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18 April 2007 @ 01:19 pm
You Could Be Happy [The Office; Michael/Jan]  
TITLE: You Could Be Happy
FANDOM: The Office
PAIRING: Michael/Jan
SPOILERS: BIG BIG ones for upcoming eps, so tread with caution


She had been so happy. That was the most prevalent thought in his head as he sat at his desk. She had been so uncharacteristically, deliriously, beautifully happy when she’d stopped in to see him. And it had hurt; caused him physical pain in his chest. He would have been concerned about a heart attack if he hadn’t felt it beating up in his throat.

It had been clear she hadn’t retrieved her messages. No, not when she pulled him into his office by the lapels, kissed him joyously, grinned at him and told him she was having a good day.

Michael had deflated at the sight of that smile, when in the beginning it used to make him soar. He had prided himself on never being a heartbreaker. He was always the heartbroken. And he was in love, there was no denying he was in love, but… this had to be done. To make her his, he had to let her go.

He had been told if he loved someone to let them go, and if it was meant to be they would come back. He knew Jan would come back without a doubt. The first moment they had shaken hands years ago he’d had an inkling that this woman would forever be in his life, but… today, he didn’t want to be the one to break her heart.

Tentatively he asked if she had gotten his message. With another heartbreakingly-stunning smile, she told him she didn’t have a chance to listen to them yet, and promptly reached over him, over his desk, and hit the speakerphone button, speed-dialing herself to her own voicemail.

Michael bit his lip and stared at the phone, tried to will it with his mind to shut up (especially when he heard his own voice start to pour out the speakers), but there was no stopping it. She was going to hear the message. And he was going to have to see her reaction.

When it hit, it hit silently… the air around them eerily still. Michael thought for a moment that it was the calm before the storm. He watched Jan in trepidation; watched her head slowly rise, watched her eyes, bright blue and bleary, focus on his. He watched as those bleary eyes brimmed over and one glistening tear slid down her cheek. A pin could have dropped and it would have been too loud for him to handle.

She wasn’t saying anything and he was starting to fear for his life. He shrunk back from her just a little, in case a slap was to follow. He’d always thought Jan seemed like a slapper. But nothing happened. She just looked at him, a few poignant glistening tears sliding down her cheeks, and Michael was going deaf from the silence.

So he spoke. It was all he knew how to do in uncomfortable situations. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I love you so much, and you know that.”

For a moment, a flash lit her eyes, but it disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, and another tear fell in silence. Michael had to press on… even though he was now pretty much quoting the message she had just been subjected to.
“I love you and I’ll always love you. But you’re not open with me. You pull away from me way too much and we’ve been together for almost six months, now. You’re distant with me and never share your feelings. And even though I love you more than I can say, I can’t live with that. I don’t deserve that, Jan.”

He watched her swallow, hard… watched it roll down her throat and disappear somewhere around her collarbone. She cut her eyes off to the side and folded her arms across her chest. She was still eerily quiet. Where was the yelling and fighting he was expecting? Jan was a fighter; she was strong and could hold her own. She was dominant, so… why the sudden submissive behavior?

“Jan, I told you that I loved you and every time all I heard back was ‘okay.’ I told you I wanted to buy a house with you, marry you, have kids with you. Again, all I got was ‘okay.’ I deserve more than ‘okay.’ I don’t wanna settle for ‘okay,’ Jan. Not with you. I want everything, or I want nothing.”

She swallowed again and nodded, again not giving so much as a sound of response.

Michael ducked his head, slipped his hands into his pockets, and shuffled his feet, voice soft. “So… for now, I guess… it’s nothing.”

It was comforting, almost… standing behind his desk, staring at the floor. Jan was all the way on the other side of it, so he’d have ample time to move out of the way if attacked. He didn’t look up even when he felt her still staring at him.

And he didn’t look up when he felt her turn around, still without a word, and leave his office. He didn’t look up when he felt the inquisitive stares of his employees floating into his office.

He didn’t look up to see Jan striding to her car beneath his office window. He didn’t see her fumbling for her keys, trying to see through her tears, and climb in clumsily. He didn’t look up when he heard her car start, and he never saw her crumple against her steering wheel.

It was better that way.

At least, that was what he told himself.


</i>{x-posted to michaelandjan}
Current Music: "You Could Be Happy" ~ Snow Patrol
Xtaline: m/j xtaline on April 18th, 2007 06:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, hell. You just made me cry.

Obviously, this was wonderful. And sad...but wonderful.
cello_vecello_ve on April 18th, 2007 07:18 pm (UTC)
This was just perfect.

I had tears in my eyes, so....wow.

great job.
Anoel: office michael/jan break up by imaclannianoel on April 18th, 2007 07:21 pm (UTC)
Oh god. You just broke my heart into a million little pieces *cries* Oh, Michael. Oh, Jan. :( It's so sad even when you understand why it has to happen. The beginning hurt so much just seeing Jan so happy and knowing what's to come. The anticipation of listening to the message and not knowing it was so huge for me as a reader which made it all the more perfect for me to be scared along with Michael. And then the end with Jan leaving but then falling apart in the car breaks me. Awww poor Michael and Jan! *channels icon*

Yay M/J fic from you! I hope more inspiration comes to you :)
madsfadsy on April 18th, 2007 07:51 pm (UTC)
Oh my god, thanks for bumming me out! Heh. But really, this is excellent, but terribly heartbreaking.

I like that he knows she'll come back to him eventually. She must!

Yeah, I loved this. And I'm very happy to see a new M/J fic from you.
stevsie87stevsie87 on April 19th, 2007 02:59 am (UTC)
aww I'm almost as heartbroken as Michael and Jan are. So beautifully written and poignant though. Bravo.
Paperback Writer: movie {Sunshine} how to save a lifewickedground on April 19th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
*sniff* :(
yourmomroxxs: pic#59693531yourmomroxxs on April 22nd, 2007 06:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah! I'm glad you were inspired (even if it was angsty ;)). I really cannot wait until WA and this story makes me want to see it even more. Besides how potentially great the episode may be, it'll mean all but one exam for me is left. Woot!