-1Hi, all! So this is my first try at an Office fanfic and it was written very quickly, so I apologize if it's not that great. I just watched the first 6 episodes (which I guess is the whole first season...?) with my roommates and fell in love with these characters, so I wanted to do something with them. Let me know what you think!

First Impressions

He's wearing an ugly tie.

Jim Halpert doesn't normally wear ties at all, which explains why the only one he could find this morning is such an obnoxious collision of orange and blue. He should probably be prepping for his interview, but instead he spends the entire commute trying to think of where he acquired such a sorry article of clothing.

It doesn't really matter, though, because here's his secret: he doesn't actually want this job. A salesman at a paper-production company? Come on. He graduated college with a degree in filmmaking and the only sale he's ever made is his high school video yearbook, which people had to buy. But the job search fills the daylight hours and gives him something to report back to his worried parents.

The first sign that he might actually be capable of working Dunder-Mifflin is that no one seems to be doing anything. The computer screens he can see reveal e-mail accounts and online poker. Not a single phone is ringing. Everyone is moving but there is the stifling sense that they're not getting anywhere: shuffling from desk to desk, stretching or yawning, flipping a stack of papers to feel the breeze it creates.

The receptionist, too, is slow to smile, tearing her eyes away from what he can only imagine is a riveting game of Solitaire. She seems surprised to have someone standing in front of her desk. "Hi," she says, and her eyes linger on his tie. "Can I help you?"

He leans on the counter casually, eyeing the jar of jelly beans she has tucked away. "Can I have one of those?"

She's taken aback, but she laughs a little and hands over the jar. "Are you ... here for something?" she asks, watching as he picks out a handful of purple ones.

"Job interview." Jim glances up from his task to give her an impish grin. "Got any advice for me?"

She considers his question, then leans slightly forward and says, very seriously, "Get out while you can."

Before he can reply, a dark-haired man claps him on the shoulder. "Workin' hard or hardly working? We're not paying you to eat jelly beans!"

"Michael." The receptionist clears her throat. "We're actually not paying him at all. He's here for an interview."

"Oh." He scoffs, rolling his eyes. "I knew that, Pam. This girl -" Here, he turns to Jim and points at Pam, whose expression is one of utter gravity. "This girl is not one for joking. She's been here forever, so I know. She is -"

"Uh, Jim Halpert, sir," Jim cuts in, before Michael can continue. He holds his hand out. "Good to meet you."

Michael bypasses the offered hand and slings an arm around Jim's shoulder. Pam stifles a snort at how ridiculous the shorter man looks; like a monkey swinging from a very tall tree. Jim catches her eyes as he is led away and winks.

Forty five minutes later, Michael seems to run out of lame jokes and self-congratulatory statements and sends Jim on his way with a starting salary offer and the weekend to think it over. He feels like a man returning from war when he finally stumbles back into the reception area.

Pam watches sympathetically as he tugs his tie off. "Look at it this way," she offers from behind the desk. "You survived. And you don't have to stay here until five-thirty."

Jim smiles at her, wondering how Michael could have her so wrongly pegged. "I'll try to enjoy it while I can. Come Monday morning, though, you're going to have to think of something else to cheer me up."

"Oh!" She looks - pleased? Or is that just his overactive imagination. "Welcome to Dunder-Mifflin. Oh, you know what, hold on. I have an office-warming present for you."

That surprises him. "You work fast, Ms. ...?"

"Beasly." She bends and rifles through a drawer, then pops back up. "Pam Beasly. Keeper of the lost and found."

With that, she hands him his gift - it's a tie, a sedate shade of blue with a respectable pattern. Jim's grin stretches from ear to ear as he accepts it. "And my personal hero. Really. That other one was -"

"So ugly," she chimes in, and they laugh together.

Jim's still smiling as he leaves, thinking that maybe he wants this job after all.