All Tied Up In Tinsel by Lisa, Duncan's Twin

All Tied Up In Tinsel - Lisa, Duncan’s Twin

"So, Jim, are we gonna get a Christmas tree?" Blair asked innocently enough.

Jim Ellison looked up from the bills he was paying and regarded the anthropologist sprawled across the couch. He knew there was more to the simple question, and feared that it would cost him dearly if he answered wrong. They had only been lovers for a short time, and they were still testing the boundaries of this relationship.

"We can, if that's what you want." There. A simple, open-ended answer. The ball was back in Blair’s court.

"Well, it is the day before Christmas," Blair challenged. The ball was back in Jim's court.

Shit! Jim carefully thought about his reply, wondering what Blair was hinting at. Finally, he decided to play the 'considerate lover card'.

"We can do whatever you want, Blair," Jim said, walking over to kiss his guide on the forehead.

"Great! Let's go!"

Suckered. Jim had been suckered by Blair. Again. Jim smiled at the eager young man putting on his coat, knowing that this wouldn't be the last time Blair would sucker him into doing whatever it was that Blair wanted. Luckily, usually what Blair wanted was what Jim wanted, too.

"Why didn't you just say you wanted to get a Christmas tree?" Jim asked as he put on his coat.

"It was more fun making you sweat," Blair replied, laughing as he walked out the door.


After spending two hours looking at Christmas trees, the two men stopped long enough for lunch at a small café.

"So," Blair said, sipping his chai tea, "what kind of decorations are we going to put on our tree?"

"I'm sure you have something in mind," Jim mused.

"I've got a lot of things in mind, but none of them pertain to Christmas trees," Blair replied with a leer.

"Talking like that won't get your tree decorated," Jim chided.

"No, but it will get-"

"Your ass nailed to the bathroom wall!" Jim finished for him.

"Okay, okay. I get the point."

"Not yet, but later. I promise!" Jim said with a leer of his own, and then continued, "I have some old ornaments stored at the loft. We could use those."

"I'm sure they're beautiful, but I want it to be 'our' tree. Okay?"

"Leave the past, in the past?" Blair nodded. "You're right, this should be 'our' tree. So, what do we want on it?"

"Well, I don't think we need one of those sappy 'First Christmas Together' ornaments. They're so saccharine." He stopped when he noticed a look on Jim's face. "Unless you want one."

"No, you're right. They're silly, sentimental things," Jim said too quickly, "Why don't we just go look at decorations and see if anything strikes our fancy."

Blair followed Jim’s lead, and dropped the subject, but kept an eye on his lover. He hoped that he hadn't hurt Jim's feelings, but knew he had. Jim was the kind of man and lover who would want to savor and enjoy all the intimacies of their relationship, and celebrating the fact that they were together was one of those things. Blair promised himself that he would find a way to make it up to his lover.


"Okay, Blair, what color lights? Blinking, twinkling, flashing or constant?"

"Um, white, I think. And get the ones that do all those things," Blair ordered as he went back to looking at tinsel. "Hey, Jim, what kind of tinsel? Silver, gold, colored? The stringy kind or ropes of it?"

"Ropes?" Jim asked in amazement.

"Yeah, ropes. Look at it," Blair said, pulling a length out and testing it's strength. "You know, we could get this, and you could tie me up with it," he finished suggestively.

"I don't think so, Chief."

"Okay, I could tie you up with it and--"

"I really don't think so, Sandburg!"

"Okay, okay. So what about balls?"

"Excuse me!" Jim said loudly, attracting the attention of nearly everybody within earshot.

"Balls, Ellison. For the tree," Blair said, smirking, "what color?"

"We could always do the traditional red or green or both--"

Blair cut him off, holding up a box, "Blue balls!"


"How about decorating the tree with blue balls?" Blair answered innocently. "Damn, Jim, your mind is only on one thing."

"Who's the one who came up with the rope tinsel?"

"Hey, now that could really be useful," Blair sputtered, following Jim to the next aisle.

"You're sick. So sick," muttered Jim.

In the end, they ended up with blue balls, silver stringy tinsel and white lights that did everything except play music, Jim had to draw the line somewhere. Then they were off to buy Christmas presents with a strict rule about buying only one gift for each other. Neither man noticed that they shopped at the same store, each buying a similar item.


It was late in the afternoon when they returned from their shopping adventure. Jim let Blair struggle with the tree while he sipped a cold one.

"You know, I could use some help here, Jim!"

"You're doing a great job, Chief."

Jim ignored the string of curses and the finger flicked his way, savoring his beer, ready to jump in if Blair really did lose control of the tree.

“So, where are you going to put that thing, Chief?”

Blair mumbled something under his breath about shoving it in a certain orifice which Jim wisely ignored.

“How about by the patio doors?” Jim suggested.

“Sure, why not? We can sit by the fire and open our gifts.”

Jim laughed silently, leave it to Blair to figure a way to get his presents and stay warm. Jim remembered the gift he had bought for Blair, and despite earlier doubts, he now felt confident that he had made the right choice.

“You want to decorate it now, Chief?”

“Yeah, I can do that.”

Blair moved towards the packages they had bought that afternoon, but Jim quickly swept them out his grasp.

“Hey, it’s gonna be a little hard--”

“Maybe a lot hard,” Jim replied, taking Blair into his arms and kissing him.

Practiced kissers, they tried to use their knowledge to bring the other as much pleasure as possible. Jim knew it drove Blair crazy to have his tongue sucked on. Likewise, Blair knew that if he ran his tongue along Jim’s gum line that Jim would shiver in delight. They lost themselves for long minutes in the art of kissing. Their bodies had fused together, becoming an extension of their kiss. Jim caressed Blair’s back through the thick sweater, feeling his lithe muscles flex as Blair tried to climb into Jim’s skin. Rational thought became an unneeded luxury when Blair cupped Jim’s erection through his jeans.

“Oh, god!” Jim managed to utter, his eyes falling shut.

“What do you want?” Blair growled before lowering his head to suck on the exposed neck before him.

“I, um, oh yes.” His ability to form logical sentences had gone out the door.

“You want me to suck you?” Blair supplied, grazing Jim’s collar bone with the edge of his teeth.


Blair slammed Jim up against the nearest wall and made quick work of removing all the obstacles between his mouth and Jim's cock. Jim’s pants dropped to his ankles in the same second that Blair dropped to the ground, and his hot mouth closed around Jim’s hard cock. Blair pinned him to the wall with firm hands while his mouth devoured the burning flesh. There was a time for finesse but this wasn’t it. Blair felt an ache in his own groin and quickly released the buttons on his jeans, his erect cock jutting out for attention, but he ignored it. His pleasure could wait. Jim would come first. Blair shifted so that he could take the throbbing member fully into this throat, his hand cupping the heavy sack and gently rolling the balls in his hands. He could feel them tighten as the impending orgasm built. Blair hummed against the cock in his throat and felt the hot semen burst free. He moved his hand to milk every drop from the man he loved.

The muscles in Jim’s legs trembled at the pleasure he was receiving, but Blair was there to steady him. He finally opened his eyes and looked down into Blair’s beautiful blue ones. His eyes were filled with all the love he felt, and Jim’s breath caught in his throat at the intensity. Leaning down, he cupped Blair’s chin and kissed him softly, tasting himself on his lover.

“That was amazing, Chief,” he whispered.

“Glad you liked it.” Was whispered back.

“Now it’s your turn,” Jim said with a smile.

He pulled Blair up and reached for his member. Expecting to find it hard and needy, he was a bit shaken to find that it wasn’t even erect. He shot a glance at Blair, whose eyes were downcast.


“You’re gonna need new shoes, Jim.”

“What?” Jim asked, then looked down to see his right hiking boot covered with a creamy substance that he realized was semen. He burst into laughter; between the semen covered hiking boot and the jeans bunched around his ankles, he knew he made a hilarious sight.

Blair backed away, shaking his head and buttoning up his jeans. “It’s not funny,” he pouted.

“No, it’s not,” Jim agreed, “but I am. Look at me. If someone where to walk in here right now and see me with my pants around my ankles and come on my shoe, they’d be laughing their ass off. Right?”

Blair took in the image Jim had described and laughed, “You’re right.”

They laughed together as they cleaned up; relishing the peace and happiness, hoping it would last.


While Blair decorated the tree, Jim went down to the basement to wrap Christmas presents. He was still kind of nervous about giving it to him, but it was something that he knew Blair really wanted.

While he was down there, he gave Simon a call to confirm their plans for Christmas Day; they hadn’t told him about their relationship yet.

“Blair’s coming, right?” Simon asked.

Jim thought of Blair coming and coughed to cover up his laughter. Simon didn’t seem to notice.

“So, what time?” Jim asked.

“Around noon. Oh, by the way, Carolyn came by this afternoon, so don’t be surprised when she shows up there,” Simon said.

Jim didn’t have the heart to tell his friend and boss that Carolyn had already called (and he had told her about his relationship with Blair) and was staying at a local hotel with her new boyfriend, Nick.

“Right. Now, are you sure you don’t need me to bring anything?”

“I’ve got it under control, Jim.”

“Okay then. Tomorrow.



While Jim had been downstairs, Blair had wrapped the presents he bought. At first he hadn’t had a clue what to get for Jim, but when he was wandering though the fine gifts area, he found the perfect thing. He knew that Jim would like it; it was something that Jim really wanted, even if he hadn’t said so.

They hadn’t bought much for the tree, so it was a simple matter to decorate it. He was putting the tinsel on when he heard the door open. Turning, Blair saw Jim carrying two beautifully wrapped packages. As Jim set them down, Blair looked to see who they were for but there were no name tags.

“So, what do you think of my tree?” Blair gestured.

“Not bad, but we forgot to get something for the top.”

“Not exactly.”

“What are you talking about, Chief?”

“Well, I figured that since you have ornaments stored here, that maybe you had a tree topper that we could use.”

“I thought you didn’t want to use any of the ornaments from the past.”

“But you do. Your past means a lot to you, and you mean a lot to me. I don’t want you to forget your past, I want you to hold it close to your heart, like you do me.”

Blair wasn’t overly sentimental, but when he was, he went all the way with it. They stood together, locked in each other’s arms and watched the lights blink on the Christmas tree. They shared the same space and air, and even their heartbeats became one.


“So, what’d you find, Jim?” Blair asked, looking up from making a salad.

“Well, you have a choice between a factory made crystal star or a homemade plaster angel.”

“A homemade plaster what?”

“An angel,” Jim said, handing it to Blair. “It’s a long story. Stevie was about 4, I guess. We’d made these little plaster casts of our hands at Sunday school for Christmas. Dad came home one day and was pissed off about something or other, and threw his briefcase and broke the ornaments. Mom took the pieces and some glue and made this angel. We used it on our tree that year, it was the last Christmas that we spent together.”

Blair was as caught up in listening to the story as Jim was in telling it. Their hands joined in holding the precious ornament.

“I think you should put the angel on the tree, Jim,” Blair said softly.

Jim just nodded, keeping his eyes on the angel.

“I miss her.”

“I know.”

Blair shared Jim’s grief in the silence of the room. Their hands were clasped tightly together, bound together and acting as a lifeline to the present.


Christmas morning came late to the loft. The guys had stayed up late, talking and laughing, sharing special stories about Christmases past. They had finally fallen into bed, too exhausted for anything except sleep, at nearly four in the morning. They overslept and now were running behind.

They got to Simon’s ten minutes late, and walked in together. After a flurry of kisses and hugs by Carolyn, and an introduction of Nick, Simon finally asked the question on his mind.

“What’s up with you two?”

“What are you talking about Simon?” Jim asked, innocently.

“Don’t give me that innocent routine, Ellison. Carolyn shows up with Nick, and you two breeze in like two cats who ate the canary,” he paused when Carolyn snorted out a laugh, “I want to know what the hell you two are up to?”

“Maybe you should show him your shoes, Jim,” Blair offered, moving out of striking range.

Simon, Carolyn and Nick all regarded Jim’s shoes with interest, noticing how one was slightly darker than the other, like something had spilled on it and then dried. In his rush to dress this morning, Jim had forgotten what had happened and had put them on.

“Simon, Sand-, um, Blair and I have, well, we,” Jim stammered. He was at a loss for the right words.

“What Jim is trying to say in his usual articulate way is that we have become lovers,” Blair finished for him.

“Hallelujah!” Simon said with a laugh. “Bought damn time the two of you came to your senses.”

Jim and Blair were stunned into silence.

“Hey, Simon, if you had known it would shut them up, you should have said something earlier,” Carolyn said, holding on to Nick like he was her personal property.

Simon started laughing, and pretty soon they were all caught up in the humor of the situation. Blair brought Jim a glass of wine, and Carolyn started laughing about Blair becoming the ‘little woman’, to which he reminded her that she had also been in that role. They teased each other, with the others joining in. Finally, Simon asked the question that his detective’s mind wouldn’t drop.

“So, what did happen to your shoe, Jim?”


Several hours later, the guys arrived home with more packages than they had left with. Simon had served enough food to feed twice as many people and sent leftovers home with them. They were also loaded down with presents from Carolyn and Simon.

Simon had been practical in his gift giving. He had given Blair a high quality leather backpack, stating that if he had to look at Blair’s ratty old one another day, he was going to scream. Jim had received a membership to the Beer of the Month Club with strict instructions to share it with friends. Simon hoped to reap the benefits some time in that year.

Carolyn had been unusually thoughtful. For Jim, she had a box of quality chocolates, remembering his weakness, and a beautiful hand knitted sweater that was the exact shade of his eyes. Remembering Blair, Carolyn gave him a cashmere scarf, grey with flecks of blue throughout. Jim gave her a small cameo that she said reminded her of one her own grandmother had owned. He had remembered that her older sister had received it, even though Carolyn had always loved it.

All in all, the evening had been wonderful, and now, the best part of the night was about to begin. They changed out of their clothes and into sweats, and met on the couch, each man a little nervous at the thought of giving his present.

“So, who first?” Blair asked expectantly.

Jim smiled shakily, “You first.”

Blair grabbed the small package and held it out to Jim.

“I wanted to get you something that you’d like, that you’d want. I hope you like it.”

His nervousness was apparent, and it touched Jim’s heart that Blair would worry so much about his approval. He took the small gift from Blair’s trembling fingers and slowly unwrapped it.

“Oh, Chief.”

“It’s what you wanted, and I want you to have it. Merry Christmas, Jim.”

It was a porcelain Christmas ornament in the shape of a heart, and written across it in silver lettering was ‘1st Christmas Together’.

Jim sat quietly for a long minute, his finger tracing the words, and he savored the feeling of being loved. He felt Blair touch his arm and looked down into those loving blue eyes.

“Thank you, Blair.”

Jim leaned down to kiss Blair’s upturned lips.

“It’s the nicest gift I’ve ever received,” Jim said before standing up and hanging the ornament near the top, his past and future happiness closely linked. He reached for Blair’s gift and turned back to find the young man waiting expectantly.

“I don’t think mine will have quite the impact yours did. But I hope you like it just as much.”

Jim offered the large box to Blair. Ripping the paper away quickly, Blair lifted the lid on the box.

“Jim, what did you do?”

Jim smiled in delight at the childlike expression on Blair’s face as he pulled the suede jacket from the box and stood up to try it on. The jacket enveloped him in warmth, just as did Jim’s love. Blair felt something heavy in an interior pocket and reached in to pull out a bottle of unscented lube.

Blair looked up at Jim with an obvious question in his eyes.

“It’s not a real present,” Jim said quietly.

“It isn’t?”

“No, I am.” He took a deep breath before continuing, “I want you to make love to me, Blair.”


“You know I’ve never, but with you... I want you to have it, have me,” Jim said softly, seriously. “I love you, Blair. Merry Christmas.”

Blair slid the jacket off, dropping it on the couch and moved into Jim’s embrace.

“Are you sure about this?” he asked concernedly.

“I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.” Jim kissed the tip of Blair’s nose.

Blair didn’t need to hear anything else. He held Jim tightly, unable to say more.


After Jim threw the discarded wrapping paper away (he had to) and locked up, he took Blair’s hand and led him upstairs. There was none of the hurry and rush that had been there the previous afternoon. They had all night to pleasure each other, and they were going to use every second.

Removing their sweats, Blair rolled Jim onto his back and straddled his hips. He used his leverage to take control of the kiss, sucking fiercely on Jim’s tongue, making him moan with pleasure. Blair kissed his way down to Jim’s neck, his tongue leaving a trail of moisture on the hot skin. Jim leaned his head back, and Blair took full advantage of the exposed flesh. His teeth grazed the sensitive skin, and he felt Jim’s body responding under him, the little moans of pleasure increasing with each flick of his tongue and graze of his teeth.

Jim was slowly being driven out of his mind. Blair was teasing his flesh, making it even more sensitive under the repeated torture he was experiencing. He felt Blair’s hands stroke his chest and pinching his nipples. When Blair’s hot tongue flicked across a nipple, Jim almost lost control, but his guide’s hands were firmly holding him down.

“Don’t dial it down, I’ve got you,” Blair reassured Jim.

Blair smiled against the hot skin of his lover; he could tell Jim was enjoying this. He hadn’t even touched the Jim’s cock, but he could feel it against his stomach, poking at him. Following the natural and defined path down Jim’s chest, Blair trailed kisses towards his goal. He stopped briefly to dip his tongue into the shallow belly button. He heard Jim’s sharp intake of breath and paused to do it again.

“Quit teasing me,” Jim growled.

“I haven’t begun to tease you yet, my love.”

Jim shivered at the words and the actions when felt Blair reach for the lube on the bedside table. Feeling Blair’s tongue on his skin again, Jim held his breath in anticipation. He felt Blair’s tongue dance and curl in his pubic hair, the cool air drying the wet trail left behind. Blair rubbed his nipples against Jim’s thighs, and both moaned in response.

Blair wanted to take his time and make the experience something Jim would never forget, but his own eagerness was making that difficult. He wanted Jim so much, but that wanting was playing hell with his own reaction. He tried to keep his mind on bringing Jim as much pleasure as possible, but that too was making control nearly impossible. He gripped Jim’s hard cock in his hand and firmly stroked from base to tip. A drop of fluid appeared at his actions, and he licked it away with a feather soft flick of his tongue. Jim arched and bucked and Blair knew it was time.

“Turn on your side, Jim.”

Following Blair’s directions with uncharacteristic compliance, Jim did as told, Blair spooning up behind him and wrapped his arms around his lover.

“We can stop, Jim. You don’t have to do this.”

“I want to, Chief. I want you to,” Jim turned his head and their eyes locked. “I’ve never wanted anything more.”

Blair leaned down and softly kissed him. He trailed kisses towards Jim’s ear and then nipped at the lobe. Blair felt Jim’s ass rub against his own hardness, and he bit down on the sensitive skin of the Sentinel’s neck. Running his hand down Jim’s side, he teased the hard, hot flesh with butterfly touches, causing Jim to arch against his hand, trying to find release.

“Soon,” Blair whispered, in a calming voice.

He nudged Jim’s legs apart and fondled the newly exposed area, skillful fingers teasing at the opening to Jim’s body.

“Relax,” Blair soothed.

Jim was relaxing into Blair’s arms when he felt a coolness against his puckered opening. He jumped when he felt a wet finger push inside him, coating his opening with the lube. Blair’s other hand sought Jim’s, their fingers entwining, seeking to reassure and support.

Sliding in a second finger, Blair gently stretched his lover. Nudging Jim’s prostate, Blair felt Jim buck and push back against him, and smiled to himself in anticipation. He sucked hard on the flesh of Jim’s neck to distract him, timing the motions to mimic his thrusting fingers.

“Please...” Jim gasped.

Blair needed no further invitation. He liberally coated his engorged cock with the lube, the coolness having a calming effect on him. Pressing the head of his cock against the virgin opening, he leaned close to Jim’s ear.

“I love you, Jim.”

The head of Blair’s cock slid past the ring of muscle, and Jim moaned in a mixture of pain and pleasure. Blair’s hand slipped around Jim’s flagging erection, stroking it slowly as he slid fully inside the man he loved.

“Oh, Bllaaaiiirrrr,” Jim sighed when Blair was fully seated inside him.

The sensual quality of his name on Jim’s lips encouraged Blair’s movements. He moved slowly, languidly, each stroke hitting Jim’s prostate. He matched his thrusts to the steady stroking of his hand on Jim’s burning cock. He was building sensation after sensation, his motions deliberate and premeditated; he wanted to bring his lover as much satisfaction as possible. The problem was that he was also bringing himself pleasure with his actions. He pumped the cock in his hand harder and faster, his hips following suit.

“Come for me, Jim. Let me feel you come,” he growled before resuming his onslaught on the tender neck and shoulder; Jim would be wearing turtlenecks for a week easily.

Jim threw his head back and gave himself over to the waves of ecstasy coursing though him. He came hard, semen flowing forth from him in a steady stream. His mouth opened, but no intelligible words came forth.

Blair felt Jim’s orgasm building, and rode out each wave of pleasure as it crested and waned, and only then did he find release in the sated soul of his lover. His body trembled and shook as he came.

They lay together like that, joined physically and mentally, for countless minutes. The only sounds in the room were their ragged breaths, which eventually slowed to normal. Their heartbeats, once fast and furious, slowed and beat as one. Their sweat drenched bodies dried in the cool air of the loft and chilled them. It was that chill that drove Blair to pull the covers up over them. Jim moaned when Blair’s cock slid out of him, but Blair hushed him and curled back against him, nestling up safely beside the man he loved.

“Merry Christmas, Chief,” Jim murmured.

“I don’t think it’s Christmas anymore,” Blair said, softly. “It’s after midnight.”

“After that, Chief, every day with you is gonna be like Christmas.”


Blair smelled coffee. He peeked out from under the pillow, saw way too much sunlight and promptly recovered his head. Too early! But Jim had heard the movement and was already pouring a cup of coffee.

He set the mug on the bedside table and sat down gingerly on the edge of the bed. Yesterday had been amazing, incredible, fantastic, everything he had hoped it would be. He had woken up this morning feeling like he could fly, with energy to spare. He had already been to for a run, had showered and made coffee, and was now anxious for Blair to wake up. He wanted to look into those beautiful blue eyes that had captured his heart long ago, and know that everything between them was the same, was better. He rubbed Blair’s back through the comforter, trying to ease him into wakefulness.

“Babe,” he said very softly.

A mumbled sound was his only reply.


The lump on the bed moved closer to him; a hand appeared and reached towards the bedside table and the steaming cup of coffee.

It was breaking one of the house rules, Jim laughed to himself, but since they were his rules, he figured he could break them. Occasionally.

“Don’t stay in bed all day, Sandburg,” Jim chided as he headed downstairs, “there’s still a present under the tree with your name on it.”

The comforter slid down as Blair glanced to the Christmas tree. Sure enough, there was one red wrapped box with a big bow under the tree.

“What happened to ‘only one gift’?” Blair asked before taking a sip of his coffee.

He didn’t hear Jim shrug so much and knew that was the response he’d get. Jim did prefer to play by his own rules.

Forgoing clothes, Blair headed downstairs with a grin and a half full coffee cup.

“You’re a tease, Chief,” Jim said, standing on the other side of the kitchen counter.

“What? I put out, I’m not a tease,” Blair laughed as he headed into the bathroom.


Half an hour later, the bathroom door opened, and Blair exited wearing Jim’s navy bathrobe. Jim was sitting on the couch sipping his coffee, Blair’s cup was on the coffee table, refilled. Blair walked over to the Christmas tree and picked up his gift.

Jim watched in amusement as the paper flew, and his jaw dropped when he saw Blair drop onto the couch, his whole body shaking.

Jim was immediately concerned, reaching out to grab Blair’s wrist. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

A small sound, like a gasp, escaped Blair’s lips; it was then that Jim realized that Blair was laughing.

“What the hell’s so funny? I thought you’d like it.”

Jim started to stand up, but was held back by a strong grip on his forearm.

“Wait,” Blair managed to say between fits of laughter.

“Well,” Jim said impatiently.

He watched Blair fumble under the couch and pull out another gift for Jim. Blair’s hands shook as he handed it to his lover, but it was from another spasm of laughter, not nervousness.

Jim took the package, ripped it open and stared at an item identical to what he gave Blair; it was a package of rope tinsel. He threw his head back and howled in laughter. His hand sought Blair’s, and they linked fingers much like the night before. Jim squeezed Blair’s hand in reassurance, and everything was right with the world.

“Looks like I’m not the only sick one here, Ellison,” Blair said with a smirk on his face and a laugh in his voice.

“What can I say?” Jim said with a shrug. “I was intrigued.”

“Yeah, well, maybe you can teach me a few tricks.”

Jim moved faster than he ever had. He vaulted on top of Blair, slipped a loop around each wrist and pulled them taut.

“Yeah, I think I can do that.”

The end.

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Notes: Many moons ago, this was a Highlander story. I refurbished it and now it belongs to Jim and Blair. Thanks to Diana for the original beta, and to Kelly and Kerensa for the second round. Thanks to Patt for the art. :)