?

Log in

 
 
28 December 2007 @ 07:24 pm
2 a.m. [The Office; Pam/Jan]  
TITLE: 2 a.m.
FANDOM: The Office
PAIRING: Pam/Jan friendship; Michael/Pam friendship; Jim/Pam angst; Michael/Jan established
SPOILERS: Season four
RATING: PG
SUMMARY:


*****

At two a.m., Jan's still awake, flipping through infomercials while Michael is passed out upstairs on the futon. She's never put much stock in the expression "too tired to sleep"... until now. That's exactly what she is. And she's not sure what the reasoning is behind her inability to sleep, despite how tired she is. Surely it can't be her need to catch up on crappy infomercials. They've already ordered way too much stuff they don't need.

She's torn from her thoughts then as Michael's cell phone rings from the coffee table. Jan stares at it a moment, perplexed as to who could be calling at such a late hour, and reflexively reaches over to pick it up. "Hello?"

"Oh. Jan?" It's Pam.

"Pam, hi."

"I... thought I called Michael's phone."

"You did. At two a.m." And Jan, despite how she tries, is unable to keep the judgment out of her voice.

"I'm really sorry, I don't know why I called, I just..." Her voice breaks.

Something either maternal or sisterly (she's still not sure which) snaps in Jan and she sits up straight. "What's wrong?"

There's a soft whimper on the other end before Pam squeaks out, "I think I might've just broken up with Jim."

Jan almost drops the phone. "What? Pam..."

"And I don't know why I called Michael. Really, I'm sorry about that. It's just... he doesn't like it when I'm upset so he'll normally tell me jokes or something until I calm down."

"Are you okay?"

"I don't know."

Jan looks at her watch, as if to confirm that it is, in fact, two o'clock in the morning. "Where are you, Pam?"

"At home."

"Alright, stay there. I'll be right over."

"How do you know how to get to--"

"Michael made me memorize the way to get to your place."

"Why?"

"In case you needed something and he was busy or dead." After a pause, she added, "His words. Not mine."

So in a matter of minutes, Jan finds herself at Pam's apartment complex, inside and knocking on Pam's door. When Pam opens the door, she's wiping her nose with the back of one hand and her eyes are puffy and red. Jan's lips slip into a sympathetic pout before she can stop them, and before she knows it, she's hugging Pam.

Pam is tense and Jan figures she's probably recalling how she threatened her to stay away from Michael on the day of the Fun Run. But after a moment she relaxes and returns the embrace, sniffling against Jan's shoulder.

Jan rubs up and down Pam's back once before letting her go. "Wanna talk about it?"

Pam nods and finishes swiping at her tears, hugging herself around the middle as if suddenly cold. "Yeah. But not here."

When Jan makes a face, Pam clarifies, "Bad memories right now. Let's go to Poor Richard's -- they're open until three."

Pam leads the way out the door, and Jan drives.


*****

The drive to Poor Richard's is mostly awkward silence. Jan, a few times, considers letting Pam know that she's aware she has no romantic interest in Michael, but... it doesn't seem fitting at the moment. So, she lets it slide into more silence.

When they enter the bar, all eyes are immediately on them and Jan remembers why she never liked going to bars late at night. As they duck their eyes away from all the middle-aged male vultures coveting them, Jan leads Pam to one of the back booths and they order drinks -- Jan a club soda, Pam two shots of whiskey. And Pam rarely drinks, Jan knows, so it has to be serious.

After Pam's first shot, Jan prompts her, "Tell me what happened."

So Pam launches into the story. They'd been watching movies at her place and Jim had made some comment about the next prank he desperately wanted to play on Dwight. Pam had been in no mood for the topic at the time and had thoughtlessly commented back that Jim needed to grow up.

Somehow (how, exactly, Pam wasn't certain) that sparked an argument about how immaturely Jim still behaved. Jim made the observation that she always loved his pranks and nine times out of ten was a willing accomplice, and it was therefore hypocritical of her to call him immature.

Pam had retorted something along the lines of (this was after her second shot, and apparently her memory was already on its way out) how she's becoming a different person, that she's growing, and that immaturity was one of the larger reasons she was no longer with Roy.

Once Roy's name came into things, Pam says, was when things took a turn for the worse. Jim had made some cutting remark about Roy which Pam ignored, and she had then softly commented that maybe they were wrong for each other. It was at that point that Jim had walked out, just a few minutes before two a.m.

By the time she's finished with her story, a third shot has been ordered and tears are streaming silently down her cheeks. Jan can do nothing but shake her head and sigh, "Oh, Pam."

"What am I gonna do?" She downs her third shot like a pro, and for a fleeting moment, Jan is impressed by the young woman.

"Do you really think you and Jim are wrong for each other?"

"No! I mean... I don't think so. Maybe. It's just... I'm changing. I feel like I'm finally growing up. Why can't he grow up too?"

Jan finds herself chortling, thinking of Michael and how he's probably snug in bed, hugging his ("Manly, seriously Jan. Totally butch.") stuffed dog in his flannel plaid pajama set. "Because he's a guy, Pam. I mean, look at Michael."

"But Michael's different. Michael's childish by nature. Jim's childish by choice."

Jan sighs, unsure of how to respond. "I don't know what to say, Pam. I guess... for now, you should maybe try to figure out how you feel about Jim. Weigh the pros and cons." She shrugs. "Worked for me and Michael."

Pam's brows raise as she signals for a fourth shot. "You made a list of pros and cons about Michael?"

She nods. "Yes, and he made one about me." She inclines her head thoughtfully and adds, "Granted mind wasn't quite as... superficial and degrading as Michael's, but..." She plasters on a smile. "Doesn't matter now. It's water under the bridge."

"What was on your list?" Pam asks, and Jan wonders if she doesn't already know what was on Michael's list.

"Oh, lots of things," she sighs. "His tendency to overact for the cameras and dumb himself down so he can look 'cool.' That, obviously, was a con."

Pam giggles, and Jan can tell the whiskey is settling into her system nicely.

"Then there are the slippers he slobs around in."

"Slippers?" Pam raises her eyebrows again and slams back her fourth shot as soon as it's set on the table.

"Mm-hmm. Bunnies."

The fourth shot of whiskey almost ends up all over Jan's (Michael's) sweatshirt as Pam expirates in shock. The table gets the brunt of it luckily. "Bunnies?!"

"Yep."

"Wow."

"Exactly."

This time Jan orders a shot -- after reliving the 'bunny slippers' argument in her head, she feels she's deserving of one, and knocks it back not even thirty seconds after it arrives. "There's more, but we'd be here until five if I listed all his cons."

Pam giggles loudly and sticks her hand in her water glass, fishing out an ice cube an dpopping it in her mouth. Jan gets the feeling Pam will be taking up residence on their couch for the night. And oddly... she's okay with it.

"So what are some of the pros? If there were any..." Pam ventures next, blinking rapidly in succession, though Jan can tell it's probably doing nothing to correct her blurred vision.

"Well, he loves to scrapbook."

Pam spits out a drink of water this time, and Jan wipes off the spray that dusts her cheek. "What? No way."

Jan can't help but laugh. Pam sounds a little like a Valley Girl in that moment, so she can't help but respond, "Way."

"So Michael loves to scrapbook and he accidentally cross-dresses." Pam tries to look thoughtful, but with the alcohol in her system it just comes off as strained. "Jan, are you sure you don't have a bigger problem on your hands?"

Jan smiles, and covertly waves the waitress away when she starts toward Pam's empty shot glass. "But you wanna know the biggest pro on my list?"

Pam nods, a bit too emphatically, and Jan hopes she won't get motion sickness from the movement.

"He understands me," she tells the younger woman softly. "And that's a huge feat, because even I don't understand me."

"Plus, he loves you," Pam chimes in, and scoops more ice out of her drink only to set it on the table, making a circle out of the fastly-melting cubes.

Jan watches her for a moment before she replies, "Yes. He does."

"Like, a lot. Like even when you hated him."

"I never hated him," Jan's quick to defend herself. "I was just--"

"Confused? I know," Pam nods, and Jan smiles. She sees more than most people give her credit for. "Been there."

Jan catches the waitress' eye and signals for the tab as silence befalls her and Pam. Pam stares at the puddle of water on the table from where her ice cubes used to be and sways slightly in her seat. Jan just watches her. Finally, she asks, "What are you going to do about Jim?"

Pam blows thoughtfully through her lips -- what was supposed to be just a simple puff of air but actually comes out as more of a raspberry. "I dunno," she slurs. "Think I should drunk dial him?"

Jan chuckles, "No," and snatches Pam's phone out of her hands before she can press so much as one button.

"Then, I guess I'm gonna... sleep. I'll figure out what to do tomorrow." She shakes her head.

"I don't want to break up with him. I really don't want to. It was going really well. But..."

"But he needs to grow up just like you have," Jan finishes softly, patting Pam's hand supportively.

"Yeah." Pam exhales a sort of sleepy, lazy grin, and looks up at Jan. "Y'know Jan, you're not as scary as you seem to be a lot of times."

"Oh. Well..." Jan's not sure of how to take that. She knows too well that drunk words are, in fact, sober thoughts. "Thanks, I think."

"Thank you you're welcome," Pam slurs and reaches for her purse. "Bed time now?"

"Yes," Jan chuckles. "You should rest."

After paying the tab, Jan supports Pam with an arm around her waist and lets her lean against her on the way out of the now-closed bar. She's not completely certain what song Pam is singing on the short walk to the car, but it almost sounds like "Tiny Dancer."

She helps Pam into the PT Cruiser and gets her buckled in, feeling a maternal wave wash over her when she looks up into Pam's face and sees that her eyes are already closed. Jan smiles to herself and finishes buckling her in before shutting the door and going around to the driver's side.

On the drive home, Jan calls the condo and to her surprise, Michael is awake. "Hi babe, it's me."

"Where have you been?!" Michael practically shrieks into her ear, and Jan has to remind herself to keep her voice down for the sake of her slumbering passenger. She informs Michael of what happened and immediately his concern for Pam comes to the forefront as he continually asks if she's okay.

When Jan pulls into the driveway, Michael's standing on the front steps waiting for them and runs to the car. Jan smiles as she gets out and Michael comes toward her, their lips catching in a brief kiss. "Sorry to make you worry."

He rubs her arms to the second he sees her shiver from the cold, and then he pats her back. "S'alright. Pam needed you." When he nods, he looks grateful, as if she'd taken in a member of his family. And maybe she had. "Thank you."

Jan just barely twitches a smile, realizing just how deep Michael's love for his co-workers went. They really were his family. Pam in particular, it seemed.

They then go around to the passenger side and Jan opens the door. Michael immediately leans into the car, as if to inspect Pam. "Gross," she hears him whisper. "How many gallons of liquor did she drink?"

She chuckles. "She had four shots of whiskey, Michael."

"Jan, she can't have that much, she's a light-weight!" he exclaims in a hushed whisper, like a worried mother. "She was probably one shot away from table dancing."

Jan rolls her eyes. "She was fine, Michael. She just needs to sleep it off now."

"Alright." Still leaning into the car, Michael unbuckles Pam and reaches one arm under her knees and the other around her back, lifting her out of the car and into his arms.

Pam's arms reflexively drape around Michael's shoulders and she burrows her face into his neck, muttering, "Grow up, Halpert."

Michael raises an eyebrow. "Trouble in paradise?"

"You don't kow the half of it," Jan tells him with a rueful smile, and supports his lower back when he groans slightly from carrying Pam.

They lock up the car and head inside, and Michael immediately rushes over to the couch, gently laying Pam down. Jan's overwhelmed by the picture in front of her suddenly -- Pam curling into the couch, a peaceful look on her face, and Michael standing over her, watching with an affectionate look on his. This is what Jan wants with Michael -- this picture of a family. Granted, she hopes if Michael ever has to carry their little girl to bed that it's not because she's hammered out of her mind, but... the sentiment of the picture is all the same.

Jan smiles and grasps Michael's hand, effectively tearing his gaze away from Pam. "Let's go to bed," she murmurs, and Michael nods, squeezing her hand in return.

"Yeah. Okay, hang on a sec." Before they head for the stairs, she sees Michael do something she's certain Pam would never let him do if she were sober -- he leans down and brushes her lips across her forehead, whispering, "G'night Pamcakes," while tucking a lock of hair behind her ear.

To Jan's surprise, Pam murmurs, "'Night Michael," in her sleep while snuggling deeper into the couch.

Michael smiles at her one last time before heading toward the stairs, and Jan places a throw blanket at Pam's feet. Then she follows Michael up the stairs, smiling at nothing (or possibly everything) in particular.

All this because she was too tired to even sleep at two a.m.



FIN


{x-posted to lady_levinson}
 
 
 
lovely surprise: {Office} Two Sharp Womengirlie_girl_23 on December 29th, 2007 05:09 am (UTC)
ZOMG! *FLAILS AT YOU! HARD*

You already know my feelings on this, but just in case you have forgotten... I LOVE THIS! TO PIECES! JADL;FJADKL;FJAFKL;DJAG;ALHF!

Seriously. Just. GAH! It's such a perfect look into two of my favorite uncommon parts of the OT4 and that's Jan/Pam and Michael/Pam. Just... so perfectly written, and my god, the part about Jan buckling Pam in the car and looking at her, and then the way she feels seeing Michael laying Pam on the couch... those two parts just absolutely KILL ME DEAD!

And the whole thing, with Pam needing Michael, but getting Jan, and that actually ending up being better, because she really did need another woman to talk to. And how cute and adorable yet totally sad Drunk!Pam is. And how motherly Jan is towards her, and how Michael just adores her. And the Emjay you slipped in, with them finally being like the Mommy and Daddy to Pam, instead of Pam and Jim being the Mommy and Daddy to Michael. Just... absolutely, positively PERFECT my dear!

LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! And I'm sooooooo glad you're finally posting it!

Did I mention that I love it? *wink*
Yeah, that's me...: The Office [Jan sunglasses]corellianjedi2 on December 29th, 2007 06:57 am (UTC)
GAH! This is too awesome! I love the Jan-Pam interaction! ... And pretty much everything else, too! :D
Way to go!!!
Xtalinextaline on December 29th, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)
Awwww!
I've been kind of in hate with Pam ever since Women's Appreciation, but this is just lovely. I really do want to see Pam and Jan become friends some day...the two women that actually understand him.
This was adorable.
lily barteverypoembreaks on December 30th, 2007 01:18 am (UTC)
"Michael made me memorize the way to get to your place."

"Why?"

"In case you needed something and he was busy or dead." After a pause, she added, "His words. Not mine."


Yes, this is so very, very true. And funny. Actually, the whole thing was but this part just stuck out to me the most.
boredatwork1: Happyboredatwork1 on January 1st, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
I really loved this fic! I think that's exactly how their conversation would go.
easytiger13easytiger13 on January 4th, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC)
i love it! i've missed your M/J fanfic so much! please write more :)
Bibi: (the office) Jan and Michael are disfuncgoinglike_elsie on January 12th, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love it. I love me some office angst and I love when Jan gets to be all in control so this was purrfect for me. The dialogue is really great too.
The Craziest Loser You'll Ever Meetsuperblossom on January 14th, 2008 11:38 pm (UTC)
Loved. Your. Fic.
That was awesome! I missed your fanfics!!! I'm glad you're still writing them, it sucks the show got cancelled. :(