This is my answer to the question of "Why didn't Blair ever move out of the loft?" Thanks to the listsibs in the chat room and always thanks to my beta, TAE.

Disclaimer: I don't own them. I don't make any money. Really, I don't make any money. My paycheck goes right out the door.

It's Not For the Lack of Trying
By Lila Kulp


Thursday, Week 1

Jim stirred more sugar into his coffee and joined the breakroom conversation.

" I'll be watching my nephews all weekend," Rafe finished. "What about you, Jim? You got big plans?"

Ellison sampled his coffee before replying, "Oh, yeah. I'm helping Sandburg move into his new place."

Brown chuckled, "The roommate scene not working for ya?"

"It's not too bad. It kind of grows on you," Jim replied. "But Blair said he'd be out in a week and so far he's been true to his word."

"So, where's he moving to?" Brown asked.

Jim shook his head, "Don't ask me how, but he managed to find an older couple with a room for rent. Apparently they make a habit of renting to college students and their last renter just graduated. He's over at their place right now getting to know his new landlords and filling out paperwork."

The gathered officers nodded their heads, acknowledging that this was a good move for their newest friend. They were all a bit surprised when said friend walked into the breakroom looking like a kicked puppy.

"What are you doing here, Sandburg?" Jim asked. "I thought you were over at the Andersons."

Blair sighed and explained what happened, "I was, but it turns out that both Mr. and Mrs. Anderson are getting a little forgetful and forgot to tell each other that they had lined up someone for the room. Mr. Anderson had told me that everything was all set, but it turns out that Mrs. Anderson had also promised the room to their neice who is coming to Rainier starting next semester. So, I'll let you detectives figure out who won the toss."

"Oh man, that sucks, Hairboy," Henry stated.

"I'm sorry to hear it," Rafe commented.

Jim moved over to the counter and poured a fresh cup of coffe and handed it to his roommate, "It looks lik that week will be a little longer than we thought."

"I'm sorry, Jim," Blair said while accepting the coffee.

"Don't worry about it, Chief. It's no big deal."

Wednesday Week 2

"I said you're not moving into that dump of an apartment and I mean it, Sandburg," Jim all but yelled at his friend as they exited the elevator onto the third floor of 852 Prospect.

"Who died and made you the ruler of my life!? I'm an adult and I can live where I want," Blair retorted.

Jim unlocked the door to his loft that he was currently sharing with the graduate student. "The Drifts is one of the worst places in the city. Trust me. I've seen the crime stats."

"So? It's not like I've never lived on the wrong side of the tracks before. In case you've forgotten, the warehouse wasn't in the best of neighborhoods either." Blair replied with just as much volume as his friend.

"And look what happened there. The place next door turned out to be a drug lab and blew up. I'll find something to arrest you for before I let you move there."

Blair allowed his backpack to fall to the floor with a touch more force than necessary, "Just why the hell are you so set against me moving to this place anyway? It's not like I'm forcing you to move there. I'm not even asking you to help me move in or visit."

"I don't want you moving to the Drifts because I don't want to get called to a homicide investigation just to find out that you're the DB!" Ellison shouted in a rush and quickly turned to the cupboard to find something to fix for dinner.

Blair stood frozen in place.

Jim had finished noisily searching the cupboards and was now staring at the inside of the fridge.

"Okay," Blair finally said softly.

Jim reached into the fridge and pulled out a couple of large potatoes and sighed, "Thank you."

Saturday Week 2

"Can't you use the lights and siren or something, Jim? This guy was already annoyed that he was having to come to the office on a Saturday. I don't think he'll be too happy if I'm late for the interview." Blair said, leaning forward as if that would help the vehichle go faster.

The detective glared at his passenger, but increased his speed slightly. It wasn't long before Jim was pulling the truck into the parking lot of the Colony apartment complex. He brought the truck to a screeching stop just as the manager was exiting the office and turned to lock the door.

Blair jumped out of the vehicle and ran to meet his prospective landlord. "I am soooo sorry that I'm late."

The manager simply stood there and waited for the inevitable excuse.

"I was going to be here on time, honest, but I got tied up at the police station," Blair began.

The graduate student didn't notice the sentinel grimice at his friend's choice of words. "We were in this drug bust and I couldn't just leave," Blair continued, not realizing that the apartment manager was growing nervous.

"And you know how the police are with their paperwork. Everything had to be cataloged and signed for..." Blair kept rambling until Jim walked up behind him.

"Sandburg, I think you'd better stop while you're ahead," Jim advised as he showed the terrified looking manager his badge.

Blair suddenly realized what he'd been saying. He just looked back and forth between Jim and the landlord. Accepting the inevitable, Blair turned to the manager, "We'll be leaving now. Sorry to have troubled you."

"N-not a problem," the man stammered and bolted for his car.

Thursday, Week 3

"I really appreciate you swinging by on your lunch so I can take a look at this apartment, Jim," Blair said as he wiped the crumbs from his mouth and cleaned up the remains of their lunch that they had eaten in the car.

"I figured it was the least I could do after causing you to miss out on the last place you found," Jim replied with a chuckle. The gang at the station was still laughing at how Blair tried to explain being late to meet the last potential landlord.

Blair couldn't help a chuckle of his own. "It wasn't your fault that Eddy can't read a calender."

"Next time we're on a stake-out, I'll make sure the suspect gets the memo," Jim said and pulled into a parking spot.

The two friends were met at the front door by Mr. Mocher, the office manager. "Gentlemen, it's a pleasure to meet you."

"Mr. Mocher, this is my friend Detective James Ellison," Blair introduced his friend and they all exchanged handshakes.

Jim thought that Mr. Mocher was more nervous than was normal, but the man was thinking about renting to Sandburg. That would be enough to make anyone nervous and Mr. Mocher didn't even know about Larry.

"If you will follow me, I'll show you the apartment," Mr. Mocher said as he led the way up the stairs. Blair eagerly followed. Jim brought up the rear of the little parade, but was begining to get a bad feeling.

Mr. Mocher ushered them into the apartment and quickly wisked Blair from room to room. "You'll just love this apartment. It has all new carpet and appliances..."

Jim's feeling of dread exploded as soon as he walked into the apartment. Blair, however, hadn't noticed anything yet and Jim figured that if it didn't bother Sandburg, then he wouldn't burst the man's bubble. He just kept quiet and focused on looking out the window.

"...the bathroom has recently been refinished as well." Mr. Mocher explained.

One of the neighbors chose that moment to poke his head in the door, "Oh Mr. Mocher, could I have a word with you for a moment?"

"Sure, Eric," he replied. Then turned to Blair, "I'll just be a few minutes. Feel free to look around."

Blair wandered back into the bedroom to take another look at the walk-in closet. "Jim?" he called and waited for his friend to join him.

"Please tell me that I'm just having a really bad case of deja vu and that I haven't been in this apartment before."

Jim was quiet for a moment before replying, "Imagine a bed right about here," he said while gesturing to a spot in about the middle of the far wall. "A small table right there with a broken lamp laying on the floor next to it, and a chalk outline right about there." Jim finished his description by pointing to the floor right in front of the bathroom door.

The silence was deafening.

"I don't think this is the place for me," Blair stated suddenly.

"Let's go," Jim replied.

The two men turned in unison and all but ran for the door. Mr. Mocher chose that moment to re-enter the apartment. "Well, Mr. Sandburg, what do you think?"

"Sorry, it just isn't going to work," Blair answered as he followed Jim down the stairs.

He didn't even slow down when Mr. Mocher shouted, "We can negotiate the rent!"

Thursday Week 4

Jim flipped back to the football game to check if halftime was over. Finding the announcers still yammering on about how the rain was effecting field conditions, he flipped back to see if the rain delay on the baseball game had been lifted. He finally settled on a different football game when Blair came through the door.

"Hey, Chief, how'd everything go with the new landlord? Hoagland was his name, wasn't it?"

Blair took his time hanging up his jacket and gently set his backpack on the floor before answering. "Yeah, Todd Hoagland."

Jim waited as Blair grabbed a beer from the fridge and joined him on the couch. "Well, did you get all the papers signed and stuff? When do you move?" Jim asked, trying to show support for his friend.

Blair didn't answer right away. He took a large gulp of his beer before replying, "I still don't know yet. He's, uh, not renting me the apartment."

Jim did a double take, "What? I thought it was all but a done deal. Did he say why?"

Blair took another large gulp of his beer, "I don't think he liked the idea that I have several friends that are cops. He made several references to 'setting a proper example' and 'image of the neighborhood'." Blair illustrated the landlord's comments by making quote signs in the air.

Ellison allowed his confusion to show on his face, "He said that in relation to cops? I would have thought he would want police officers hanging around in that case."

"Well, your guess is as good as mine, Jim, but I'm not getting the apartment." Blair finished his beer and got up from the couch. "I'm going to turn in early. I have a lot of aparment hunting to do."

Jim watched his roommate put the beer bottle in the recycling and head to his room. He then picked up the phone and dialed a familiar number. "Hey, Dillow, it's Ellison. I have a question for you. Burglary wouldn't happen to know anything about a Todd Hoagland, office manager at Tumblewood Estates would they?"

The detetive was silent as his fellow officer spoke.

"Nothing solid, but I just found out that cops make the guy nervous and thought I'd check out a few things." He once again listened to the other side of the phone conversation. "Thanks, I appreciate it."

Friday Week 4

"Hey Ellison, wait up," Detective Dillow shouted.

Jim turned and waited for Marshall Dillow to catch up. "Hey, Marsh, did you find out anything?"

Marshall gave Jim an excited look, "You won't believe what we found. After you called a couple of the guys and I did some checking. It turns out that in the past three months that place has had no less than four significant breakins."

Dillow began to gesture to emphasize his excitement. "So, we went to have a little chat with Mr. Hoagland. Long story short, he would rent to young college students and then let himself in and help himself to all the expensive stuff that mommy and daddy had bought for junior and sissy. We just finished interrogating him. Where did you hear that tip from?"

Ellison chuckled, "Actually, Sandburg tried to rent from the guy, but when he found out I was a cop, he decided Blair wasn't good for their image."

"Well if Sandburg's apartment hunting brings us tips like this, I hope he never finds a place," Dillow said as he waved good-bye and headed into the Burglary bullpen.

Wednesday Week 5

"I can't believe it, Simon," Jim exclaimed to his captain. "What am I going to tell Blair? Hey, Chief, glad to see you're all packed and oh by the way, I had to arrest your landlord today," Jim said as he paced in front of Simon's desk.

Simon, well used to dealing with his detectives, simply waited quietly and let Jim vent.

"He'd finally managed to find a nice place. All he had to do was drop off his deposit check and pick up his key and then he could move in. But noooo, I have to go and find out that his new landlord is the psycho who's been killing stray animals. At this rate, Simon, he's never going to be moving out."

"Would that be such a bad thing, Jim?" Simon asked.

Jim didn't pause in pacing as he answered, "No, of course not, but if he wants to move out it's not like I can handcuff him to the railing now, can I? This really sucks, Simon. We were going to have a nice farewell dinner tonight and everything. How long does the guy have to look for an apartment before he actually finds one?" Jim asked as he collapsed into the chair in front of Simon's desk.

"Yeah, Jim, how long does he have to look for an aparment?" Simon asked.

Jim opened his mouth to reply, but closed it again without saying anything. After a moment of thought he got up and walked out of his captain's office.

Simon just shook his head and mumbled to himself, "That's why I get paid the big bucks."


"So how was your day, Chief?" Jim asked as they sat down to dinner. Jim had pulled out all the stops. He'd made his special sphagett with garlic bread, a nice wine, and even a salad.

"It was pretty good actually. The students mostly stayed awake and a few even paid attention in class. I even had students show up at office hours," the grad student said before taking a bite of sphagetti. "I can't believe today went so fast. I would have thought it would have dragged on. I'm really looking forward to being in my own apartment tomorrow."

Jim moved as if to speak, but Blair kept talking.

"Not that it hasn't been great staying with you these past few weeks, Jim. You've really been understanding about all this. I mean, I told you a week and here it is five weeks later and I'm just now moving out. Not everyone would have been as understanding." Blair picked up a piece of garlic bread and asked, "So how was your day?"

Jim swallowed the wine that he'd been sipping, "I actually had a productive day. I finished half the paperwork that's been piling up on my desk. Oh and I found the guy who was stalking the animals."

"That's great, Jim! Who did it end up being?"

"Your new landlord," Jim answered and took a bite of salad as if he'd just told Blair the weather.

Blair's eyes grew wide. "WHAT!! My landlord? You arrested my new landlord!?" Blair couldn't keep himself from yelling. "And just when were you going to tell me this? Were you going to wait until I had everything loaded into my car and out of your loft before telling me? Huh?"

The detective held up his hands to ward off his friend, "Easy there, Chief. We haven't moveed anything yet, have we?"

"No," Blair said while glaring across the table.

"Then this is just like all the other times that you didn't move." Jim stated simply and continued to eat.

Twisting his fork in the spaghetti, Blair sighed, "I'm just getting tired of this whole situation. One minute I'm packing and planning to move, then the next I'm back to hunting again."

"You and me both. I'm really getting tired of having all your boxes around, too."

Blair sighed again, "I guess I could stash some of them in my office at the U, but I've almost exhausted the appartment options. You'd think that a college town would have more places for rent."

"Don't worry too much about it, Chief. In fact I think I might know of a room that's available."

Blair looked up at his friend, "Oh? I didn't realize you wanted me out that badly."

Ellison gave his friend a subtle glare, "No, it's not that. I just didn't realize I knew about it until this afternoon. Of course, I'm not sure if it's actually available or not. It seems that the guy who's living there now is having a hard time finding another place and hasn't actually moved out yet."

"So, what's this place like?" Blair asked and resumed eating.

"Well, I spoke with the guy this afternoon," Jim explained. "He doesn't have a problem with the fact that I'm a cop. It's in a good neighborhood and he says that the rent is reasonable."

Blair remained quiet as he tried to figure out what Jim was talking about, then ventured, "But he's not sure if the room is available or not?"

"No, but he did tell me that you just need to say the word and he'll throw the squatter out," Jim said as he used his garlic bread to mop up the spaghetti sauce on his plate. "Apparently he was just supposed to stay there a week, but things haven't worked out as planned."

Blair's eyes grew wide as understanding dawned, "Oh that room. I think I know the one you're talking about. I've already taken a tour and I like what I see. The problem is that there's lots of strict rules."

"Do you want the room or not, Sandburg?" Jim finally asked.

"I'll take it," Blair replied and stuck out his hand.

Jim took the offered hand and the friends shook.

"Hey, Jim, can we still have the guys over for the moving party?" Blair asked.

"I don't know, Sandburg. Your first night in your new place and you already want to throw a wild party where the cops are going to show up." Jim teased.

The End

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