Jim sat down to breakfast, surprised to find a small jewellery box beside his plate.
“Uh, Chief?” he asked, looking up to see Blair watching him with a small half-smile on his lips.
“Uh, Jim,” the Guide mimicked his Sentinel’s tone exactly.
Jim stuck out his tongue and rolled his eyes, surprising a laugh out of the other man.
“I thought that with proposals you were supposed to go down on bended knee?” Jim raised a questioning eyebrow.
Blair chuckled again and Jim couldn’t help smiling back at him.
“Not a proposal, guess again,” was all Blair would say.
“Not my birthday, not your birthday,” Jim mused. “Not our anniversary, I’d remember that,” Jim said with certainty.
Each comment was met with a head shake from Blair.
“Not your mother’s birthday, or my father’s, or Simon’s or Steven’s,” Jim continued on, making Blair laugh at each ridiculous suggestion. “Well then, I guess it’s a holiday of some sort,” he concluded.
“Getting closer,” Blair said.
Jim considered the date. “Well, it’s not a major Christian or Jewish festival,” he said. “So it must be some weird, obscure, tribal thing. Did you invent some sort of Chopec festival, Sandburg?”
Blair smiled and crossed to stand beside Jim.
“Why don’t you open, Jim?” he suggested, one finger tapping the box, “and accept it with the love with which it was given.”
“Because I have a need to know?” Jim suggested ruefully. He did, however, pick up the box and open it.
Inside was a small, oddly-shaped piece of silver metal with a strange shape etched in to it. It had a length of leather threaded through a small hole in the top. Jim’s sensitive fingertips ghosted over the design as he lifted it from the box.
“What is it, Chief?” he asked curiously.
“It’s an Ogham stave,” Blair explained. “It’s designed to be worn next to the heart, sort of like a talisman, so you can hide it under your clothes.” He was aware that he was starting to babble, but Jim wasn’t the sort of guy you really gave necklaces to, not like Blair himself.
“Relax, Chief,” Jim put a hand on a tense shoulder. He unlooped the leather and fastened the end in a knot before slipping it over his head and tucking it under his shirts.
Blair breathed a sigh of relief and Jim’s easy acceptance.
“The symbol represents Rowan,” he explained. “It means protection and control of the senses from enchantment and beguiling. Spiritually, it means that your strength will turn away anything that threatens your purpose and your serenity.”
“That’s very appropriate,” Jim nodded in understanding. “Why today, though?”
“It’s May first,” Blair explained. “Known to the Celts as Beltaine. The Celts were the ones who used Ogham in pre-Christian times, mainly in Ireland. It’s also reputed to be a druidic language.”
“Thank you, Blair,” Jim said sincerely. He kissed him tenderly. “I’ll wear it always, I promise.”
Blair returned the kiss enthusiastically. “Thanks man,” he said breathlessly. “I’m glad you like it.”
Jim hugged Blair to him. He was still constantly surprised by Blair and the things he knew and the way he expressed his love for Jim through that knowledge. The necklace was a typical Blair gift, combining something beautiful with an anthropological lecture. Although he didn’t believe in the power of a bit of metal to protect him, he had learned enough to know not to scoff at such things. Wearing the necklace was a small thing to him, but meant a great deal to Blair, so he would wear it as an expression of his lover for Blair.