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Sam Diane Plane

December 2009

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Dec. 15th, 2009

Chilis Kiss

The Way Back: A Michael and Jan Fic

Here's what was weird (not that he cared, but seriously): She hadn't so much as called him for months now.  Not even a hang up, and he knew because he checked the caller ID log every time he came in the door.  It's not like he even wanted her to, but she hadn't and yeah, it was starting to bug him.  Thanksgiving came and went.  Christmas-- Christmas, for crying out loud-- and nothing.  Not so much as a card or a picture of the kid or one of her stinky candles.  This was where it started getting uncomfortable.  When he began to worry.  And when he let his mind go down that path, he'd end up in a near panic and for what?  It's not like she cared.  That's it.  Movie Monday.  In her honor.  "Dwight?"

She left the office at 3 with the fire of justice (or was it vindication?  Both.) in her eyes, slinging her black Prada briefcase over her shoulder with nary a look back at David Wallace.  She knew he'd study her form until she was out of sight, and measured her confident steps accordingly.  Idiot.  She wondered when they'd lower the boom on him.  If they'd wait until Friday, or just make a clean break now that their rightful new CFO was secured.  "Probably Friday," she surmised wryly.  You never could tell who was going to snap.  

He'd just about lost himself in that Season 1 Entourage ep (classic), when Erin stuck her head in.  "Michael?"  Of course.  Jan would never let him have Movie Monday, so here she was, calling just in time to wreck it for him and everyone, again.  "Auuggghhh..." he vocalized loudly, throwing his hands up in the air as he fake dragged his steps across the low pile carpet toward his office.  He forgot to pause the show in his fake non-haste to get to the phone.  So much to say.

He snatched up the receiver in his loud version of annoyance.

"Great timing, Jan!  How could you possibly know..?"  

Only she didn't.  It wasn't.  Jan.  It was Wallace.

"Heeeeyyy, Michael."

Well, that was cheerful.

"Heeyyy, David!  What up?  Sorry about the Jan thing.  I was told it was Jan."  Pam looked up from her work and rolled her eyes.  Nothing changes.

"Yeah, Michael... Funny you should mention Jan.  I actually saw her passing through the office here today..."

Oh, thank God.  Thank you, God.  She's okay somewhere.  New York.  Wait.  What was she doing in New York?

"Really?  Huh."  Must play it cool.  God only knows what crazy person thing she's up to.  She's okay, though.

"Oh, so you haven't heard anything from her?"

"No, actually.  Did you... happen... to... talk to her?"  Cool, Agent Scarn.

"No.  Uh, listen Michael, I've gotta run..."

"Okay, David.  Good to hear from..."  Click.  "you...  Check ya later."  To no one in particular.

Michael replaced the receiver and put his head in his hands, heart racing.  Only Jim saw.

Jan dropped her keys on the entryway table and listened for Astrid and Lina.  Not a sound.  Well, at least she'd have time to wind down a bit before they returned from their walk.  Nice apartment-- even if the decor had gone a bit Modern Infant.  She strode across the hardwood to get a water out of the fridge and smiled.  It's all coming together.  The best baby ever... best nanny ever... a competent therapist... a kickass job... this finally "home" apartment.  It was in these moments that she fought back thoughts of him.  Him and his damn ketchup fights.  Really?  Ketchup fights?  And then she fought back a smile.

"Hey... Michael..."  Jim lingered a moment at the door, not sure if he really wanted to cross the threshhold.  That was opening up a whole world he just did not want to look upon.  Still, though.  The guy was obviously losing it.  Michael looked up and did the one thing Jim never saw coming: Without a single word, without so much as eye contact, he motioned to him to close the door.  And dumbstruck, Jim did just that.  

"So Jan...  How's the candle business treating you?"  No.  "Have any more babies since we last spoke?"  No. "Where the hell have you been for the last 6 g.d. months?"  No.  Okay, this was gonna call for some improv.  It's really how he worked best anyway.  In the moment, on the fly, saying whatever came into his head and keepin' it real.  He dialed her cell and immediately hung up.

She kissed Astrid goodnight and watched as her eyes slowly shut, perfectly content to be close to her mom.  Well, next week would be very interesting indeed.  A big part of her wanted to call Michael.  To tell him about this amazing victory.  To tell him how it all happened.  She couldn't though, because that would mean telling him the whole truth, and she couldn't bear to hurt him again.  She'd done enough damage.  If he knew the truth about Wallace and Holly, he'd be crushed, if he could even bring himself to believe her.  No, that was something he didn't need to hear, certainly not from her, although she did try to warn him.  On top of that, and even more daunting, was the fact of their own issues.  Dr. Burton thought she might be ready to confront her past behavior and make amends with Michael, but she wasn't so sure.  She was strong enough to fight her way back to the top, but he was another matter entirely.  What would it mean to open herself up to Michael Scott again, regardless of the degree?

"Don't date Holly."  Gah, she was really something, that Jan.  Who the hell did she think she was, telling him who he couldn't date?  Well, he showed her anyway... well, she didn't exactly see anything, but still.  She couldn't control him anymore.  And yeah, Holly was gone, but at least it was on his terms... okay, Wallace's terms, but not Jan's at the very least.  And Holly seemed pretty fine with the whole thing.  He could see that now.  Now that he was fine with the whole thing, whatever stupid weirdness that deal with Wallace was anyway.  Jan wasn't the boss of him.

She hung up the phone, completely unnerved.  She didn't expect it to happen so quickly, and friendly as the board was, nothing she could say would persuade them to delay it.  Her next call was to Dr. Burton.

He got the memo bright and early Monday morning that David Wallace had resigned from Dunder Mifflin, effective immediately.  Whoa.  "Dwight?!"

"Yes, Michael."

"Close the door."

He did.

"Do you know anything about Wallace resigning?"

"Wait a minute.  Wallace resigned?  His job's open?"

"No, it says here that they've got a new VP who'll be making the rounds shortly.  Doesn't say who though, which is weird."

"Maybe it's you."

"Agh, come on, Dwight.  Yeah, and maybe it's you."

"Do you think so?"

"No!"

Dwight was crushed.

"Okay, you're worthless.  Send Toby in here."

"Really?"

"Don't make me say it again.  You know how the name burns my tongue like acid."

"I'm on it!"

And with that, Dwight vaulted over the corner of Michael's desk, flung open his office door and ran like he was on fire to the annex.

She pressed the elevator button gingerly, as if uncertain it would bear her touch.  It did.  Nothing had changed here, and butterflies swarmed wildly in her abdomen and threatened to burst through her chest at the thought of what lay beyond the elevator doors.  She could almost smell him, which when she thought about it, wasn't so far-fetched.  She hadn't lost her cool and she wasn't going to.  This was not a social call.  All business.  Nothing personal.  A quick meet and greet with the branch managers and back to New York.  That's it.  Oh God.  The elevator door opened.  She stepped out and was painfully aware of exactly how many steps would bring her right back to the scene of her last crime.  Her face flushed and her heart hurt just remembering.  How could she face everyone (him) after everydamnthing?  She should just turn around and go back.  Do this by e-mail.

What the hell was taking Toby so long?  Damn that Dwight!  No, damn Toby!  This was all his fault, really.  Everything was.  He paced in front of his desk for a moment, trying in vain to get a grip on his mental state.  In actual fact, he couldn't care less about Wallace or whatever uptight Ivy League suit they'd put in the rotation.  His mind was racing, just as it had been the week before only moreso.  There was nothing that he or anyone else could do about it.  It was out of his hands, just as it had been from the moment they kissed in that parking lot.  Now here he stood, just as he had since she walked out of his life: hurt, alone and afraid.  He sank down into the guest chair, suddenly feeling the full weight of his grief on his chest like a pallet of card stock.  Tears sprang to his eyes as he tried to conjure the last image he had of her, that day she left him in the parking lot.  He winced when he recalled the look in her eyes, and furiously tried to stifle a sob.  It hurt just as much as it did then.  Why couldn't she just stay?  What was so unloveable about him?

Erin jumped as the door banged open.  She reached for the phone.  "No, Pam," was all the blonde blur uttered as it made a beeline past reception toward Michael's door.  Pam jumped when she heard her name.  Her eyes widened at the sight, but she didn't make a move.  Jan hesitated a moment before grabbing the door handle and forcefully turning it.  Michael was startled out his reverie and defensively jumped to his feet, turning to face the door just as she (unintentionally) slammed it behind her.

Her.

Him.

Between them, at least a hundred emotions crossed their faces at the sight.  

Jan cast her eyes downward and took a deep breath, overwhelmed at what he still did to her.  What was it about this man?  

His face softened as he thanked God for delivering her to him.  Despite everything, she was his angel.  I mean, look at her.  A freaking angel in his office.  

She looked up from under a veil of long lashes and could not suppress the little grin that tugged at the corners of her pink stained mouth.  Tears rose again, and Michael's heart filled to bursting with love for her.  He could do nothing more than cross to her and take her in his arms.  No words.  It would keep.  She was back.  This was all.