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16 September 2007 @ 12:38 pm
Mix Messages [The Office; Michael/Jan]  
TITLE: Mix Messages
FANDOM: The Office
PAIRING: Michael/Jan
SPOILERS: Season two through "Valentine's Day"
RATING: G
SUMMARY:


*****

Jan Levinson huffed loudly, the sound echoing in the foyer of her stoically-monochrome house. After kicking off her high heels rather violently and stomping up the stairs, she stalked over to the couch and flung her purse down on it, raising a shaking hand to cover her eyes.

Her lips still tingled like mad. His scent still tickled her nose. And her fingertips still felt the phantom touch of his wool coat. She was ill -- terminally. Michael was a disease, that's what he was. A big, annoying, infuriatingly-handsome disease that was going to drain every bit of life out of her until all she could do was take one last gasping breath before surrendering to the darkness.

It was that thought that made Jan decide to have a glass of wine, so she headed for her cabinets. She pulled out one of her long-stemmed wine glasses, a wedding present that Gould hadn't bothered with in the divorce settlement, and set it down on the counter. Then, she went for the bottle of Merlot she'd opened last week after Michael told her the lavendar eyeshadow made her eyes really pop. Jan yanked the cork off the bottle and tipped it sideways over the glass, watching the crimson liquid fill it to the top. Then, she set the bottle down and left it out -- she'd need more if she was going to have her thoughts stuck on Michael all night -- and then raised the glass to take a sip.

How dare he. What nerve, kissing her like that. She thought maybe she should call him and ream him for it. But then it hit her just as she was reaching into her purse for the phone -- wait, she had kissed him.

Still. How dare he. What nerve, just... letting her kiss him like that. Really, he was insufferable.

And what a jerk, saving her from being fired. Stepping in so valiently and shielding her from repercussion, doing what she had wanted him to do all along and pretending nothing had ever happened between them.

Jan closed her eyes. Okay, so maybe Michael wasn't as big of a jerk as she wanted him to be in this moment. Maybe he was a nice guy that just got a little overenthusiastic about nothing. Because there was nothing between them. A drunken kiss. And then... another (sober, stone-cold sober) one at the elevator today.

She slipped her cell phone back into her purse and that was when she felt it. A slim jewel case for a CD. Jan frowned -- all of her CDs were in her car -- and pulled it out. It was a burned CD, that said simply (in Michael's distinctive scrawl, oh no), 'For Jan, Love Michael.'

Jan stared at the CD in horror for what felt like hours, thought it was maybe, at the most, a minute or two. She dug around in her purse a little further, pulling up a card -- an obnoxious Valentine card with a horny devil (oh Michael, really?) with his arms outstretched, the bold heading saying, 'Hey Hot Stuff! Be Mine.' She chuckled in spite of herself even though her stomach was turning in a way that was slightly unpleasant... but slightly not.

She popped the CD into her stereo and groaned at the first song to come out -- a definite boy band, bubblegum pop song. The Backstreet Boys, as the card informed her. "I Want It That Way." Michael, instead of writing a sappy Valentine's sentiment, had instead listed every track on the CD he'd made for her, and what was apparently his reasoning behind each particular song choice. Jan sighed and forced herself to listen to each and every one -- maybe she was a little masochistic.

"But we are two worlds apart
Can't reach to your heart
When you say
That I want it that way."


And Michael's description for the song read, "You are my fire, Jan. My one desire. The Backstreet Boys said it best. So if you'd please tell me why this ain't nothin' but a heartache, ain't nothin' but a mistake."

Jan shook her head. Where would she begin if she had to explain that to him? She hit the search button for the next track. And another pop song came out. Michael, really -- did his music library contain nothing but famous pop songs from five years ago?

"Why'd you have to go and make things so complicated?
I see the way you're acting like you're somebody else gets me frustrated"


The description for this track read, "I don't get you, Jan. You're so complicated. Sometimes you act like you really like me, and you make out with me--" (once, Michael... once) "--and then other times you act like you can't even stand to be around me. I wish you'd make up your mind and quit trying to act cool in front of everyone else."

Jan sighed. If things were that simple, she wouldn't be sitting here, downing a glass of wine, listening to the mediocre pop music of yesteryear. She moved on to the next track, and when she heard the distinctive, almost seductive sound of a seventies Bill Withers song come out, she almost spit out her wine.

"My friends feel it's their appointed duty
They keep tryin' to tell me
All you want to do is use me"


Jan had to splutter a laugh. She didn't expect Michael to have a broad taste in music, let alone that he'd choose a song she actually enjoyed. The card read, "Sometimes I feel like all you want to do is use me, Jan. And if it's my body that you want to use, go right ahead. I have no problem with that. But my heart kinda wants more."

She closed her eyes briefly. Again, if only things were that simple. The truth of the matter was, for as often as she found him annoying, she truly had no idea what she wanted from Michael Scott. A fling, a relationship, a marriage -- she didn't know. He pulled her in so many different directions emotionally it made it hard to think straight. She pushed along to the fourth track.

And immediately rolled her eyes. Some more mediocre pop.

"Show me how you want it to be, tell me baby
'Cause I need to know now oh because
My loneliness is killin' me, and I
I must confess I still believe, still believe
When I'm not with you I lose my mind
Give me a sign, hit me baby one more time"


Britney Spears. She almost reached for the phone right then and there, because really Michael? Really? Maybe he was completely hopeless. She glanced down at the card. "Ever since we kissed, Jan, I haven't been able to quit thinking about you. And just stupid stuff, too, like sometimes I wonder how sweet you look when you're brushing your hair, or what pattern you might have on your pajama pants. Or maybe you wear nighties, which would be totally hot. The point is... I'm lonely without you."

Jan swallowed hard, taken aback by how almost... sweet that was. She quickly moved on to the next song, frowning as a slow love song poured out. And then she heard Celine Dion -- and she groaned as she realized it was the title song from "Beauty and the Beast."

"Tale as old as time, true as it can be
Barely even friends, then somebody bends unexpectedly
Just a little change, small to say the least
Both a little scared, neither one prepared... Beauty and the Beast"


Michael really was hopeless. The card read, "That's what we are, Jan. A beauty and a beast. And as devastatingly-handsome as I am, you would definitely be the beauty. I'm the rugged, masculine beast. And we were barely friends before there was just a little bending, and all of a sudden this door opened up. Please don't close that door, Jan."

She sighed and hit the button for the next song. And really, could he maybe go a few tracks without a pop song? No, because sure enough, that boy band, that Justin Timberlake one, came pouring out of her speakers.

"Tell me, tell me baby, how come you don't wanna love me?
Don't you know that I can't breathe without you.
Tell me, tell me just how, what am I supposed to do right now?
Why can't you love me, why? Tell me my baby"


"Seriously, Jan, how come you're fighting this?" the card read. "You know it'll happen eventually."

Jan's stomach somersaulted again -- she wasn't sure if that was a good or a bad thing, so she just moved on. To track number seven.... out of sixteen. She almost groaned at the realization. It took a moment for the seventh track to get started, for her to recognize what it was -- but then the unmistakable seventies guitar track kicked in, followed by a whisper that made Jan laugh -- "Foxey!"

"Well you know you're a cute little heartbreaker -- foxey,
And you know you're a sweet little lovemaker -- foxey"


"Oh, Michael," she sighed, a chuckle laced within, as she shook her head and read the card.

"You are so foxy, Jan. And I don't know why he spells it with an 'e'. Maybe Hendrix was Canadian or something. The point is, you're really hot. But you're a heartbreaker. And I wish you wouldn't stomp all over my heart like that, because I really like you."

Her stomach flipped again, in an unmistakable way -- butterflies. She moved on to track number eight. It took a mere second for her to recognize the song -- an eighties anthem that made Jan giggle -- it was one of her favorites. Pat Benatar.

"We are young, heartache to heartache we stand
No promises no demands, love is a battlefield
We are strong, no one can tell us we're wrong
Searchin' our hearts for so long
Both of us knowing love is a battlefield"


"Love is a battlefield, Jan," the card told her, "But I really think we could make it. Because we're strong. Me especially. And no one can tell us we're wrong. Except for when we are wrong. I think you'd be especially good at that, pointing out when I'm wrong."

She spluttered another laugh around another drink of wine and moved on to the next track. She didn't recognize this ninth one, but by the time the first verse started it already gave her a reason to sigh -- more pop. Mandy Moore, as Michael's copius notes informed her.

"I wanna be with you, if only for a night
To be the one who's in your arms, who holds you tight
I wanna be with you, there's nothing more to say
There's nothing else I want more than to feel this way"


"In case you haven't figured it out yet, I wanna be with you, Jan. I wanna make you smile whenever you're sad, and carry you around when your arthritis is bad. I wish I had the 'Wedding Singer' soundtrack, because I so would put that 'Grow Old With You' song on here. That's what I want to do. I want to grow old with you. But first, I want to be with you. The growing old stuff can come later. Way later."

Jan smiled in spite of herself and moved on to track ten, the electric guitar track immediately catching her attention -- another one of her favorites from the eighties. She waited patiently for the distinctive whine of Axl Rose to grace her ears.

"She's got a smile that it seems to me, reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face, she takes me away to that special place
And if I stare too long, I'd probably break down and cry"


"Axl Rose knows his stuff, Jan," Michael told her in the card. "This song totally reminds me of you. Your smile makes me feel like a kid again, experiencing everything for the first time. Except sex. I'm not a virgin, Jan, don't worry. I know my way around the lady-folk. Just thought you should know."

"Oh, Michael," she had to sigh again, shaking her head and closing her eyes, unable to get rid of her bright smile. She still had six tracks to go. The eleventh one was another eighties power ballad -- and another of Jan's favorite groups. Heart. It almost made her wonder if Michael had had Dwight research her favorite music before making this mix.

"You've been hiding, never letting it show
Always trying to keep it under control
You've got it down and you're well on your way to the top
But there's something that you forgot - what about love?
Don't you want someone to care about you?"


Jan swallowed hard, and turned her eyes to the description Michael had written: "Don't you want to be loved, Jan? By somebody better than Gould? Because I'm way better. I'd never not want to have kids with you. Gould's a dumbass. Pick me."

She blinked back the moisture that was starting to accumulate in her eyes and cleared her throat, telling herself to get a grip. This was Michael, for God sakes. She quickly pressed the button for the next song, not recognizing the slow melody that came out. Although she thought, by the lead singer's voice, that it might've been Coldplay.

"When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep, stuck in reverse
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste, could it be worse?


It was impossible to blink back the tears now. Jan drew in a shaking breath, wondering just when it was that Michael Scott began to get to her like this. She listened to the song in its entirety rather than moving on, the lump in her throat swelling with each verse and chorus. Her eyes closed when she song swelled and a tear slipped past her lids without conscious consent. It scudded down her cheek slowly, finally drying near her chin by the time the song reached the final, closing line:

"Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you"


Jan hit the pause button and scrambled for the card, which had fluttered onto the couch during her bout with her tears. She blinked the rest of them away and read what Michael had written, her heart swelling just a little more.

"You seem kinda sad to me, Jan. That's why I picked this song. You just seem kinda broken. And I'd really like to try to fix you."

She swallowed hard and this time whispered a more affectionate, "Oh, Michael," before resuming listening to the CD. The thirteenth track was up, and the instantly-recognizable horn intro brightened her spirits just as instantly. She chuckled in spite of herself.

"You're just too good to be true, can't take my eyes off of you
You'd be like heaven to touch, I wanna hold you so much
At long last love has arrived, and I thank God I'm alive
You're just too good to be true, can't take my eyes off of you"


"Seriously, Jan," the card read. "I don't think I need to say anything more. The song will say it all for me."

She smiled and listened to the first chorus of "I love you baby, and if it's quite alright I need you baby..." before moving on to the next one. She was in the home stretch now. The next track sounded like an R & B song, but Jan wasn't sure what it was until she heard the opening line:

"You are so beautiful, yes you, to me
You are so beautiful to me, can't you see?"


Jan smiled and glanced down at the card. "I obviously can't stress this enough, Jan," Michael had written. "You're so beautiful. Also, really really hot."

She laughed and listened to the rest of the song, sipping at her wine slowly. When it faded into her favorite Maroon 5 song, she smiled and set the glass down, picking up the card again.

"I don't mind spending every day out on your corner in the pouring rain
Look for the girl with the broken smile, ask her if she wants to stay awhile
And she will be loved"


"I really would not mind standing out on your corner when it's pouring rain, Jan," the card read. "Unless you live in a really sketchy neighborhood. Then I might want you to come and stand out there with me, just to make sure I don't get mugged. But you get the idea."

Jan laughed. Yes, she did. That was the problem. The final track was a beautiful guitar melody, and the singer sounded almost John Mayer-ish. It was a sweet song about two people packing up and leaving their problems behind, moving out west. A minute before the song ended, it slowed to an even sweeter melody, the lyrics spearing Jan's heart with their simplicity -- a perfect Michael sentiment.

"So just lie down
And take a load off
Can I sing you to sleep?"


That was where the song ended with a few more strums of the guitar, and then the CD was over. Jan glanced down at the card for the final note from Michael, which read simply, "Would you ever let me sing you to sleep?"

Jan reached for the phone and dialed Michael, waiting for him to pick up before she said, just as simply, "Yes."

"Yes what, Jan?"

Her stomach was somersaulting, her eyes were watery, and her heart was fluttering in a way that made it hard for her to breathe. Maybe he was right -- there was no use fighting it. "I'd let you sing me to sleep."

She felt his smile all the way through the airwaves. "Really?"

"Really." She pressed her lips together tightly for a moment, clenching and unclenching her free hand as she wondered whether or not she was about to make a mistake. "Are you... back home in Scranton?"

"Um... not exactly, no."

"Are you still in New York?"

"Yeah. Do you actually mind letting me in? I've been freezing my ass off out here for like an hour."

Jan's heart leapt into her throat and she went over to the window. Sure enough, on her front stoop, there was Michael, looking up at the window and waving at her with his phone, giving her a close-lipped smile.

Jan didn't know what was happening to her. Her heart was fluttering in her chest like a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl whose crush just showed up to take her to prom. What had Michael done to her? She rushed down the steps and pulled open the front door. Michael was still smiling at her, and flipped his phone closed as he said, "Thanks."

"Michael, you... you followed me home?"

"Yeah," he hung his head sheepishly.

"How did you even know that I'd..." She trailed off and gestured up the stairs, in the general direction of her stereo.

Michael shoved his hands in the pockets of his long wool coat, just as he'd done at the elevator earlier, and shrugged his shoulders. "I dunno. I just knew you would."

She shook her head, amazement glittering in her eyes. "Michael, that was... that was the sweetest thing anyone's ever done for me. I don't... I don't know what to say."

The slight smile that curved his lips was boyish, irresistible, as his expressive eyes danced with mirth. "Most people say thank you."

Jan couldn't help the laugh that bubbled up, and without thinking, she wrapped her arms around his neck. She wasn't one to hug -- or seek any kind of affection, ever -- but, with Michael, it just seemed natural. "Thank you."

She felt his smile over her shoulder as he said softly, "You're welcome. Happy Valentine's Day, Jan."

"Happy Valentine's Day, Michael."



FIN


Of course I have to include Michael's mix CD for Jan in this post! It (plus cover art, and an accompanying icon) can be found here.



{x-posted to michaelandjan}
 
 
 
lovely surprise: {Pat} Rock Ongirlie_girl_23 on September 16th, 2007 07:12 pm (UTC)
*FLAIL*

OMG, I CAN'T EVEN BEGIN TO TELL YOU HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS! SERIOUSLY, JUST... SO. MUCH. LOVE! A;FDHAGDFJ;AHGD!

God, I love how you write them. Just so perfect. And OMG I can so see Michael making a mix CD for Jan, and her reaction being just the way it was! Loving it, but trying to act unaffected.

And he was on her doorstep just waiting... flail!

And OMG when I read the lyrics to Love Is A Battlefield I literally screamed outloud! Just perfect choices!

AMAZING job my dear. Seriously, I cannot even tell you how much this made my Emmy day even better! Just fantastic!

*uses Benatar icon just because*
a.: J; the thing that i did wrongregalish on September 28th, 2007 03:00 am (UTC)
*FLAILS WITH YOU JUST BECAUSE*

HAHAHAHAHAHA. YAAAAAAAAY. I'm so excited you liked this!!! I always wanted Michael to make a mix CD for Jan, because she would just be horrified (but secretly touched *TWSS*) by it.

Of COURSE he was waiting on her doorstep! That is just the kind of sap I am!!! :D :D :D

BENATAR ICON FTW.
Xtaline: m/j the job kissxtaline on September 16th, 2007 07:45 pm (UTC)
This mix is SO Michael! Adorable.
Love Jan's reluctant attraction to Michael and seeing how adorable he is by listening to the mix and his explanations of his choices. And the end?....swoon.
Guh.
a.: M/J; there may not be another wayregalish on September 28th, 2007 02:58 am (UTC)
Heeee! Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it. We all know Michael's quite the teen-pop fangirl :D
Blackbird. Delivers.: Michael/Jan- RAWR kissablog_ortwo on September 16th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
OK there are no words to tell you how awesome that was. I'm smiling here like a giddy 6 year old girl. SO ADORABLE!!! I could totally hear Michael's voice in the card notes!!

I got really excited when you included "Fix You" by Coldplay in there.

*SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE*

I loved that Michael's followed her home and he just knew. GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You know I really need the camera crew for this season to follow them back to the condo.
a.: LE; i've been watching your worldregalish on September 28th, 2007 02:57 am (UTC)
HEEEEE. YAY! I am so glad you liked this! Seriously I was just looking for another excuse to do another fanmix. HAHAHAHA. And along came this fic idea :D

AND OMG YOU KIND OF GOT YOUR WISH FOR THE CAMERA CREW @ THE CONDO. FTW.
(Deleted comment)
a.: K2; it's all about popular;regalish on September 28th, 2007 02:55 am (UTC)
(I AM SUCH A SHIT WITH REPLYING TO THESE. AHAHAHAHA. FTL)

YAY FOR BSB FANGIRLS. LOLOL. BSB/Britney/Xtina/NSYNC pretty much dominated my high school dances. YAAAAAY. You were a Nick girl? I was always in love with Brian.

AND OMG THE OFFICE TONIGHT. DOMESTIC BLISS FTMFW.
mads: J: Ooooh it's from you!fadsy on September 17th, 2007 08:59 am (UTC)
I want to know what happened next! I vote for a continuation. ;)
a.: J; and eyes that burn like cigarettes;regalish on September 28th, 2007 02:54 am (UTC)
Heeeee! We shall have to see whether or not the muse could come up with a continuation :D

Your Jan icon is teh gorgeous, btw.
Violet: OFFICE Jan flustered/smilingviolet4120 on September 17th, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
I'm not going to take any of the songs because I actually probably have them all, but I love Michael's quoting of them to her. Very cute.
a.: J; she's a killer queen;regalish on September 28th, 2007 02:51 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! Glad you liked the fic :D
She was mean and she had seashells in her hair!: office; mj; valentine's daydollsome on September 17th, 2007 09:57 pm (UTC)
Ohh! This was such a fun read -- Jan's reactions to all of the songs, the way she progressed from exasperation to fondness, was just wonderful, and all of Michael's song selections and explanations were just . . . Michael. So, so Michael.

"You seem kinda sad to me, Jan. That's why I picked this song. You just seem kinda broken. And I'd really like to try to fix you."

Aw, man, that really got to me -- it's a perfect example of the childish sweetness that makes him wonderful under the many layers of offensiveness. And oh man. YOU DON'T KNOW THE HALF OF IT, MICHAEL.
a.: L; the super doesn't stand for modelregalish on September 28th, 2007 02:53 am (UTC)
(I AM SUCH AN ASS WITH MY RESPONSE TIMELINESS. FAIL)

Anyway! I'm so excited that you liked this fic! I kinda have NO idea where this came from -- honestly I probably just was trying to make a really elaborate excuse for another fanmix. HAHAHA.

And ohhh, old-school M/J. They make me so happy. I was just re-reading "A Lot Like Denial" the other day, and... OMG WE WIN. STILL.
Uther Pendragon's Loyal Wench: prison mikefirthgal on September 18th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC)
This... was so... incredibly amazing!!!! I adored it! Very unique idea and totally something that Michael would do, being all romantic unintentionally. He was just being honest. I love those genuine moments from Michael, and you captured his innocence so perfectly. His little notes to her were absolute genius, this one especially made me squee:

"Sometimes I feel like all you want to do is use me, Jan. And if it's my body that you want to use, go right ahead. I have no problem with that. But my heart kinda wants more."

Gah, so sweet in a totally Michael way! And him waiting in front of her apartment the whole time? Perfect!!! Oh, sweet, adorable Michael. Jan had no choice, really. I love your version of the Michael/Jan relationship so much more than the show's version. This was excellent from start to finish. Loved it!

I miss your 30 Rock header though. And your 30 Rock fic.

Anyway, this fic was brilliant! Perfect songs, too, by the way, they fit Michael's thinking so well.
a.: J/L; why fight it nowregalish on September 28th, 2007 02:50 am (UTC)
First of all: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I love your Prison Mike icon!!!

Second of all: YAY! I'm so glad you enjoyed this fic. It was fun writing them again... especially pre-insanity Michael/Jan :D

I'm hoping the 30 Rock inspiration will be back when the new season starts up! *crosses fingers*

Heeeeee! Just one week to go now!!
(Deleted comment)
a.: P; still falling;regalish on September 28th, 2007 02:48 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed the fic :)
csiAngel: sga joe cutecsiangel on January 9th, 2008 10:45 pm (UTC)
Awww. I love how she softens more with each song. And what a great mix of songs it was :-)

And who knew I'd read Michael/Jan fanfic? ;-)

Actually I've only seen Jan once so far, but I'm looking forward to shipping them :-) And it's totally showing two episodes a night every weeknight! How cool is that? :-)