Title: ever afters
Pairing(s): Ryan/Kelly, Michael/Jan, Dwight/Angela, Jim/Pam
Spoilers: through "The Job"
Word Count: 1,014
Summary: Endings, angry dogs, beet fields, and beginnings. In that order. (The romantic aftermath of The Job.)
Author's Note: This started as just the Ryan/Kelly section, and then I couldn't resist fleshing it out a little. Because it's Sunday, and I have a history paper I need to be writing, and avoiding productivity? It's sort of my thing.
This is how the breakup goes—
Kelly throws a stapler at him. She doesn't miss, either. After like two minutes Toby goes to hide in the breakroom. Michael gets wind of what's going on and starts freaking out with Kelly. Ryan finally just winds up taking off early.
That night, she comes by with a box of his stuff, and rings the doorbell only once instead of over and over like usual. When he opens the door, she doesn't throw anything, or even start screaming. Her eyes are red, and all she says is, "This is yours. Good luck in New York." For the first time in over a year she reminds him of the girl he used to think she was.
He doesn't say anything back; just watches her walk away. It takes him a second, and then he mumbles "Finally" and shuts the door.
"So," Michael says, sitting on his couch and surrounded by the contents of Jan's apartment, of which there are a lot. "Looong day."
"Yeah," Jan agrees, still all frenzied as she sinks down next to him. She's drumming her foot against the floor – taptaptaptaptaptaptap – and he wonders if he needs to get her put on some drugs or something. "This is good, isn't it? This feels good. I think it's going to work. Do you think it's going to work? I think we can really make this work."
Michael sort of does this nodding thing. Which is apparently not gonna cut it.
"Answer me, Michael!" she snarls, reminding him of this dog that their next-door neighbors used to have when he was growing up. He's still got a scar on his left ankle thanks to that dog. Its name was Comet, but right now he's pretty sure its name should've been Jan. Or Jan's name should be Comet now. Something along those lines.
"Yeeeah," he says, and smiles at her, all handsome and convincing. He's been doing that a lot over the past couple of days. His face is starting to hurt. "We can make this work. Totally."
She loops her arm through his and snuggles against him, leaning her head against his shoulder. "Good."
"So good," Michael mumbles.
Just between you and him, he's ninety-nine percent sure this is not good. Not good at all.
The day after Michael's return, Angela goes to have supper at Schrute farm. Afterwards, she and Dwight walk the beet fields at twilight, standing close enough for their arms to graze every couple of steps. There is a sort of faded triumph about him, and although she knows he won't say anything against Michael, his disappointment is obvious.
"Dwight?" she ventures quietly.
"I can't betray him again, Monkey," Dwight answers at once, every bit as fierce as he is tormented. "Michael is our leader, and every one of us must be willing to follow him to the very depths of hell."
"I know that," Angela says gently, even though she privately thinks that she wouldn't follow Michael to the supermarket, let alone hell. Dwight doesn't need to know this. "I only wanted to say—" She pauses for a moment, and can't help smiling slightly, "you were glorious."
His expression softens. He stares fondly down at her before his gaze rises, mighty, to the horizon. "I was, wasn't I?"
"Like an emperor," she confirms breathlessly.
"An emperor," he echoes, reverent. His words are quiet, quickly lost amid the vastness of the fields.
After a couple of steps, his hand finds hers. The moment is pleasant. That is, at least until they stumble across a couple of teenage heathens copulating behind the barn.
The fact that they make the girl cry is a small consolation.
It's not a date-date, really. They take their own cars from the office and wind up just going over to Cugino's, which is nice – comfortable and familiar. It's a lot like the time they went out to lunch right when she first started, only now she catches herself paying too much attention to the way his hands move and the curve of his smile.
For the first couple of minutes, it's a little bit awkward: she asks him how the interview went, and he doesn't quite meet her eyes as he announces that he's gonna be sticking around Scranton for the foreseeable future. He doesn't seem too bummed about it, which makes her so happy that she feels a little bad.
"Besides," he finishes, looking up at her again, "Enough change for one year, right?"
"Right," she agrees, trying not to smile too wide.
She tells him all about her one-day adventure as Secret Assistant to the Regional Manager, and when she gets to 'Absolutely I do,' Jim breaks out into a huge grin and high fives her across the table. After that story's over, he starts recounting The Best of Andy at Stamford. There are a couple of hasty gaps in those stories, the places where she knows Karen must be, but she can't quite bring herself to mind. It just feels so good to be talking again.
When they finally leave the restaurant, they linger for a little while in the parking lot in between his car and hers.
"So," he says, shuffling a little. It's like the prospect of saying goodbye has thrown them back into maybe-date territory somehow.
"So," she repeats – and then, because for some reason all of a sudden it seems so easy to be brave: "I missed you."
For a second, he just looks at her in that way he always has. Then the corner of his mouth quirks upward. "I missed you, too."
Silence falls over them, but there's a serenity to it that's new: it's like for the first time they aren't ruled by the things they can't say. Finally, she thinks without meaning to.
"Call me tomorrow?" she asks, and smiles.
He grins. "Count on it, Beesly."
There's no goodnight kiss or anything; it's not like they're so different from the way they were once. Still, she sings along with the radio the whole drive home.