Jim! It's me."

"Blair, what's wrong?"

"Um, we had a visitor at the Dojo. Someone looking for Duncan..." Blair let his voice convey the whole story, knowing that Jim would understand.

"Where is he?" Jim demanded, interrupting him.

"He's not home yet, I called his office at the U and no one answered. Can you come home?"

"I was on my way home. I'm going to the University. I'll call you back when I get there."

"Jim! NO! Listen to me. You can't interfere. You know how Duncan feels, you promised him, you gave your word. Come home, I need you, man."

"Blair, this guy could be after him, right? Mac deserves warning, at least. I won't get involved, I just want him to know what he's up against, okay?"

"No, definitely not okay. Warning is interfering. You know what he said. You have to stay away from it, whether you like it or not, and so do I. I'm scared, Jim. He was big, really big, and he didn't look like he was here to look up an old friend. Please, just come home."

"I'll be there in five." Jim ended the call, sounding pissed off. Blair wanted to run to warn his lover just as badly as Jim did, but he knew he was doing the right thing staying in the loft. With a little luck, Duncan would be walking in the door any second.

Half an hour later, Duncan still hadn't returned, and Blair was pacing the length of the loft, muttering curses under his breath. Jim sat tensely on the edge of the couch, watching his Guide.

"Are you sure I can't go after him? The rule says that Immortals can't interfere, it doesn't say anything about regular people."

"Duncan says we can't interfere. That bastard found him, he must have... Duncan told me he wasn't planning on staying late, that he'd probably be home a little after me tonight. I hate this, I hate this so much..." Blair continued to pace, unable to stay still with the amount of adrenaline in his system.

"I'm gonna call Adam." Blair finally decided, grateful to have any kind of purpose. To sit and wait, never knowing how long he would be waiting, was the worst thing. At least calling Adam and Amanda would make him feel like he was doing something.

"Helloo?" Amanda answered on the second ring, sounding cheerful and charming as ever.

"Amanda, it's Blair."

"Well hello, Blair, how are you?"

Blair cut Amanda's friendly inquiry short.

"I'm fine, but I'm pretty worried about Duncan. Um, I'm on cordless phone here, do you think you and Adam could maybe stop by for a bit?"

"Don't worry, sweetheart, we'll be there in ten minutes." She hung up before Blair could thank her.

Blair set the phone down, smiling reassuringly at his brooding Sentinel. He realized with a feeling of tremendous relief that he really did feel better, just because Adam and Amanda were on their way over to wait with them. He knew that Duncan's Immortal friends wouldn't be able to do any more to help him than he and Jim could, but somehow it would feel better just to have other Immortals around.

Three hours later, all four of them were pacing. Blair had collided with Adam twice; they mumbled distracted apologies to each other and continued their worried wandering around the room. Amanda moved restlessly between the windows, leaning against the sills to peer out into the rainy night, looking for headlights, or lightning. Jim finally sat down in Duncan's wing back leather chair, nervously tapping his foot and drumming his fingers on the arm.

"Should we call Dawson?" Jim asked abruptly, startling Blair and breaking the silence. "I mean, he would have information, right?"

Methos and Amanda both answered at once, pausing afterwards to see who would speak. "No."

"Why not? That's his job, right, keeping track of the stats?" Jim demanded testily, glaring at their frowns. This wasn't what Blair had envisioned when he'd called them, and he began to wonder if maybe it would have been better if he and Jim had waited alone.

"It doesn't work that way." Methos informed him, sighing in irritation. "It's not Joe's job to feed us information. He is, or at least he's supposed to be, an impartial observer. You don't get to root for your guy," Methos finished dryly, dropping down on the couch to shift restlessly into a sprawl.

"He's right, we shouldn't. Not yet..." Amanda murmured, turning away from the window.

"It's been too long. He should be back by now. Last time he was only gone a little over an hour," Jim complained, and Blair realized that Jim was intently watching him pace around the room. He made himself stop, standing within touching distance to Jim.

"Okay, this isn't doing any good. Let's face it, there's nothing any of us can do except wait. We're waiting together, so instead of jumping down each other's throats, maybe we could try to get a little unity going here." He watched as Jim slumped back in the chair, and Adam and Amanda stopped and looked at him, Amanda apologetically and Methos with mischievous amusement.

"Adam, you need a beer. Amanda, how abut some tea? Jim?" Blair hoped he could get them to focus on something else, at least for a little while. He knew he certainly couldn't take much more of this restless waiting they were doing.

"I don't want anything," Jim answered him quietly, managing to apologize for his aggressiveness with Adam while he answered the question.

"Okay, no problem," Blair told him, offering the best smile he could muster. "Amanda, peppermint or chamomile?"

"Chamomile, please." Amanda gave him a reassuring nod, coming to sit on the couch next to Adam. "You know, Jim, there's really very little reason to worry. Duncan is... the best, simply the best. He's gotten out of more than one tight situation in the past. We just have to be patient."

"Thanks, Amanda, but I'm not very good at waiting."

Methos made a short sound of sarcastic surprise, frowning back at Blair when he called out a "Hey, come on, guys; mellow out" from the kitchen.

Blair made tea, and then they all settled in to wait in wait in earnest. Blair tried to sit in his usual place at the end of the couch next to Amanda, but after twenty minutes of lackluster conversation and watching the clock, he slid miserably down to the floor to sit with his head resting on Jim's knee. The fingers that had been anxiously drumming Jim's knee sank into his hair, weaving their way quickly through his curls. Blair turned his head to smile at Jim over his shoulder. His Sentinel looked a little calmer, and that did wonders for Blair's point of view. Anytime he could help Jim and see that it was his presence that made the difference made Blair feel stronger.

"Chief?" Jim's quiet voice broke the silence.


"I don't know how much longer I can wait. I'm going to have to go look for him soon."

He put one hand on Jim's leg to comfort, but he shook his head resolutely. "We can't, Jim. You know we can't. We just have to wait and see."

"See? See what? No, Chief. I can't do that, I'm sorry." Jim shifted in his chair, gently removing Blair's head from his lap with his hand. He rose; ignoring the hand Blair put on his leg to discourage him. Jim stood in front of him, open palms turned up, a helpless, pleading look in his eyes. "I have to find him Blair, I have to--" Jim stopped abruptly, his slightly squinted eyes the only sign of listening, and then a wide grin of relief cracked his tense features.

"He's here? Okay?" Blair asked quickly, making the decision after the words were out his mouth that he didn't care, they didn't have to hide Jim's senses in front of Adam and Amanda.

"Yeah, it's him. He's alone." Jim confirmed for him, grinning in obvious relief.

"That's quite a remarkable gift you have, Jim." Amanda's breathless voice startled them.

Blair smiled up at his Sentinel and shrugged, holding out a hand to be pulled up with. Jim pulled him to his feet, and Blair gave his hand a squeeze as they waited for the elevator to come to a stop. He glanced quickly at Adam and Amanda, seeing relief in Amanda's face, but Adam still looked very tense.

When the lift came to a stop, what Blair saw put his heart in his throat. Duncan was slumped against the wall of the elevator, his clothes shredded and covered in blood. He looked exhausted, and this scared Blair more than anything. He had never seen Duncan looking anything but the picture of health. Hell, he was Immortal, Blair didn't know an Immortal could look this bad. As soon as they'd caught sight of Duncan, Jim's grip on Blair's hand tightened to a painful extreme. Blair could feel the rage and worry pouring off of him.

"Easy. Let him talk to us. He's here," Blair murmured soothingly under his breath to his Sentinel, even as his own heart began to palpitate with anxiety. Duncan had his sword in his hand, dragging it across the floor to stumble into the loft when Jim yanked the gate up for him. He had to be helped to the couch. Jim was at his side instantly, and Blair took his other arm, draping it around his shoulders. They walked him to his chair and Duncan collapsed limply between them, his breathing coming in choked gasps, long and labored.

They all tried to speak to him at once, except for Methos, who had taken one look at him and gone to the kitchen to pour him a drink. Blair held tight to Duncan's hand, his voice rising above the confusion. "Let him breathe. Give him a minute! It's okay, Duncan, you're home."

Blair wanted to cry from the pain of cataloguing all the damage inflicted to his lover. His eyes traveled slowly over Duncan's body, seeing first the deep, terrifyingly deep gash at the very base of his neck, between his collarbones. Blood was still oozing from the wound, and Duncan's breathing was choked and bubbly. His shirt was hanging in shreds from his body, and Blair could see long cuts across the left side of his ribs and a one that was almost entirely healed over his right pectoral. His jeans, too, were soaked with blood, and torn in five different places, but Blair saw no unhealed cuts there. It was his neck, his precious, beautiful throat that was bleeding, and Blair thought for a second that he was going to lose it completely and scream from the terror.

"I'm okay, it's healing. Healing slowly," Duncan told them, trying to push Amanda feebly away when she shoved her way between Jim and Blair to cover the cut with her hand, her eyes wide with fright and full of tears.

Adam pulled her back gently, setting scotch down in front of Duncan on the coffee table. "He needs to sleep. Let him recover. How long a fight?" Methos asked, his deep, calm voice drawing Duncan's exhausted attention.

"Three, four hours. Don't know, lost track. I didn't take him, Methos. I couldn't."

"But it's over for now," Was all Adam said, a quiet, soothing reply as he moved away from where the rest of them were crowded around Duncan's chair. Blair looked up at him sharply, the name Duncan had used registering in his head in spite of the panic and fear that had frozen his mind when he saw Duncan's neck bleeding.

Jim still had Duncan's right arm wrapped around his shoulder, he was crouched on the other side of the chair, his eyes watching Duncan's throat intently. "You're right, Mac, it's healing," Jim told him gruffly, his voice harsh and clearly upset.

Blair tore his eyes from Duncan long enough to look up at Jim across their injured lover. "He's okay," Blair told him, speaking more to comfort them than because it was necessary. Jim nodded at him, sharing the pain with him. Blair wrapped his arm around Duncan's shoulder, giving Jim's arm a squeeze.

"When I got home tonight there was a guy waiting in the Dojo. I told him you were working." Blair admitted miserably, leaning over to get closer to Duncan.

"It's not your fault, Caro. You don't have anything to do with it. Remember that." Duncan's voice was still harsh and raspy, his lungs fighting to suck in enough air.

"I know, I'm sorry," Blair agreed miserably. "Can you tell us what happened?"

"He ran me off the road a little ways from the edge of campus, down by the water. I couldn't beat him, I knew it right away but I kept fighting." Duncan stopped, exhausted.

"Don't talk, Mac. Just relax. You're safe." Jim told him, his hand on top of Duncan's head, stroking the thick hair unconsciously.

Blair looked to Amanda and Adam for advice, afraid for Duncan's safety and unsure of what to do. There had to be something he and Jim could do.

Adam nodded, and answered his questioning eyes as if he'd voiced his fears. "You could run. Take him somewhere tonight and resettle someplace out of the way, harder to find."

"No. You know I'm not going to run." Duncan answered him angrily, trying to shake his head at Adam and groaning, his hand coming up to his neck.

"I didn't think so, but it's worth a try." Adam told him with a shrug, sitting down again on the couch next to Amanda.

"Who was he, Duncan?" Amanda's worried eyes hadn't left Duncan's face since they'd sat him in his chair.


"Never heard of him." Amanda shook her head, asking Adam, "Have you?"

"No. He was good?"

"The best I've fought. As good as Brian was, on his best day."

"How did he hear about you?" Adam asked quietly, his brows creased with worry.

"He killed Steven Keane."

"Ah," Adam sighed softly, leaning back into the couch. "Well, that makes sense. What's he doing, running through a who's who list of the best swordsmen in Europe?"

"Yeah, as far as I can figure."

"Well, that's what being famous gets you," Adam muttered in disgust. He got up, taking Amanda's hand and pulling her with him. "We'll let you rest. Be careful, Mac."

Blair left Duncan long enough to walk Adam and Amanda to the lift. "Guys, is he going to be okay? His voice?" Blair looked anxiously between the two concerned faces, hoping anxiously for reassurance. "Is there anything we should do?"

Amanda hugged him, squeezing his shoulder when she stepped back. "He'll be okay, Blair. Don't worry, just let him rest."

"It looks worse than it is, I've seen others recover from more serious neck wounds." Methos offered, smiling at him quickly. "Don't let Jim smother him, and he'll be back to normal in a few hours. It may scar, but I think probably not, it's already healing."

"Okay. Thanks, Adam. Thank you both, so much, for coming. Thanks for everything."

Adam shook his head, brushing off Blair's emotion. "Don't mention it. We like him in one piece, too."

Blair pulled the gate for them, going back to kneel next to Duncan. Jim had already removed his socks and shoes, and was working on the shredded remains of his denim button down shirt.

"I'm sorry I scared you, Caro. You too, Jim." Duncan's voice was still hoarse and raspy.

Jim shushed him while he pulled the cloth over his head. "Don't talk. Let it heal. Adam said it might scar."

"A scar?" Duncan laughed weakly, sounding less confident than Blair had ever heard him. "That would be something new."

"Jim's right, Duncan. Don't talk. I think we should get him into bed," Blair added quietly, coming to help Jim with the blue jeans, stiff and soaked in Duncan's blood. It made him feel sick, just to touch the wet cloth and see how badly he'd been hurt.

"No. Shower first," Duncan argued vehemently when they pulled him to his feet.

"Okay, okay, take it easy," Jim murmured gently, taking Duncan's arm and draping it over his shoulder to help him.

Jim held Duncan under the hot water, his arms locked around Duncan's waist. Duncan's head leaned back against his shoulder, his eyes closed, letting the water run down over his face. Jim watched the blood turn pink as it washed off his body and swirled down the drain. He couldn't take his eyes from Duncan's neck, or release his grip on the solid body. This reassurance of closeness was helping, but Jim couldn't shake the fear. He was almost zoning on watching Duncan's neck heal. He tracked the sparks of energy, watched the flesh mend itself, but none of it was happening fast enough.

Duncan released a shuddering breath, and leaned more heavily against Jim.

"You scared the shit out of me, Mac." Jim's anger was still very close to the surface, and it came through in his words. He couldn't help it, being helpless just wasn't something he'd had much experience with.

"Scared myself, too. I couldn't beat him, Jim. No matter what I tried, I couldn't beat the son of a bitch." Jim felt Duncan shaking, and heard the rage more clearly, now that Duncan's throat was healing.

"Waiting around, not knowing if you were dead or alive, it was killing me." Just saying the words eased Jim's anger, but he felt Duncan tense up.

"You can't do that. I can't have that, from either of you." Duncan's harsh voice was full of stubborn and unreasonable anger. "I don't want that."

Jim took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. Blair was sitting on the toilet just outside the shower stall, keeping them company. Jim closed his eyes, and it was as if he could hear Blair talking him down in his mind. For a moment, he focused on Blair's smell and heartbeat, and he was able to calm down enough to talk to Duncan instead of yelling.

"Mac, it's not your fault. I'm not blaming you. It's just the way it is." Jim's voice was gentle, trying to break through Duncan's denial.

"No!" Duncan shouted at him, spinning them both around with his hands on Jim's shoulders to slam his back against the wall.

"What do you think it does to me?" Duncan was shaking as he gripped Jim's shoulders. "Don't you think it scares the hell out of me knowing that he's still out there, that he can use you and Blair against me? Don't think for one minute that he can't, Jim. How do you think it makes me feel when just having you and Blair in my life puts you both in danger. You are mortal, Jim. Blair is mortal. How do you think I lost Tessa?"

The last was shouted with such rage and anguish that Blair was on his feet and trying to push his way into the shower with his clothes still on. Jim didn't fight Duncan's bruising grip on his shoulders, but he did reach around his body to shut the water off.

"Duncan, Duncan, calm down. It's okay. We know, we're not going to put ourselves in danger."

"It doesn't matter!" Duncan sobbed, rage turning to helpless upheaval as his arms fell away from Jim's shoulders, his hands spread in the air between them. "Whether you put yourselves there or not, the danger is always there. I love you. That makes it possible to use you to get to me."

Jim watched Blair pull Duncan out of the shower, wrapping a towel and his arms around Duncan's shoulders. Duncan leaned against Blair, his face in his long hair. Jim watched, in frustrated empathy, as Duncan stuffed all his rage back down, taking deep breaths to get it back under control, his fists clenched at his sides with Blair's arms around him.

"I shouldn't have yelled at you, it's not your fault."

Jim shook his head, dismissing the apology in Duncan's eyes. Blair let Duncan go, giving him room. "It's not anybody's fault, Duncan."

Jim watched Duncan dry himself, tense with the effort of restraint. He wanted to pull Duncan against his body and reassure himself that he was here with them, healed and alive in spite of whatever he'd been through.

Blair wrapped his arms around him, pulling Jim out of his thoughts. Blair's warmth was a comfort in his arms, and Jim leaned down to bury his nose in Blair's hair.

"It's okay, Jim, he's okay," was whispered in his ear, and then Blair let go, moving towards the door.

"Are you ready for bed, Duncan?"

"Yes." Duncan answered him shortly, dropping his towel over the rack and following Blair naked to the open door. His hair was still dripping wet, and it was chilly in the loft, but Jim restrained himself from telling Duncan to put his robe on. Blair would get him straight into bed, and that would be better for him than anything else.

"I'll be right there." Jim promised them, watching Duncan's tense shoulders as Blair led him across the room to bed.

Jim hung their towels on the rack, pausing to wipe up the puddles Duncan had left on the floor. Brushing his teeth at the sink, he thought about Duncan's anger and his fears. No matter what Duncan said, Jim refused to believe that anyone would be able to use him to manipulate Mac. The first Immortal that tried to get to Duncan through him was going to get his head blown off. There had to be a way to convince Duncan that mortal or not, he was an asset, not a liability.

Until tonight, Duncan's Immortality hadn't seemed like anything but an extra edge, like his senses. Mac getting hurt was one less thing that he had to worry about. But Immortal didn't mean invincible, he'd heard Duncan say that a dozen times. He'd never really believed it until now. Seeing Duncan's neck sliced open and covered in blood was a wake up call that Jim was glad to have gotten. He'd much rather know what the score was than delude himself. This way could be ready.

"One way or another, Mac," Jim mumbled to himself under his breath as he shut off the faucet and replaced his toothbrush in the holder on the wall. "We'll get this bastard."

Duncan and Blair were already under the covers, Blair barely visible underneath Duncan's larger frame. His arms were locked around Duncan's neck, and he was speaking quietly in Mac's ear. Duncan had his eyes closed, and his face was relaxed, but Jim saw the fist knotted in the comforter and knew that they had long way to go before any of them were going to get a good nights sleep. He automatically tuned in to the "guide voice" that Blair was using.

"It's over, for tonight it's all over, and you came home to me. I got you; everything's going to be all right. Every little thing, Duncan, remember?" Blair began to hum softly, his hands kneading Duncan's shoulders.

"Is there room for me in there?" Jim asked quietly, unwilling to interrupt Blair. Watching him soothe Duncan, demonstrating his love so freely, fascinated Jim as much as it pulled on his heartstrings. He got a glimpse of what his Guide looked like when he was working his magic, doing that thing that only Blair seemed to be able to do.

"Of course. Always," Duncan answered him quickly, rolling off of Blair and pulling him over to make a place for Jim on the bed. "Come here. I need both of you."

Jim crawled under the covers, and rolled Duncan onto his side. Spooning up behind him, Jim wrapped his arms around Duncan and squeezed, maybe harder than he had meant to. Duncan seemed to need this physical reassurance as much as Jim did, because he burrowed his body into Jim's as he pulled Blair against his shoulder.

"I will not lose this." Duncan's voice faltered as he turned his head and looked Jim in the eyes.

He saw the absolute conviction in Duncan's eyes, and a stubbornness that Jim knew first hand. He could see Duncan already trying to psych himself up for the next fight. He recognized the soldier in him, and responded.

"No Mac, you won't, and neither will we. I know you won't let me help you kick this guy's ass, but you can let me help you get ready for the next time. Bring your endurance up, work on the reflexes, whatever it takes. Next time, you'll take him down." He held Duncan's eyes, trying to give his strength to Duncan any way he could.

Blair picked his head up from Duncan's shoulder and propped up on one elbow. Jim looked up, and saw some of the worry gone from Blair's face. "Duncan, Jim's right. You'll get stronger and faster, and then you'll take this guy."

Duncan heard Blair's words, and thought of what Methos had said to him so many years ago. He let his head fall back onto the pillow, and shared the wisdom. "Live, grow stronger, fight another day."

"Exactly." Blair plopped back down next to him and kissed the end of his nose.

He drew comfort from the gesture, and tried to let go of some of his fear and anger. It had been too close tonight. Just when he had thought Carlisle had the upper hand for the last time, he'd been able to get in a vicious slice to the man's torso, and to Duncan's amazement and relief, Carlisle ran, yelling over his shoulder at Duncan that he'd be back. Whether the man would actually come hunting him again, Duncan wasn't certain, but his instincts told him that Carlisle would be back, with a vengeance.

"Hey, c'mon handsome, you're here and you're safe." Blair's voice pulled him from his thoughts. Duncan opened his eyes to see a very worried Blair trying to smile at him. "No brooding, remember?" Blair cocked his eyebrow at Duncan in a shameless attempt to make him smile. It worked.

Blair's love was worth fighting twenty Carlisles. To keep this wonderful, amazing man in his life, Duncan would do whatever it took. He felt Jim's nose nuzzling into his hair, breathing against the back of his neck. It sent shivers through his body, and tore at his heart. Jim was an unexpected gift, a kindred spirit. The days when Jim first came to Seacouver seemed almost unreal now. Duncan couldn't see any of that man in Jim; that had been the repercussions of a Sentinel losing his Guide. When he looked back now, he could truly understand the hell Jim had gone through, and it bonded them together in a way that nothing else could. He had found a peace and deep happiness that fed his soul with these remarkable men, he wasn't going to let some head hungry son of a bitch take this away from him, not for anything. Realizing that this time, he would do anything he had to do, even if it meant acting without honor, to keep them and stay alive was both frightening and exhilarating. He felt wild, out of control in a way he'd never felt before, with no boundaries. All he could think of was that he would do anything, anything at all, to keep from losing this fight.

"Shh, easy Mac, I got you." Jim's deep voice was quiet next to his ear. "You're shaking again. Did you know you were shaking?"

He hadn't realized it, but the tenderness in Jim's voice made his tremors worse. He shook his head in response, unable to get a breath past the knot in his chest. He felt a hand stroking his hair back from his face, petting him slowly. When he heard Blair talking, he managed to open his eyes, and see past his rage. Deep blue eyes gave him focus, and he heard what Blair was saying.

"C'mon Duncan, that's it. Breathe, man, you're scaring me." Exhaling was painful, and Duncan fought against the sobs that wracked out of him. After a few shuddering breaths, he was able to regain some control. He couldn't let himself fall apart; he had to keep it together until he took Carlisle's head. The soothing feel of Blair's fingers across his scalp went straight to his worried mind, and soon his shaking faded.

"You can't keep bottling it back up inside you, trust me I know." Jim's hands moved as he spoke, and goosebumps thrilled Duncan's skin as he felt the hyper sensitive fingertips lightly grazing his chest. Jim's fingers barely brushed through Duncan's chest hair, and suddenly he couldn't get enough air in his lungs. He arched into Blair, feeling his dick grind into sharp hip bone, and wondered how he hadn't noticed that he was rock hard up until that moment.

"Jim's right, Duncan, you gotta let it out." Blair leaned forward and kissed his forehead, and then he felt Blair's hand wrap around his cock.

"Ah," fire rushed through him and Duncan felt everything else fall away as a lustful, needy hunger took over. "Yes, please." He needed this so badly he burned from it. The sensation of helpless free falling overwhelmed him as Jim's lip's sucked at his neck. "Hold me, Jim, don't let go."

"I've got you." Jim pulled him back, his arm tight around him again. A remarkable sense of safety overwhelmed Duncan, and he melted into the comfort of the hard muscles of Jim's chest behind him, as Blair began a trail of hot kisses across his chest.

Jim rolled them back a bit, and Blair's mouth worked it's way down his body. Duncan gave up trying to concentrate on the individual actions of the two mouths seducing him, and simply let himself melt into the pleasure of being devoured.

When Blair's wet lips sealed around his cock Duncan let out a groan, unable to check the urge to thrust up into the hot, tight pleasure of Blair's mouth. It felt so very good, the soft, wet passage opening to allow him access, closing around him with gentle, steady suction that only made it harder to keep from slamming into his lover's throat.

"Do it. Fuck his mouth. He wants you to, I can tell. He can handle it, Duncan, just let go. I won't let you hurt him." Jim's soft growl in his ear was insistent, one large hand moving down to his hips to encourage him to thrust into the willing mouth closed around his hard cock.

"Please!" Duncan sobbed, pulling his hips back to thrust forcefully into the tight pleasure of Blair's mouth, unable to stop himself once he began. He shouted in painfully intense pleasure and release, thrusting hard and deep into the slick, wet place that opened up for him again and again, never refusing his helpless, vicious thrusts. Jim's strong hands guided his hips, holding him steady while he came, a flood of pleasure, frustration and release spilling down his lover's throat. Blair pulled back quickly, swallowing with his face pressed against his pelvis.

"Love you, Handsome," was whispered hoarsely against his hip, as Blair pressed his lips softly to his stomach, a gentle, reassuring touch that told him his lover had survived his rage-induced passion unharmed.

"Thank you, Caro, thank you so much. You're wonderful..."

Duncan whispered, exhaustion taking hold as his body slowly came down from the adrenaline rush of orgasm. He slumped back against Jim's warm body, grateful for the support.

"Feel better?" Jim asked, his head coming down to nibble across his shoulder.

"Oh yes... immeasurably."

He felt calmer, a little more in control, but Duncan still had a searing need, like fire in his belly. He couldn't get close enough to Jim, or to Blair. He needed more of them; he needed to get lost in them.

Blair scooted up on the bed, and Duncan was comforted by the warm, strong body that curled into him, Blair's face nuzzling his chest. Jim followed Blair's lead, and hugged him closer, so he could feel every inch of Jim's body against his back. Jim's arm curled around him, his hand burrowing into Blair's hair. There was a peace that Duncan always found in this connection, all of them touching, holding each other.

"I need you both... I can't lose you, I can't."

"You won't Mac, I promise." Jim's voice was rough in his ear, his arm suddenly tight enough to bruise around his ribs, and Duncan pushed back against the hardness he could feel pressed up against the small of his back, encouraging Jim's roughness, needing it, and the proof that he was here, safe, with both his lovers unharmed.

"Show me." Duncan groaned quietly, undulating against the sensitive cock burrowed into his back, grinding his ass against the hot skin in shameless invitation. "Show me, Jim. I want you."

Blair saw Jim close his eyes, and felt his Sentinel's groan as much as he heard it. Duncan's cock was twitching against him, and once again Blair marveled at the recovery time of Immortals. He reached his hand out to Jim, the touch causing his pale blue eyes to fly open. Blair saw so much in Jim's usually stoic face. Passion, definitely, and love, protectiveness and fear for Duncan, but it was the somewhat lost and confused expression that engraved itself on his heart. He'd never seen Jim wanting something so badly, and being so unsure about how to get it.

"You want him, Jim?" Blair whispered, trying to get at the heart of Jim's confusion.

"Yes," Jim hissed the word, his hand sliding down Duncan's chest to stroke his cock lightly, his fingers playing over the quickly hardening shaft with a touch that seemed to soothe Duncan as much as it excited him. The dark brown eyes drifted shut, the hands on Blair's shoulders relaxing their tight grip. Jim held his gaze, communicating his want and his fear so clearly that the words he whispered were almost superfluous. "Blair, I'm not sure I can... I want to... but,"

Jim wanted Duncan, wanted to fuck him, but Blair could read the layers of doubt and uncertainty in his Sentinel's eyes. Jim didn't have to tell him that he'd never had anal sex before, or that he was terrified of zoning out inside Duncan's body, Blair could feel Jim's fear in the pit of his stomach, as if it were his own. "I know, it's okay. It's not going to happen, you're not going to zone, just trust me, Jim. Concentrate on him, take touch and turn it up, no, trust me, man. Let yourself feel what you're doing to him, feel what he's feeling."

"Blair, I'm not psychic..." Jim whispered helplessly, pressing his lips quickly to the back of Duncan's neck, as if to reassure him that he was still a part of this conversation. Duncan only groaned softly, turning his head into Blair's shoulder and arching back against him. His legs shifted, one knee coming up to lay over Blair's thigh.

"But you can feel him, feel his response to you, you can concentrate on that and let him tell you what he wants. Just take it slow," Blair argued quietly, slowly disengaging himself from Duncan's arms. Jim pulled Duncan back against him, taking him into his arms and resettling them with his cock nestled tightly between the spread cheeks of Duncan's ass. Blair scrambled across the bed to retrieve the bottle of Astroglide from the bedside table, pressing it into Jim's hand.

"You sure you want this, Duncan? I'm gonna try real hard not to be clumsy..." Jim's whisper was full of tenderness and self-deprecation.

"Oh yes, very sure. I promise, I'll do half the work," Duncan teased, his words cutting off in a delighted gasp as a slick, blunt fingertip pressed gently inside him.

"That's good. Just don't let me hurt you, okay?" Jim answered, a smile breaking the tension on his face as Duncan arched back against his careful probe.

"The last thing I need... is gentleness," Duncan gasped harshly, his hips rocking back sharply against the exploring finger, and Blair could see that the desperation and rage Duncan had bottled was getting closer and closer to the surface.

"Be patient for just a minute, handsome. Kiss me." Blair soothed, stroking his fingers consolingly through the dark, silky hair, pushing it back off his lover's face. "Relax, wait for it, kiss me... you're so gorgeous." Blair heard his own voice, deeper than normal, barely above a whisper, as he closed the space between their mouths. It was a dark, deliciously dangerous experience, letting himself be devoured and ravaged by Duncan in this state. His lover's teeth tore hungrily at his lower lip, his tongue stabbing deep into his mouth before licking roughly across his lips again. Blair let himself moan, knowing it would only excite Duncan further.

Blair felt Duncan's leg come up to wrap around him, pulling them together from the waist down, as Duncan's hands sunk into his hair, holding his mouth up to feed on him while Jim shifted behind him, squeezing more lubricant from the tube to coat his hard on.

"Now," Duncan groaned fiercely against Blair's mouth, his hands yanking on his hair.

"Duncan... ow, let go," Blair gasped, his hand coming up to cover Duncan's fists, loosening his grasp and working the curled fingers free to reposition on his shoulders.

"Sorry, Caro. Jim! Give me... now, Jim," Duncan panted, throwing his head back to slam against Jim's collarbone.

Blair watched, his heart pounding in his chest, as Jim entered him slowly. Duncan's features were contorted with pleasure, his eyes tightly shut as he was slowly penetrated.

"Oh God, Duncan." The exclamation of pleasure and surprise was torn out of him, the intensity of the sensation too much to contain. Jim could feel the pulse of blood flowing beneath the thin tissue, could feel Duncan's muscles trembling and releasing as he pressed slowly inside. Heat, incredible heat and tight, throbbing pressure.

"Mmm, yes, hard!" Duncan groaned, his upper body curling forward into Blair's arms as his hips pressed back to push against Jim's tentative thrust.

He let himself get lost in the feeling of possession, knowing that Duncan needed it as badly as he did. Buried inside his body, Jim could feel every breath inhaled, every pulse and shudder of response, the absolute relief with which Duncan's body welcomed his invasion. Holding on to Duncan's shoulder with a fierce grip, he let himself thrust into Duncan, each time feeling Duncan thrust back, demandingly.

"Oh yes, please, Jim, please," Duncan almost sobbed into Blair's hair, clutching and clawing at Blair's back.

Jim watched, the burning pleasure held off by the total amazement and fascination with which he watched Duncan impale himself on his cock, his hips thrusting back again and again to take more of him, pulling him into the tightest, hottest pleasure imaginable. Sweat trickled down Duncan's spine, plastered his hair to his shoulders as Jim took up the rhythm of Duncan's wild thrusts, driving into him with a reckless, hungry lust that he'd never released on anyone, the endorphins rushing in his blood stronger than any care for their safety. Blair's voice was in his ears, insistent and quiet and right here with him, focussed on him completely, although he was almost completely obscured to Jim's sight by the larger body Blair held in his arms.

"Give it to him, feel him, don't lose touch, stay right here inside him. Make him come for you. Oh God, so close... You're gonna make me come too, ahh... that's so damn hot."

Explosive sensation sizzled over his nerves as Duncan shouted his name, repeating it in a chant that swirled with sensation and sight and smell until it felt as though he was absorbing all of it all at once, through the body that held him, fucking him harder than he ever would have dared to.

Pounding into the taut, straining body that rocked back to meet him, Jim felt the rage and the fear that had seized him the moment Duncan had staggered into the building finally begin to loosen it's strangling grip on his senses. He took in deep lungfuls of air, groaning in thanks and relief at the pleasure of the total awareness of Duncan rocking in abandoned pleasure in their arms. Duncan was caught tightly between them, his chest encircled by Blair's strong arms, his body undulating between them, wildly alive and healthy and pouring out animal grace and lust, his scent so dizzyingly erotic that Jim let his senses swim in it, his head dropping down to lick up the sweat pooled between Duncan's shoulder blades. Jim's hands clenched the muscular hips, taking control and thrusting up and into Duncan with a hard, possessive force that finally seemed to satisfy him. Duncan panted and shuddered in pleasure, his groans loud and insistent.

"Yes, yes, now, oh God, now!" Duncan's shout coursed through him as his body exploded into orgasm. Burying himself once last time in Duncan's ass, he fell over the sweat slicked body, driving deep into welcoming heat as he collapsed in bone melting ecstasy.

Duncan panted harshly beneath him, fighting for air under his bulk, and Jim tried to shift some of his weight, but Duncan protested loudly.

"No! Not yet. I need you. Stay, don't move, just stay, both of you." He spoke against Blair's shoulder, wrapped tightly in their embrace, hands still clutching Blair's back.

"It's okay, breathe, handsome. Nobody's going anywhere."

"No way," Jim confirmed, his breath coming more slowly as he relaxed, sheltering Duncan with his body, feeling protectiveness and possessiveness swelling inside him while his cock slowly softened, still sheathed in the tight, hot space Duncan had given him. He never wanted to leave, he wanted to stay here all night, and make love to him again, slowly, and explore this intensely close and intimate contact, but he could tell that Duncan was already very close to sleep. He lay limp and exhausted between them, one arm crossed over his chest so that his fingertips could rest on Jim's shoulder.

"You okay?" Blair whispered, smoothing Duncan's hair back so that he could look at him over Duncan's shoulder.

"Oh yeah. He is, too," Jim told his Guide softly, gently repositioning Duncan's hips as he slipped from the relaxed passage. Duncan sighed, smiling when he was fitted firmly into Jim's body and held in a four-armed embrace.

"Thank you," Duncan whispered, rubbing his cheek against Blair's shoulder while his hand squeezed Jim's shoulder. "I love you both, nothing will come between us."

"Not ever." Jim promised him, watching as the security registered in the relaxed features, and Duncan slipped off to sleep.

Blair smiled, his eyes twinkling at him in the dark. "I'm so glad, Jim..."

"Me too, Chief." Jim grinned back, settling with Duncan's head tucked under his chin, his arm stretched over him to hold Blair's hand. It was a habit they'd fallen into, holding hands in sleep, and Jim got the deepest, most restful sleep of his life with Blair's pulse beating steadily against his own wrist. Blair made a sound of sleepy agreement, kicking one of the quilts up from the bottom of the bed. Jim pulled it up for him, drawing the blanket up over Blair's shoulders. He drifted off to sleep with Duncan's heart beating against his chest and Blair's pulse at his fingertips, wrapped in contentment.

End Part 38

Part 39

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