When Jim pulled up outside 852 the following evening, he automatically sent out his hearing to make sure Blair was at home, even though the Volvo was parked in its usual spot. Sure enough, he could hear his guide on the telephone, having an animated conversation with Naomi. However, as soon as he had identified the caller, Jim quickly pulled back his hearing to give his young friend some privacy. Blair would no doubt fill him in on everything his mom told him down to the finest detail anyway, so he made his way up to the loft simply looking forward to seeing his young friend again.
Blair was just terminating his call when Jim entered the loft, and he smiled cheerfully up at his friend. “Hey Jim! I’ve just been talking to Naomi – but I guess you know that already, huh?” he chuckled, tapping his ear suggestively.
“Yeah, I do know,” replied Jim with a similar smile, “but I didn’t listen in, Chief. Promise!”
“That’s OK, man. But I wouldn’t mind if you did. Did you miss me today? I’m sorry I couldn’t make it in, but I couldn’t get out of giving that Anth 101 pop quiz. Although I’m betting that a lot of the students wished I had!” he added dryly.
“Of course I missed you, Chief!” Jim replied, crossing the floor to ruffle Blair’s curls affectionately. “I had to write up three reports all by myself,” he added mournfully, “and Megs said you’d better be going in on Christmas Eve at least, Chief, because that’s when the donations and gift-giving is taking place, so you’ll want to be collecting those for distribution to your charities, won’t you?”
“Sure will, Big Guy,” Blair agreed earnestly. “I still can’t get over how generous the guys and gals in MCU have been. But I promise I’ll be in to help you before then. The term finishes for the Christmas break on December 22nd, so after that I’m all yours!”
“Pleased to hear it, Junior. So, what did Naomi have to say?” and Jim plopped down on the sofa, prepared to listen to whatever his friend had to tell him.
Blair quickly settled beside him, and began eagerly, not realising just how soothing his voice was to his sentinel, or just how much the other man was enjoying his proximity.
“Well, first off, Jim, Naomi told me she was in Ireland! I guess I’m not really surprised, because she likes to be somewhere special for the Winter Solstice. And this year it’s Newgrange, in County Meath, Ireland.”
Jim looked at him quizzically then. “Newgrange, Chief? But I thought that Stonehenge in England was the place to be in the UK to see that sort of New Age druidy-type of thing?”
“Well, yes it is,” Blair was quick to explain, “But Newgrange is reckoned to be even older than Stonehenge, and just as important to the Irish. See, the difference is that, at Stonehenge, people go to watch the sunset, and at Newgrange, which is a big chamber tomb, they go to see the sunrise. Both of them are awesome, Jim, and I’ve been lucky enough to see both.”
Jim looked thoughtful then, before grinning mischievously at his friend. “You know, Chief, if you were rich enough to own a private jet, I bet you could manage to do both on the same day. Now that would be awesome!”
Blair thumped his bicep as he laughed out loud. “Only you, Jim! But seriously,” he continued somewhat wistfully, “one day I’d really like for us both to visit. Despite some of the rather way-out folks you see there, it really is spectacular, man.”
Jim reached over and patted his knee. “Maybe, Chief. Maybe one day we will. But what else did she have to say?”
And he sat back to listen contentedly as Blair was off and running again.