A/N: Hey everyone – I'm back! Wow I can't believe it's been almost a year since I wrote an Office fic. Ah well – I hope you enjoy this drabble I came up with anyway.
This is set in season 3 during The Job
Disclaimer: I do not own NBC or The Office
The Backslash is Most Important
"Temp," Creed pushed his way through the annex door, seeing Ryan Howard sitting alone at the kitchen table and eating a sandwich. Ryan looked up.
"We've got ourselves a little problem, Temp," Creed peered shiftily through the window blinds before seating himself opposite Ryan. "The cat's been blown – Estella's sunk the battleship. D'you feel me, brother?"
Ryan stared at Creed for a moment, before glancing uncertainly at the camera. "Um, what are you talking about?"
"Don't try to put this all on me, man! I may not have been the perfect father to you, but I've still got dreams!" Creed suddenly shouted, pounding his fist on the table. Ryan jumped.
Creed leaned in close: "The site," he hissed under his breath, then glanced around nervously again. "My info's a no-go… the Coast's gotten ahold of some important evidence, and they're taking my readers, one by one. There's nothing I can do, man," Creed buried his face in his hands. "There's nothing I can do!"
Ryan, for the life of him, could not understand what Creed was talking about. After a moment, though, he seemed to realize:
"Oh – are you talking about your blog?"
"SHH!" Creed shushed loudly, looking around him anxiously. "Not here! They might be listening."
Ryan could not help but glance around the room as well. "Um… okay."
"I've got other chickens to fry, but this sort of deal seems right up your alley, Stretch," Creed gave him a nod and a wink. Ryan stared.
"Uh… what am I supposed to do?"
Creed's eyes widened, as if it should have been obvious. "Y'know – check out the data. Seal the deal. Hit the flo' daddyo! Do I have to spell it out for you?"
Ryan blinked and opened his mouth, not really knowing what to say. Creed suddenly slid a ten-dollar bill across the table toward him and muttered: "You didn't hear this from me," and walked away.
Ryan, bemused, could only stare after him.
Ryan talking head:
"It took me most of the day, but I think I've finally figured out what Creed was talking about in the kitchen. I think he's realized that his blog, Creedthoughts, isn't getting any hits, and he wants me to check out why," Ryan grimaced guiltily at the camera. "It's my own fault, I s'pose. I was determined to do at least a little good for humanity, and, think what you will, keeping Creed's blog out of the public eye did the world a huge favor."
Ryan walked up to Creed's empty desk, glancing nervously around the office. Creed didn't seem to be anywhere in sight, so Ryan sat himself down in the chair, clicking on the Word Document he had used to make his blog.
"Hey, Temp. What'cha doing at Creed's desk?" Meredith asked from behind him, leaning forward to sneak a peek.
"Oh, just troubleshooting stuff," Ryan said evasively, glancing back at her. "Creed asked me to look on his computer and check if everything was running smoothly, y'know…"
"Ohh,' Meredith nodded. "That makes sense. I would ask you to look on my computer too, but I've got some files here that really shouldn't be seen by the general public. You know what I mean?"
She chuckled creepily, and Ryan's face was feeling a bit hot. "Yeah, um, you don't have to –"
"Special files," Meredith went on suggestively, holding the straw of her Big Lush 7-11 cup close to her lips and smirking. "Certain kind of special video files. Mostly foreign…"
"Yeah, I know –"
"… some pretty messed-up shit."
"No, I – I get it…"
"The Germans, Temp," Meredith winked. "That's all I'm sayin'… the Germans."
Ryan sat there for a moment, mortified, when she added in a stage whisper:
"– with horses."
"Okay, I think I'm done here," Ryan said quickly, clicking out of Creed's unread blog and leaping to his feet. He didn't look back as he moved hastily toward the kitchen door.
Ryan didn't see Creed for the rest of the day. Though he had come to know Creed as a delusional, drug-addled old man, he figured the guy would have some sort of proficiency at his job. How else would he have lasted this long at Dunder-Mifflin? Clearly this wasn't the case, for when Ryan asked around the office, no one seemed to know or care where he had gotten off to.
"He does this sort of thing all the time. It's really not that big of a deal," Oscar shrugged when Ryan had found him eating a late lunch in the break room. "Honestly, I get more work done when he's not hanging around…"
"How come he's even able to work?" Ryan asked, frowning. "Why doesn't Michael just fire him?"
"Probably cause it's Michael," Oscar rolled his eyes. "He's scared to fire people, and Creed's been here longer than anybody else, which I guess that gives him seniority over us younger workers."
"So you don't know where he's gone off to?"
"No. But knowing him, it's probably illegal," Oscar said discourteously, crumpling up his paper lunch bag and getting up from the table, ending their little chat.
Pretty much everyone else in the office had the same attitude as Oscar over Creed going missing: don't know. Don't care. Stop bothering me with pointless questions. Go away.
In all honesty, Ryan didn't blame Creed for disappearing. If the office workers had thought this way about him, he would just want to take a break from it all too…
Creed eventually did turn up. It was around 5:20 p.m., and most of the office workers had left for the day. Jim was still hanging around and talking quietly to Pam over by reception, the new guy Andy was talking to someone on the phone, and Kevin was standing by the supply shelf apparently taking inventory, his lips moving and head bobbing slowly as he counted each box or ream, scribbling down the numbers on his clipboard.
Ryan looked around from the copy machine as Creed ambled in, casual as ever. He was whistling 'Eye of the Tiger' and looking distinctly relaxed.
Ryan cleared his throat: "Um… hey Creed."
Creed looked around, and smiled brightly, "Oh, hey Ace! How's tricks?"
Ryan knew Creed only called him 'Ace' because he couldn't remember his name, but it was still better than Temp. He managed a small, friendly grin. "Not bad. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, this came for you…"
He handed him the large manila envelope he was holding, To: Creed Bratton written in black sharpie across the middle. Creed immediately snatched it up, and, with almost indecent haste, ripped it open.
Inside was a piece of paper, and Creed read what was written on it, looking triumphant.
"Oh, yes this is good…" he muttered, staring eagerly down at the paper. "Very, very, very good… oh yes – thanks, brother."
With that, Creed hurried away back to his desk, apparently going to quickly write a victory speech on Creedthoughts. Ryan stared after him for a moment before looking back at the camera, a small smile still playing on his face.
Ryan Talking Head:
He held up the piece of paper to the camera, so it clearly showed what was written: Creed Bratton: 1, The Coast: 0
"I mean, I just figured I'd humor him a bit… it's not like anyone else in this place will take him seriously." Ryan shrugged. "Now I guess its two favors for humanity I've done so far… I guess I have made an impact while working here." His grin faltered slightly, "I guess. Sort of."