Author Notes: This really doesn't fit into the timeline anywhere (unless something happens in the next few episodes that none of us think will happen), so let's just call it mildly AU.

I said I wasn't going to venture into The Office anymore, but I want to give it another try. I needed to write something better than my first attempt (which I freely admit was poorly executed - if you pardon the pun, which you'd get if you read it).

One final thing: I really can't stand the notion of Pam and Toby together. It's just unsettling, but it's something that I felt needed to be explored. That being said, this isn't a happy fic.


Against everyone's expectations, against many hopes, against all odds, despite the turmoil and the hardship, the inexplicable happened: Jim and Karen had managed to make it work. The definitive proof occured when Kevin saw the two of them making goo-goo eyes at each other, went up to Jim and said, "Nice..." in the way that he does, and Jim just smiled at him, sheepishly. And Jim and Karen were too taken up with each other to notice that Pam had run from the room crying. But he noticed.

So he'd offered his HR shoulder to cry on. He did his supportive bit, his understanding bit. If he were a different man he might have taken advantage of the opportunity to become something more than just a crutch to her, but he hadn't. He could never get out any more than the impersonally friendly and stilted banter, and he hated himself for it. In the end he had just acquiesced to her will.

It will start again, Toby realizes, when he catches the two lovebirds casting flirtatious glances across the office. A little smile here, a wink and a wave there, and pretty soon they have Pam scowling, arms crossed, just this side of a hissy-fit. It won't take her long, he reckons, and is proven right shortly thereafter. It's a little past ten when she finds a moment of privacy and beckons to him with her finger, not that he needed such an obvious signal. She exits the room and he follows discretely a minute later.

By the time he reaches the bottom of the stairs he's already unzipping his pants, and she has her cardigan off and her panties pulled down. They embraced rapidly and roughly, he sliding his hand up her skirt and she fumbling desperately into his boxers. Pam moans as she guides him into her, and he sighs too at the feeling of penetration. He can feel her nipple stiffen under the cotton of her blouse as he kneads her breast with his hand (the one that used to bear his wedding ring), and he can feel her now bare left hand clutching his side underneath his suit jacket.

Toby snakes a hand through her hair, relishing the tingle the sandy light brown curls ellicit in his skin. He ducks down to nibble at her earlobe, then looses a few buttons to kiss her collarbone and the nape of her neck, drawing gasps from the receptionist. He plans his next move carefully, tentatively, not wanting (No! Desperately needing but frightful of the consequences) to go too far.

A month ago he had tried to kiss her on the mouth. A bold move by his standards made in a fleeting moment of bravery, foolhardiness, and fervent desire to make this... whatever the hell it was... into something more (something normal, something sane). She'd abruptly pushed him away, tidied up her clothes, and left with just the terse word, "No." Two days later she had come to him again, like nothing had happened, like she wasn't batshit, like she hadn't just got up and left while they were having sex because he had dared to kiss her.

He never dared again.

This charade was slowly ripping his insides apart. Every morning the game he played with Pam crushed his spirits a little more, consumed his soul a little more, broke his heart just a little more. Existance was sorry and depressing and he wasn't sure if he could make it through another day of this hell. Of course that was also the reason why he had begun this horror in the first place.

Toby never could really figure out why Michael had it in for him, though he had some ideas as to why. Nothing that really made sense to him, but he knew that there were a few things in their mutual past that he could see as reasons - just not enough for the level of animosity to make sense to him. Were a few minor transgressions truly justification for the showcased humiliation that he was put through so often? Was the corporate label really worth the televised condemnation? Obviously Michael thought so. He said mean, vindictive things to him and about him, tormented him at every opportunity. The worst part was that much of the vitriol was right on the money.

He hated so much about what he had chosen to be as well. He was still devastated by his divorce even after all these years. Every day he tries to fill that void, to find something or someone to take away that pain; he's never succeeded. Social interactions were just so hard for him. He's pretty much resigned himself to never fitting in with anyone anywhere, and the lack of human companionship was wearing him down. Everyone else had their tight-knit circle of friends, or extended groups of buddies, or just one faithful confidant to be their safety net for when the bad things happen. Toby couldn't name one honest to God good friend. He had work friends he never saw outside the office. He had old college buddies he rarely if ever heard from. His high school friends he'll consider friends for ever, but he realizes now that they don't have anything in common anymore and he only sees them whenever one passes through the region. They're all much more successful than he is.

So pretty much all of the insults were true.

Well, not the convicted rapist thing.

The one thing he has is his daughter (on alternating weekends). And now he has Pam, only her body (he knows he'll never have her heart), for eight (give or take) minutes somewhere between 9:14 am and 10:36 am most weekday mornings.

When things got bad, Toby had a history of taking self-destructive action. His Amsterdam trip was proof of that. His midlife crisis Saab (seriously, who the hell gets a Saab for their midlife crisis car?) payments have forced him to pennypinch in almost every other purchase since. This was no better. In many ways it was worse because he was not just stringing himself along in some vicious cycle of self-misery, but was dragging down a wonderful young woman with him.

They used each other for sex to try to forget that neither of them had what they wanted in life. He hated that he was using her. He didn't hate that she was using him. He could accept that (it's not like it hadn't happened before).

It's a quarter after ten, and he has Pam's leg hooked around his lower body as he pumps into her. Their fingers are grasping like talons into each other's backs, but they don't look at each other. Toby plants kisses along her neck and up to her jaw but no futher. He notices that her jaw is clenched.

He shudders as he comes into her. She doesn't at all. In a way he thinks this is a good sign. Maybe if he fails to satisfy her enough she'll call an end to the charade and maybe, just maybe, they'll both be able to find whatever it is that they're searching for.