by Francesca

Author's disclaimer: Nothing's mine but the words; everything else belongs to Pet Fly. No infringement is intended, and I'm not makin' a dime. (Who needs money when you've got love?) (Well, *okay*, but I'm still not making any money!) Please go away if you're under 18!

Author's notes: The real title of this is: "Serious Procrastination." I just do *not* want to do my work today! A palate cleaner, a little comedic piffle. Enjoy.

It took her a while to work up her nerve, but finally Elaine screwed up her courage and approached the tall, broad shouldered man bent over the copy machine. "Detective Ellison?" she asked shyly, and ice blue eyes turned to meet her brown ones.

"Yeah?" he asked, looking at her expectantly.

"I'm sorry to bother you, I was just wondering — I just wanted to ask you..." She fidgeted from side to side.

"*Yeah?*" Ellison prompted distractedly, gently kicking the recalcitrant copier.

"Well, I just wondered if, um, Blair was seeing anyone," she said quickly, "because I was thinking of asking him out, but I don't want to if he is seeing someone, and..." She trailed off, instantly regretting her words as Detective Ellison let out a sigh.

But when he turned to look at her again, she was surprised at the friendly warmth in his expression.

"Oh yeah," he said sincerely, "I think that's a great idea. You should absolutely ask him out."

Elaine blushed, felt a smile spreading helplessly across her face. "You think so?" she asked happily.

"Definitely," said Ellison enthusiastically, crossing his arms and leaning back against the churning machine. Elaine wondered why she'd ever been afraid of him; he seemed so aloof, but how easily they had become co-conspirators! "It'd mean a lot to him, I'm sure," Ellison added. He raised a finger, beckoning her closer, and leaned forward himself, lowering his voice. "The pills are working, and the doctor says he's not contagious anymore," he said softly, giving her an encouraging look. "What?" asked Elaine blankly, features going slack.

"The chances of you catching it are, well, almost negligible," Ellison continued confidentially. "And anyway there's really good treatments now, so I wouldn't worry either way."

Elaine tried to put on a smile, found it rather difficult. "Oh," she said weakly. "Oh, that's good."

"Yeah it is, it's just great. I'm really happy for him," said Ellison. "Should I tell him you'll call?"

"No! I mean, no," said Elaine, heart pounding. "I, uh, well, I'd rather it be a surprise."

"Good idea," said Ellison, turning and pulling his copies out of the paper tray. "It'll really make his day. Don't worry," he adding reassuringly, flashing her a big smile over his shoulder as he strode back across the hall to the bullpen. "I won't say a word to him about our conversation, I promise!"

"Thanks," said Elaine, and then called across to him more loudly across the hallway: "Thanks!"

"Here's those reports you wanted," Sandra said, handing Jim Ellison a bunch of files.

"Where do I sign?" murmured Jim, and Sandra handed him a clipboard, pointed to the appropriate line.

"Hey, Jim," Sandra said abruptly, watching Ellison scratch out his name, "I've been meaning to ask you — is Blair seeing anyone?"

"Yeah," said Jim, handing her back the clipboard and her pen. "Phil. He's great." He flipped open the first manila folder, scanned it, frowning.

Sandra blinked. "Phil?"

"Yeah," said Jim, not looking up. "I mean, they're still together as far as I know — " and then he stopped, looked up, a guilty expression on his face. "Shit, Sandra," he hissed apologetically. "maybe he didn't want me to say anything."

"Oh no," said Sandra immediately, raising her hands. "I'm sure it's fine. I just wondered how he was doing, that's all."

Jim's face took on a pleading quality. "Sandra, do me a favor, okay — don't tell anyone that Sandburg is..." he trailed off, and gave a weak wave of his hand. "You know," he said significantly. "Okay? Please? I don't want him to be pissed off at me — we have to work together and — "

"Jim!" said Sandra, wide-eyed. "I would never!" She raised one hand, put it over her heart. "Honest to God!"

Jim breathed a sigh of relief, nodded, smiled. "Thanks, kid," he said softly, cuffing her cheek gently. "I knew I could count on you."

"Can't I get them today?" asked Ellison irritably. "Em, I need those results!"

"Say please," said Em, crossing her arms.

"Okay, please," relented Ellison. "Pretty please with sugar on top. And a fucking cherry and chocolate syrup. But get me the damn analysis by 3:30, okay?"

"4:30," corrected Em. Ellison glared at her and she raised helpless hands. "Best I can do, Jim — I don't work exclusively for you, you know."

"All right, all right," said Jim. "4:30. I'll be here on the dot, okay?"

"Okay," said Em. Ellison turned to go; Em closed her eyes tightly for a second, made up her mind, and blurted it out. "Hey Jim? Is Sandburg seeing anyone?"

Jim stopped, turned, his eyes wide and amused. "What did you say?" he said, coming back to stand against the counter.

Em felt suddenly off-balance, but asked the question again anyway. "I asked you if Sandburg was seeing anyone."

Jim's lips twisted into a smile, his eyes dancing wickedly. "Geez, Em — you run deep, don't you?" he asked quietly, teasingly. "I didn't know you were into that." He looked around quickly, making sure that no one had overheard them.

"Into what?" whispered Em, wide-eyed.

"You know," said Jim, dropping his voice further still. "What *Sandburg's* into. I mean, don't worry, " he added sincerely, placing a reassuring hand over hers. "I overlook it. I'm not in Vice anymore, and I don't see it's any of my business."

Em opened her mouth and made a small, strangled sound.

"Still, though, I don't let him do it at the loft," continued Jim blithely, looking apologetic. "I mean, the neighbors were starting to complain, and I am a cop, and how does it look?"

"Ulp," said Em, trying to nod sympathetically.

Jim took another cautious glance around. "So anyway," he murmured discreetly, "if you're interested, you'll have to talk to him about where they're meeting. I won't let him tell me — I figure it's better that way, you know?"

"Uh," said Em, her face pale. "Yeah, definitely better."

"So 4:30, right?" asked Jim, stepping away from the counter.

"Uh...4:30, yeah," said Em.

"You're a doll, Em," said Ellison, and then he gave her a wink and walked out..

Jim was rummaging in the fridge, looking for something that might, with a little effort and creativity, come to be dinner, when the door to the loft opened and Blair Sandburg came in. Jim winced as Blair slammed the door behind him, and straightened up.

"I don't know what the fuck's going on," said Blair Sandburg, irritably, throwing his backpack on the floor and himself down on the couch, "but I can't get a date for shit!!"

"Losing your touch, old man?" teased Jim, shutting the fridge door and slouching against the kitchen island.

"Yeah, it sure looks that way," grumbled Blair, making a face. "I'm like poison — you couldn't give me away in a box of Cracker-Jack." He sighed, ran a hand through his hair. "Fucking twenty-eight years old and dateless on a Friday night. Again. Six weeks running, in fact. How pathetic is that?"

Jim opened the fridge again, pulled out two beers, brought one over to where Blair was sitting. "Well, we all go through our dry spells," he said, extending the bottle to Blair.

"Thanks, man," said Blair, gratefully accepting the bottle. "I guess it's a dry spell — weird karma in the air or something." He took a swig of the beer, and shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "I'd better check my horoscope though — this thing has got to end soon. I'm just, you know, all twitchy — it's like withdrawal! My body's like — 'Damn! Where'd the sex go?'" and Jim sat down on the arm of the sofa and laughed.

"Well," Jim said kindly, leaning over to gently brush a curl behind Blair's ear, "despite whatever line you've been spinning your girlfriends, nobody's every really died of blue balls, you know."

Blair grinned and stared up at him. "Not that's been documented," he amended, waving a finger at Jim.

"Not that's been documented," agreed Jim, and Blair laughed and gave Jim's thigh a friendly squeeze.

"So what are you doing tonight, man?" Blair asked, and Jim shrugged.

"Nothing. Chilling out, I guess," he replied.

"You wanna get dinner? Maybe catch a movie?" asked Blair.

"Sure, why not," said Jim. "There's nothing to eat here, anyway."

"Cool," said Blair. "We could go to that new Mexican place," he added suddenly. "Get smashed on margaritas — I think they're two for one."

"Okay, " said Jim. "Let me just change my shirt — this one feels like work."

"Okay," said Blair. "But hurry up, that place gets crowded."

Jim climbed the stairs, pulled off his sweater and shirt. He hesitated for a moment, then pulled on a tight-fitting black T-shirt and reached into his closet for his brown leather jacket. He paused at the mirror, regarded himself with a critical eye.

"Jim, come on!" Blair called, and Jim yelled back, "All right!" and then gave himself a last rueful smile. "I'm not proud," he murmured softly to himself, and then turned for the stairs.

Blair was hovering by the door. "Let's go, let's go!" he said, pulling the door open as Jim crossed the room toward him. "Dude," he said, holding the door open for Jim, "good shirt for you!" and Jim smiled as he pulled the door shut.

The End