Warnings, etc.: Angst. Naomi-Bashing.
Disclaimer: Still borrowing.
Money had never been important to Naomi because she'd always had it. Her parents and grandparents had been more than wealthy. She ran away from home three months shy of her eighteenth birthday, the day on which her trust fund kicked in. So, for three months she lived on the road and on her new friends and acquaintances. Then, she spent the next thirty years, buying only what she absolutely had to and refusing to accumulate material things as her parents had, things that would have been bad for her karma. She did, of course, travel the world at whim. Enlightenment, after all, was calling.
Her son thought they were poor, that they'd survived his childhood on the kindnesses of strangers. It had never once occurred to Naomi that her son needed those material goods she so disdained: clothes, books, tuition money. Perhaps some money would have helped ease his way when he was left behind with "aunts" and "dear old friends." Part of the reason he went to college early was, beyond his genius, the feeling that he had to stop being a burden on his parent. He took loans, fought for grants, worked multiple minimum wage jobs instead of sleeping, and generally struggled on his own. Naomi, on the rare occasion when she thought about it, assumed he was just being the independent spirit she'd raised him to be.
When Blair lost his chance at his PhD, Naomi having sent his dissertation to just the wrong person, she listened in mild dismay to his sorrow and regret, barely catching the last lament, the one about money, about grants demanding immediate repayment and loans called in.
"Don't be silly, Blair. I'll take care of those."
Blair laughed, amazed once more by his oblivious and flighty mother. "Naomi, I owe $40,000 in student loans and almost that much in grants."
"Yes, I hear that. I'll just write some checks. You tell me where to send them."
"Where will you get $75,000?"
"Don't be so silly, Blair. You know I'll just use the trust money."
And Blair's blank stare finally got through. "You know."
"No, Naomi. I don't know. What trust money?" All the world travels and retreats and belongings left behind suddenly took on new meanings. And all his struggles and the unhappiness of his youth also took on new colors. Bleak and cold colors.
It was, perhaps, a sign of the moment that Naomi was able to read the expression on her son's face. She had never really truly done so before.
Across Blair's expressive face flew memories of days when he didn't eat, of month he'd lived in his car, the rats in his warehouse, and all the destitute days throughout the years. A little help, he realized ruefully, would have allowed him to finish his life's work, would have let him earn his PhD when he was still a "wunderkind," when he still believed that Sentinels were heroes. Of course, he wouldn't have met Jim, but, at the moment, even that didn't seem like such a bad thing.
It was now painfully obvious, even to Blair's optimistic worldview, that Jim had never accepted him, never truly appreciated all he had done and tried to do, never seen him as a friend to be trusted. He'd been handy, of course, and a good secretary and, for the most part, a good cook. But Jim had never learned who he was, never tried to understand Blair's world, never asked, never listened. If Alex and Brad hadn't taught him, and, gods, they should have, then this latest disaster had. Jim, if only for a short time, had actually thought that Blair could and would betray him for money.
And now, at this point in his life, to find out how little his life had actually intersected with that of his mother. Perhaps the fact that she had never encouraged him to call her anything other than Naomi had been a sign he should have taken note of. Adrift suddenly from not only a man he had considered his best friend, oh so erroneously, and from his only relative
Blair let Naomi write checks and saw them enveloped and stamped. He took a small check for himself, and, mailing his now useless Observer's Pass and good-bye to Major Crimes, he hit the wind with his backpack and a duffle. His life had taught him, if nothing else, how to pack light. The note he left for Eli Stoddard was short and to the point," As we discussed, I've done what I had to do. I'll be in touch. You're the best, Blair." That old man smiled proudly, fondly, sadly, and tucked the note away. For Jim, Blair left a short note apologizing for overestimating his place in Jim's life and honoring the other man's wish for life "pre-Sandburg." And he was gone.
The meeting at the station, the one where Jim and Simon planned to give Blair the good news that they'd made it possible for him to be a police officer, fell apart. Naomi didn't say anything until they'd been standing around for almost forty minutes. She finally revealed that she had seen him that day in response to Simon's general inquiry. Naomi, still not getting it, not even now knowing anything about her son, had never mentioned her invite from Simon to meet at the station. She, like the members of Major Crimes, had expected him to show up there as he always did. Especially now that he had no other place to be.
When Jim heard that, he knew. His own words about betrayal echoing in his mind, he let Naomi drive him and Simon to the Loft. Nothing of Blair remained in the living room and his little closet under the stairs contained the furniture and nothing more. Jim had forgotten to be careful with his wishes. He'd forgotten that sometimes you got exactly what you asked for only to realize too late that that wasn't it, wasn't it at all. For, of course, what Jim wanted was not pre-Blair, but pre-press release. When Blair upheld his side of the bargain and Jim could forget his. When no reporters or curiosity seekers found their way to his door or answering machine.
When Blair was content to be and do what Jim needed him to be and do. Ironically, Naomi was having similar thoughts on her own behalf.