A/N: Takes place just at the end of 3.02, where Jen has broken up with her non-magician boyfriend and Roy heads toward her office to check and see if she's okay. I love the Jen/Roy pairing, and wish it was a little more canon and a little less vague in the show.


Words Per Minute

In the aftermath of the magician, Jen's taking the time to have a bit of a listless stare, leaned back in her office chair, eyes fixed on the lone playing card that's been left behind on her desk. Some sort of commotion in the outer room, a little Irish swearing, and Roy appears at her door with a ginger tap and a tentative smile.

"How's my soldier?" he says, moving in without waiting for an invite, and edging carefully to the hair across from her. He crosses his legs at the knee and clasps his hands. His attempt at an ingratiating smile makes her just a bit twitchy.

"I hate breaking up with people," she says, keeping the listless stare trained on the card. "I hate it worse when they break up with me, of course."

"Of course," he agrees, closing his eyes briefly and inclining his head. She glances up, narrows her eyes at him.

"Why are you being so agreeable?"

His mouth opens, but nothing particularly coherent comes out. Just something along the lines of, "Ach— I— sh— what?"

Typical.

"You feel guilty, don't you?" she presses. "You feel guilty for saying he looks like a magician and making me break up with him."

He raises his hands, palms outwards. "Hey now. I didn't make you break up—"

"No, but you must have known I couldn't possibly go out with him. Not with a magician. Not with a non-magician who looks like a magician, Roy. It's like—" She fumbles briefly for what it's like. "False advertising!"

Roy sits with his mouth shut and stares at her for a moment, while she reflects that he's always doing this. He's always doing something to ruin whatever thing she's got going. Usually without quite meaning to, but she's not willing to give him credit for that.

He says, "You're right. I'm sorry. When I mentioned that he looks like a magician, I forgot to take into account the fact that you're completely anal retentive, and sort of mental. Next time—"

"Next time!" screeches Jen, slamming her hand on the desk. "There won't be a next time! I forbid you to make any comments on any of my boyfriends from now on. I absolutely forbid it. No. No, no no."

"Next time," continues Roy, loudly, overriding her, "I will keep my mouth shut."

"But how will you breathe?" she retorts, not lightly, not jokingly; but Roy has suddenly decided it will serve his mysterious purpose better if he acts like this is all a tremendous joke, and he laughs, falteringly.

"You— you're in a bad way, Jen. I can tell things like that, just by looking at you. But you know what would fix us both up? What would really do the trick?"

"What?" says Jen, frostily. The card is beginning to stare back.

Roy thumps his foot down on the floor and slaps both knees with his hands, as though he's proposing a lunch out. Or something really helpful, something she'd actually appreciate, like a nice cup of tea and a lie down. "If you kissed me."

In her time in the IT department, Jen's become the master of the spit-take; she has a sudden sharp feeling of regret that she isn't drinking something now as he says this. She would have gotten maximum propelling from that. She could have made the imaginary beverage go for acres. She could have reached Roy, probably, even though he was outside the traditional splatter zone. And it would have served him right, too.

As it is, though, she throws back her head and cackles. Post-cackling, she looks at him and says, "What?"

"Just a nice little kiss," says Roy, edgy, nervous, though apparently not at all surprised to have his suggestion met with derision. He half-stands, hesitantly, as though her response has been interpreted as a maybe. "Nothing to it. No— funny business."

This, of course, is even funnier, and Jen takes another moment to get control of herself.

"You can't be serious!" she manages eventually, and Roy takes another half-step towards the desk.

"I'm dead serious!"

"No, but Roy, you can't mean that. You don't go around kissing people just to cheer them up."

He stands still, and swallows, and looks a bit guilty. She scrutinizes him.

"Do you? No, you can't, you can't. I mean, who'd let you?"

At this he straightens up, and folds his arms defensively. She's finding everything funny now, though, so even this doesn't help. She pushes herself out of her chair, punchdrunk from laughter; the chair rolls away as though desperate to escape— she can't blame it— and Roy catches her arm to keep her from falling. He has been nice to her, for the most part, she reckons; and it probably isn't very polite to hoot with laughter when someone offers to kiss you. But she can't stand it.

"Why?" she manages at last. "What's in it for you? Are you— no— hold on— are you blushing?"

His free hand comes up to hide his face; the other tightens around her arm. He shakes his head, curly hair swaying wildly.

"'M not!"

"You are!"

"No, I'm not, Jen."

He is, though. She steadies herself against the desk, and scrutinizes him for a minute. Roy— well, Roy's a good sort. In a manner of speaking. He isn't handsome, God knows, and he's callow and inept and socially retarded. But for all that, she has a soft spot for him. He knows what she means, for instance, when she says that looking like a magician without actually being a magician is false advertising.

She's taken a step forwards, without quite realizing it.

It's not that she fancies Roy, heavens no. But there's a certain something. And the height difference is intriguing, in a way. The capper to all these considerations, she realizes as he ineffectually tries to hide the flush of embarrassment on his face, is that he apparently fancies her. At least he has good taste, she congratulates herself, somewhat facetiously, as though she's giving the compliment to someone she doesn't much like. In fact his sudden interest is nothing if not suspicious— Roy doesn't have good taste, and she knows it, and it's been proven a dozen times over— but she's caught away by enthusiasm for this poor schlub and his unrequited love affair for his boss, and before she knows it—

"You are," she says, and puts a cool hand to his cheek. "You see?"

He is staring fixedly downwards, in the direction of her chin. So she leans up, and says, "Alright." And she puts her hands on his shoulders and her mouth on his. And though in her mind she is painting a pleased picture of the uneducated prole yearning hopelessly after a noble maiden, after the first second or two Roy's instincts kick in and he seems to realize that, yes, he is being snogged. Snogged as thoroughly as possible, given his height and Jen's lack of it. And so he wraps his arms around her and pulls her upwards against him and, well, he's quite good at this after all.

That is unexpected.

So unexpected, as a matter of fact, that she's quite excited about the idea of exploring just how unexpected it is, and what else he's good at. She's not entirely sure if her feet are even on the ground, at this point; and when she buries her fingers in his curly hair and finds that it's soft and clean— thank God for that, you can never tell with these geeky types, some of them might not even believe in running water— she makes a vague sort of pleased noise and that's when Roy decides that enough is enough.

With difficulty, he detaches, and they stand staring at each other for a moment.

Then Roy says, very rapidly, "Thank you, Jen," ducks his head, turns away, and makes for the door.

"Wha—" says Jen. She manages to get back to the chair before she sits down, but only just barely; turns dulled eyes in the direction of Roy's retreating back. "What? Hold on a minute. Get back here."

He stops, and his shoulders hunch before he turns back. His hands are shoved deep into his pockets and he looks like an abashed student called before the headmaster. The headmaster with a reputation for caning.

Jen leans forward over the desk, still stuck in "excited" mode, and gives him her best seductive leer. It's a habit. She doesn't mean to do it, but it happens all the same. Roy gives a slightly sick half-smile in return.

"You never did tell me what was in it for you," she says, as though the answer to this is obvious to everyone in the room. Obvious, but she wants it stated anyway. Just to put it out there. Just so it's absolutely clear.

Roy disentangles a hand from the depths of one pocket and scratches at the back of his neck.

"I'll be honest with you, Jen."

"Please do," she purrs, and slaps herself mentally. Stop it!

"Something—" He pauses, and tilts his head to the side. The next words come out as though he's biting them. "Something happened earlier, and I didn't want it to be the last thing that happened, if I should get hit by a bus or something."

Something.

Jen frowns. "What?" she says, and the irritability makes a reappearance. Hello there, old friend.

He grits his teeth. "I didn't really want to say—"

"Just tell me, Roy!"

"I don't—"

"You can't be so vague about things and expect people to understand you. This is a problem you need to work to overcome, Roy. As relationship manager, I have to tell you, it will continue to get in the way of any and all relationships you intend to have in your life. Nobody wants their questions to be answered with generalities, and in the event that—"

He claps his hands over his ears, squinches his eyes shut, and says, "Moss kissed me!"

Jen takes a very deep breath.

"Moss—"

"Yes."

"And that's why you—"

"Yes." He shuffles his feet and has the grace to look somewhat embarrassed. Jen stands up, very slowly.

"Moss kissed you, and you were afraid that would be the last kiss you ever got, and so you came here to get one from me?"

Roy shrugs, and looks helpless. "I tried to get someone else, Jen. I did ask. I asked everyone I knew. All the girls on Seven. I even asked a homeless lady on the way in, but nobody was having any, Jen—"

"Moss kissed you— don't tell me why— and then you came and—" She brings her fingers up to her lips. Her violated, IT-department-tainted lips. Oh, God. "Oh, God," she says, involuntarily.

"And there was a very good reason for it," Moss's voice drifts in from the other room, where— oh, God!— he has apparently been listening in all this time. "But no matter what Roy says, Jen, we can keep it professional in the office. The tongue was negligible."

Roy has gone into freeze-mode, and is just shaking his head in tight little jerks. Jen knows the feeling, but she is not going to show any compassion at the moment.

"Out," she says, and Roy winces and mouths, "Sorry," at her before obeying.

As the door closes, she hears Moss say, "In the interests of research, Roy, who's the better kisser? Me, or Jen?"

"Oh, God," says Jen, helplessly, and subsides into a listless stare again; a stare even more listless than the one prior to it. The phone rings, and she pokes at it; but she can hear Roy pick it up outside the door. Hear him say what he always says.

"IT, have you tried turning it off and on again?"

And it's only Monday.

This is going to be a very long week.