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09 March 2008 @ 10:55 pm
Professional Quandary [The Office; Michael/Jan]  
TITLE: Professional Quandary
FANDOM: The Office
PAIRING: Michael/Jan
SPOILERS: Season two


When Michael first kissed her, she had a flashback of being sixteen again. His lips were insistent, hurried, trying to be everywhere all at once. His tongue had glided unceremoniously into her mouth, and if Jan hadn't known better, she would have sworn it was his first time kissing a woman. His hands had remained stationary on her back, arms around her waist, as if uncertain whether or not his touch would be welcomed. He was clumsy, that first kiss. He was a nervous sixteen-year-old boy just praying to survive.

With the second, third, and fourth kisses, however, it was completely different. They'd both had the entire car ride back to her hotel to process that first teenage kiss. They had the entire elevator ride up to the fifth floor to think about the next step. And once they were inside her hotel room and the door had clicked shut, Michael kissed her as a man. His lips were more accustomed to hers and he could anticipate her movements. Jan had been mildly surprised, upon pulling back from that second kiss, to find that they were both stretched out on the bed.

The third kiss was a blur, a tangle of lips and limbs... and the fourth seemed to carry on forever. She didn't remember ever being kissed like that in her lifetime. And then, when it was over, he surprised her by not expecting sex, or pushing for it... but letting her talk. About her divorce, about her dashed hopes, about everything. He let her talk, he let her cry, and he let her fall asleep... all with her head nestled against his shoulder.

Jan had told him it was a mistake, accused him of getting her drunk, but the truth ate away at her the moment those words left her mouth. She was the one that ordered all her own drinks, and though the first kiss had happened by accident... it was no mistake.

Michael wasn't bad-looking, and he wasn't as daft as he came off most times. Most times. But there was a part of him that was still sixteen years old, still trying to be cool to impress the other kids around him. That was what kept Jan away.

Her whole life, she'd been attracted to powerful men. The dominant, arcane males that gave her little or no control over the relationship. With Michael, there was little or no control to begin with, and that frightened her. Often times, she even felt like she was babysitting him, having to step in and remind him of what was right and wrong. Yet, that was part of what drew her to Michael Scott in the first place. The naivete he exuded gave her what little control there was to have over him.

And it wasn't that she wanted a submissive man. Though it was obvious Michael would bend to meet every one of her needs, she also knew that he would be firm when he had to be, or when the mood struck him. That was another reason she continued to gravitate toward him despite the obvious professional quandary. Michael was somewhat of a grab-bag -- you never knew what you were going to get out of him from one moment to the next. He was unpredictable.

Jan liked unpredictable, as much as it sometimes scared her when that spontaneity rubbed off on her. Like the impromptu kiss she'd planted on him on Valentine's Day. Yet again, a surprise was pulled out of the grab bag called Michael Scott and he defended her honor. That little unprecedented shift in his personality shook her and took away some of her control. So she'd kissed him.

Maybe it wouldn't have ended so awkwardly had Michael not tossed a shy glance toward where the cameramen had been recording their every move. Maybe it would've even ended with another kiss, or the promise of a date sometime in the future. But it didn't. Instead, it was awkward and unprofessional and once again reminded Jan of just why she had to stay away from Michael in the first place.

"Why did I hook up with Michael?"

Her rhetorical question, unfortunately voiced in front of Jim Halpert, came back to her as she tossed her overnight bag onto her couch in the living room. Why did she hook up with Michael? She hooked up with him because vulnerability got the better of her after a few drinks. She hooked up with him because, for a brief shining moment, she felt sixteen again. She hooked up with him because he let her cry, and then fall asleep, on his shoulder. She hooked up with him because after one kiss he knew how to kiss her just so. She hooked up with him because she had just the slightest bit of control over him.

She hooked up with him because it was too easy not to. And Jan Levinson never liked to have things too easy.