Holiday Rendezvous by NobleLandMermaid
Summary:

Pam and Jim’s friendship is fragile and their hearts even more so, will a Christmas time prank on Dwight be just the thing they need? 

Canon divergent after A Benihana Christmas. For the Secret Santa Fic exchange

Holiday Rendezvous Banner


Categories: Jim and Pam, Present, Episode Related Characters: Angela, Dwight, Dwight/Angela, Jim, Jim/Pam, Pam
Genres: Claustrophobic Spaces, Holiday, Romance
Warnings: Mild sexual content, Other Adult Theme
Challenges: None
Series: Secret Santa Fic Exchange 2018
Chapters: 6 Completed: Yes Word count: 13418 Read: 11038 Published: January 14, 2019 Updated: December 31, 2020
Story Notes:

The seven elements I received were: Baking cookies, slow dancing, mistletoe, the dark, traditions,  competition, giving in. I think I get a good 5 in here so see if you can spot them. 

disclaimer: The Office and Jim and Pam don’t belong to me. 

1. A Very Dwight Prologue by NobleLandMermaid

2. Observe and Report by NobleLandMermaid

3. Mistletoe and Holly by NobleLandMermaid

4. One Kitchen Apartment by NobleLandMermaid

5. Yours, Always by NobleLandMermaid

6. Mission Complete by NobleLandMermaid

A Very Dwight Prologue by NobleLandMermaid
Author's Notes:
By request, some Dwight and Angela will be peppered in

7:32pm

"You have been compromised. Abort mission, destroy phone."

Dwight's breath quickened and his eyes darted around. He had been so careful, what could have caused the compromise? After disposing his phone the quickest way he could think of, he headed for the door that led to the roof ladder.

His bases were covered, he thought. His vehicle was not on the premise, instead he had Angela drop him off, telling her Michael had assigned a very important task to him and he may need to be at the office very late. Perhaps that caused the compromise, they were being monitored and her presence caused suspicion. But his excuse was believable, she suspected nothing, right?

A few paces into the parking lot, a reflection in the bushes caught his eye. Upon inspection he found a poorly hidden bicycle, all store-bought parts, seat high enough accommodate someone between 6'1" and 6'4" depending on arm length and then the dead giveaway, a Wilco sticker on the crossbar. "Dammit Jim," Dwight muttered. He swiveled his head around and listened carefully for any rustling or snickering, then clenched his jaw and reached down to let the air out of the tires.

Angela's place was a 20 minutes walk and it's wasn't too chilly of a night so Dwight started on his way. He kept his eyes on his shoes, only glancing up to the bumpers of cars that passed. And then he saw it, a blue Toyota Yaris. He sighed with disappointment, he had hoped she was finally above Jim's antics.

Standing on a feline-shaped welcome mat, Dwight knocked on the door in the specific rhythm they agreed upon before unlocking to enter, Angela had said several times she didn't like him just barging in. He took his orange knit cap off as he entered and, as usual, nearly tripped over a cat.

"Dee? Is that you?" a whisper came from the hallway.

"Yes, Monkey," Dwight replied, shrugging off his coat.

Angela emerged around the corner, gray colored bathrobe tightly wrapped around her. "But I thought you were going to be at work all night?"

Dwight nodded, he couldn't very well tell her the real reason he wasn't able to stay at Dunder Mifflin this evening, but there was one thing he could share, "I was supposed to be, but Jim ruined it, like always." Angela pressed her lips together, clearly waiting for Dwight to say more and he chewed the inside of his cheek. "Besides, like you said earlier, Christmastime should be spent with the ones you love."

That got a smile from Angela, and she stepped closer to him, "Take a seat on the sofa, I'll bring you tea."

Dwight felt himself grin and made his way to the living room, but his smile faded once he saw a cat in his spot. "Move, cat," he said sternly.

"Ember will never move if you talk to him that way," Angela called from the kitchen and Dwight shook his head. Her hearing seemed to be supersonic when it came to her cats.

"Cat...Ember, please move," Dwight said quietly. The small furry creature looked to him with yellow blinking eyes and Dwight was about to give up when the cat stood and walked down the couch. After Dwight took a seat, Ember promptly returned to his lap. Even after a year Dwight didn't care much for cats but when one sat on his lap purring, its eyes slowly closing as Dwight scratched it's chin, he suppose he somewhat understood the appeal.

His thoughts returned to earlier, specifically to the vehicle very close in profile to Pam's that passed him by. He had come to tolerate and perhaps even like Pam in the past year. she was an adequate employee and sent and delivered faxes in a reasonable amount of time. And of course she had kept quiet about his and Angela's relationship which was worth something to Dwight. Her fatal flaw, however, was that her affection was clearly reserved for the floppy haired idiot. Dwight suspected all along but it became obvious the day Jim left Scranton and Pam's break and restroom time was 34 minutes higher than normal, her eyes unmistakingly red when she returned from such breaks.

Dwight was proud of her for leaving the insubordinate warehouse worker and figured she would get into a new relationship quickly, she was a sufficiently attractive woman with good childbearing hips. Kelly's cartoonist neighbor seemed like a decent match on paper, and Danny Cordray was a catch, Dwight supposed, that is if things like facial symmetry were important to you.

Then Jim returned and Dwight could see Pam still longed for him, her frequent glances at the back of his head and her hopeful smiles when Jim walked by made that clear. But Jim had started up with the Stamford saleswoman, which kind of surprised Dwight since Pam was now unattached. Did Jim possibly not realize Pam had feelings for him? If not, then he was an even bigger idiot than Dwight thought.

"Here you go, no milk, three sugars," Angela said, handing Dwight a mug. She sat next to him and soon a cat was on her. It was Sprinkles, a fluffy white persian who was Angela's favorite and the cat knew it. Dwight swore she was shooting him dirty a look and Angela began to stroke her fur. "So what did Jim do? Is it something he can be written up for?"

Dwight set his jaw, "No, but he showed up and he wasn't supposed to be there. And then I saw Pam's car drive by."

Angela nodded, "Interesting."

Dwight narrowed his eyes, usually any time Pam was mentioned Angela would make some sort of remark about the years Pam spent living in sin with Roy or how she should have apologized to everyone individually for not giving sufficient notice when cancelling her wedding. "That's all you have to say?"

Angela looked at her cat and pressed her lips together, "Pam was kind to me today. And while I don't always agree with her conduct nor the way she dresses at work I do … I do hope she gets what she wants." Dwight raised his eyebrows, surprised at Angela's remarks. "I still think she should pay me back for the wedding gift I got," she added after a moment.

"You got a full refund, though."

"Yes but I had to drive to get it and then return it, and gas is so expensive right now."

Dwight held in a scoff, this is why he rarely bought gifts. His wedding present to Pam was going to be a homemade basket filled with farm fresh eggs and two basket weaving lessons with Mose at Schrute Farms (an $80 value). That way he wasn't fussed when the wedding was canceled, he just had an extra basket and ate omelettes every morning for a week.

"Oh, speaking of gifts." Angela stood, gently setting Sprinkles on the recliner. "One was delivered today, just for you. I'll be right back."

Dwight looked to Ember still purring away on his lap, and it reached out it's paw and touched Dwight's arm. He resumed petting the cat and let his mind wander back to what Angela said about Pam. While Pam did help instigate the rival christmas party, she was also the one to reach the olive branch out to Angela today, so he too hoped she would get what she wanted for Christmas.

End Notes:
This is officially the most actual spoken dialogue I’ve written for these two hopefully I did them justice. 
Observe and Report by NobleLandMermaid
Author's Notes:
Jim and Pam observe their CIA prank

6:46pm

He has no idea why he's doing this

Well, that wasn't totally true, he wanted to see this prank through (this brilliant, perfectly executed prank), and he did want to see what Dwight would wear to an ice cream social at Langley. But Jim would be lying if he said those were the only two reasons he was riding his bicycle back to work at nearly 7pm the Friday before Christmas.

All afternoon he had been thinking about where the CIA prank could go next, and decided the next logical step was they would want to bring Dwight in and officially meet him. Still, it took all the courage he had to turn back to Pam at her desk as he was leaving and offer up his plan, though when she smiled at him he wondered what he had been so scared of. Once they agreed a helicopter would pick Dwight up, the next step was to figure out how to relay the message.

"We could text him," Pam suggested.

Jim shook his head, "He's got my number memorized by now."

"Yeah I'm pretty sure he knows mine also." She frowned but then her eyes lit up and she sat straight in her chair. "Oh! Wait, I have..." she pulled a box out of her desk drawer and turned back to Jim, "...this phone."

Jim knitted his brows, "Is that your burner, Beesly?" and he had to pretend he didn't still think she had cutest laugh he'd ever heard.

"No, um, this is going to my mom for Christmas." She opened up the box and took out the shiny new flip phone, "They already activated it and everything at the store, I'll just have to make sure I deleted the texts." She opened a new text and started typing up a message. Jim tried to keep his eyes on the phone in her hands, but they kept wandering. First to her left hand, where the lack of a ring on her third finger gave him more relief than he would ever admit, then up her slender arm to her shoulders, where he let himself think for just a second that red was a lovely color on her. "What time do you think? 7, 7:30?" she said.

His eyes returned to the phone in her hands quickly. "How about something really specific, and also in military time. Like 21:21."

She smiled, and made the change. "Okay how about this?" she asked, lifting the screen to him.

He read it over, "Looks good, sounds very official. Send it."

Pam giggled as she clicked the button, but then her brows met, "How will we knew he gets it?"

"Um, next text: 'Reply Y to Confirm or N to decline,'" Jim suggested.

"Oh, nice," she said with a smile and typed up the next message quickly. Within seconds the phone chimed and Dwight replied with a 'Y'.

Jim pumped his legs hard hoping it would warm him up, then stopped just before turning onto Slough Avenue and jumped off his bicycle to walk it slowly towards work. He checked his watch, they agreed to meet a half-hour before Dwight's "departure" time in alleyway next to the business park, and he was right on time. Should he have been right on time, did this make him look too eager?

"Psst, Jim!" He heard the stage whisper behind him and spun around, attributing his sudden heart rate increase to the cold air. Pam briskly walked over to him, her hands in her coat pockets and nose buried in her scarf. "You rode your bike here?"

"Well yeah, kind of gives away the game to have my car in the lot," Jim said with a half grin.

"Why didn't you just drive then park your car down the street?"

Wow, dumbass, why didn't you? "Well because…" He looked to her smirking face and he shook his head laughing, "Because that would have been the smart thing to do, and therefore the obvious thing."

Pam smiled, "Well anyway, if we go inside the gates there's a little clearing in the hedges, we can hang there and see Dwight come in." Jim nodded then looked to his bike. He was sure it would be fine but he was still hesitant to leave it. "Just bring it, we'll find a spot." Pam said, and Jim smiled a little at her reading his face so well. It's nothing, he quickly told himself as he started to follow her, wheeling his bike along. They walked inside the gate and Pam turned left. "It's between the 3rd and 4th parking spot," she said quietly, and when Jim caught up with her, she pulled a couple branches aside and he saw it, a gap between the hedges big enough for an adult person to stand in. But maybe not quite two adults and definitely not two adults and a bicycle.

"Probably should have left this in the alley, huh?" Jim said.

"Here, there's another smaller spot," Pam walked back a parking space and pulled the branches to reveal and second smaller gap, just wide enough for a bike.

But when Jim rolled his bicycle in, back wheel first, they could see there wasn't quite enough depth for a bike. Jim turned the front wheel to wedge the bike in, managing to get it not totally hidden from view but hidden enough for a dark night.

A car started slowing just on the other side of the hedge. "Someone's coming," Pam said, rushing back to the gap.

"Shit!" Jim said through clenched teeth as headlights started to shine into the parking lot, but he was pretty sure he was in the hedges and Pam let go of the branch before the car was even halfway into the lot.

Before Jim got a chance to process how they were standing face to face and awfully close, Pam tilted her head to look through the leaves. "That's Angela's car," she whispered. Jim turned and sure enough it was Angela's little nondescript sedan. It pulled up just a bit past the entrance and the petite blonde jumped out.

"I just don't understand, it's Friday Night, Christmas is in two days. What on earth does Michael need you here for?" Angela spouted off, walking to her trunk.

"It's not my place to question him, Monkey," Dwight said, grabbing a duffle out of the back of Angela's car.

"Monkey?" Jim whispered, he looked to Pam expecting her to be as confused as he was, but she was still watching intently.

"And what is even in that bag?" Angela asked incredulously.

"Same thing as always, Michael's laundry, this way it's waiting at his desk when he gets back." Dwight slung the black bag over his shoulder, "It's just this one night… at least no more than 24 hours."

"24 hours!" Angela turned on her heels and started back to the car. She glanced in the direction of the hedges and Jim was sure she was looking right at them. He drew his breath in and instinctively put his hand on Pam's shoulder to pull her back. Angela turned to Dwight, and Jim looked down, finding Pam's eyes wide and shiny and looking right at him.

Jim blinked and suddenly it was seven months ago in in the office, the dull roar of a makeshift casino under their feet, her face lit by the dimmed lights and her small warm hands in his and he wondered how a broken heart could beat as fast as his was.

He blinked again and took two deep breaths before lifting his hand from her shoulder, "Sorry." She smiled politely and shrugged, though her eyes were still wide, and returned her attention to Angela's car. After a moment Jim managed to turn his head back also, and could see Angela had calmed down.

"You're right, Dee, it's only one evening. It is just nearly Christmas and, well, Christmastime should be spent with those you truly love." Jim's eyes flicked back to Pam for a second, and he told himself it was silly to hope she'd be looking back at him.

"Don't worry, Monkey, we'll be spending plenty of time together this Christmas." Dwight leaned down and pulled Angela into a kiss. Jim looked to Pam, expecting a look of revulsion, but she was actually maybe smiling? "Okay," Dwight practically dropped Angela, "I should really go."

Angela nodded and wistfully watched Dwight walk to the office doors, like a military wife sending her beloved off to war. Once Dwight was out of view and Angela's car out of the parking lot. Jim snapped his face to Pam, "What the hell just we just witness?"

Pam shrugged, "I guess they're together."

"Well that's obvious but 'Monkey'? And how were you not repulsed when they kissed?"

"I thought it was kinda sweet," Pam said with a small smile. Jim had no idea how to respond to that, and Pam took advantage of his speechlessness. "Alright, we need a better vantage point so we can see him on the roof." She started towards the gate and Jim followed behind, sure his bicycle would be fine in the hedges.

Once across the street they stood in the shadow of a building, able to see the roof clearly. Jim reached into his bag and pulled out a pair of binoculars.

"You thought to bring binoculars but not to park your car down the street," Pam teased.

"Shush," Jim replied, smiling as he brought the lenses to his eyes. "Look, there he is, the CIA's newest top agent."

"Lemme see." Pam gingerly took the binoculars and aimed them towards the building. "That hat definitely says inconspicuous."

"I'm sure he thinks bad guys can't see orange, like deer." Jim said, smiling at Pam's giggle. "What is in that bag do you suppose?"

"My money is on three days worth of clothes and some candied beets to give to his new agent friends."

Jim chuckled, "You're probably right." He flashed back to Dwight and Angela in the parking lot. "Do you know what that line about Michael's laundry was about?

Pam grinned, "Yeah, about three months ago Dwight went behind Michael's back and tried to get Jan to make him branch manager. Michael's making him do his laundry for a year as punishment."

"Oh, I think I remember when that happen. Yeah, Jan came in and caught us all playing Call of Duty and I thought we were gonna be in trouble but she just brushed it off and then said something about Dwight being ridiculous."

"You were playing Call of Duty at work? That sounds fun."

"Well it wasn't, I was so bad at it and no one wanted me on their team. Karen would track me down and kill me every time, but I'm pretty sure it was just because she…" He felt his eyes widen and stopped himself before he said 'had a crush on me'. "...because she wanted to haze the new guy." He looked to Pam, half kicking himself for mentioning Karen, half extremely curious how Pam would react.

"I see", she replied, giving a quick smile. Jim assumed she'd change the topic but she took a shaky breath (or maybe he just wanted it to be a shaky breath) and said, "Karen seems really nice, we had fun today with the Margarita Christmas."

"Yes, that was fun," Jim said. He glanced over to Pam and smiled, "It was really nice of you to convince Karen to merge with Angela's party though."

Pam's eyes snapped to his and a nervous look passed over her face before she smirked, "That was unanimous decision from all members of the Committee to Plan Parties."

Jim half-smiled, he couldn't say he knew Karen that well but he knew doing something like that wasn't in her nature. "Whoever made the decision, it was a good thing to do." Pam kept her eyes on the rooftop and despite the dark Jim was sure she was blushing.

"Well, speaking of good things to do," Pam turned to Jim, "we should probably extract Dwight from his mission."

Jim sighed, "You're probably right."

"Do you wanna do the honors?" Pam pulled her mother's cell out of her pocket and offered it to him.

Jim smiled and flipped open the phone, scrolling to messages. He started the message, vague but still serious sounding, then smirked when he added the last bit and pressed send. "There, you should watch and see his reaction."

Pam arched an eyebrow then put the binoculars back to her eyes. Even without help, Jim could clearly see Dwight wind up and then throw something, and Jim sputter laughed.

"Wait did he just…?" Pam looked to Jim with wide eyes, "What did you text to him?"

"Just 'Mission compromised'."

Pam snatched the phone out of his hand and looked at the messages, "'Destroy phone'?"

Jim feigned ignorance, "I didn't think he'd throw it off the roof."

Pam shook her head but she was still smiling, "You're terrible, and you owe him a new phone." Jim was about to protest but she started down the street, "C'mon, we should hide before he leaves the building."

She led them to her tiny hatchback and after climbing in, Jim kept his eyes on the business park gate. "You don't think he's gonna walk this way and notice us?"

Pam shook her head, "Both he and Angela live north of here, and the nearest gas station is up on Birch, he has no reason to come this way."

"Wow, why am I getting the feeling this isn't your first stakeout," Jim teased and Pam just smiled at him. They kept their eyes on the business park gates but Jim could see Pam shiver a little out the side of his eye. He fought the sudden urge to rub her shoulder. "Why don't you start the car, get the heat going?"

"Surely you know better than to have your car running during a stakeout," Pam retorted, and Jim shook his head. "Oh there he is." Dwight emerged from the gate and looked around for a moment before turning to his left. "What I tell ya, going north," Pam proclaimed.

Jim grinned widely but then felt it fade, "So what now?"

Pam shrugged, "I suppose we get your bike and say Mission Accomplished."

Jim had no idea what he hoped Pam would say, that wasn't it though. But he just nodded and Pam waited for Dwight to be completely out of view to start her car. She made the short drive to the parking lot, stopping about where Jim's bike was hidden. Jim climbed out of the car, expecting Pam would stay seated, but she stepped out of the car as well. They stood for a moment, and Jim wondered if she was as reluctant to have the night end as he was. "Agent Beesly, a pleasure working with you," Jim finally said after much hesitation.

She smirked, "Yes, good work as Dwight's handler tonight."

Jim's lip curled at the word 'handler' and she giggled. Once the laughter faded they were back to standing in awkward silence. "Well, the ride back is not gonna get any warmer," Jim said, started towards the hedge.

"Now you know for next time you should park your car down the street," Pam called after him.

Hands on his handlebars, Jim looked back at her, "Next time, huh?"

That clearly caught Pam off guard and Jim felt his smile fade along with hers, they both knew how likely a "next time" was, at least a time that's just the two of them.

Jim turned back, pulled the bike out of the hedges, and immediately could tell something was off. "Shit." Pam asked what was wrong and Jim reached down to pinch his front wheel. "Either both my tires popped a leak or Agent Schrute participated in a little intra-departmental sabotage."

Pam shook her head, "Well now he's definitely not getting invited to an ice cream social at Langley." She then looked back to her car, which was much too small to fit the bike. "We can go find a bike pump, or do you want to call someone?"

He of course knew who she meant by "someone" and even if Karen didn't immediately head out to her parents place back in Connecticut after work, he would hardly be eager to call her. "Tell you what." Pam looked to him and Jim took a breath. "I think warming up inside somewhere would be good, we can tackle the bike later."

Pam's eyes widened, "Oh yeah, um…"

Jim felt his heart sink at her hesitancy, "Unless it's not a good time."

"No it's fine, Christmas cookie baking can wait till the morning. Or…" Jim tilted his head at her and she took a breath. "How are you at cookie decorating?"

Jim furrowed his brows and pretended to ponder for a moment. "Average, probably. Though I'm at least the second best cookie decorator standing here now."

Pam laughed, "Well you can have cocoa and supervise."

Figuring they should go before either if them lost their nerve, Jim circled the car until he was at the passenger door. "First day and promoted to supervisor, nice!" Pam giggled and got in to start the car.

End Notes:
Next we'll be at Pam's one-kitchened apartment (plus we'll see a little more from Dwight and Angela)
Mistletoe and Holly by NobleLandMermaid
Author's Notes:
Quick Angela and Dwight scene

8:11pm

With a wrapped box under her arm, Angela returned to the living room, smiling a little when she saw Ember still on Dwight's lap. She long ago accepted that Dwight was never going to love cats but he had become considerably more tolerant of them in the last year. Occasionally he was even affectionate, such as now scratching Ember behind the ear. Angela took a seat on the couch and set the gift between them. "A little early but Merry Christmas, Dee."

Dwight smiled and reached over, which finally forced Ember to move, and set the gift on his lap. He painstakingly unwrapped the gift (to save it, Dwight was extremely proud of the fact that he had never purchased a roll of gift wrap) and Angela's mind began to drift to earlier.

While he took the matter quite seriously, Angela knew it was some sort of set-up. It felt very much like one of Jim's pranks except much more involved, something carefully planned over weeks instead of just an afternoon. Many times she tried to intervene, make it clear to Dwight he was falling for yet another prank but Dwight always stubbornly refused to believe her to the point she would give up and let him fall.

And then in the parking lot she saw him, in the bushes far less hidden than he thought and Angela narrowed her eyes when she realized he was hiding with someone else. The flash of frizzy hair was unmistakable. Angela was surprised, they were far from the scheming duo they used to be, in fact they had hardly spoken since the merger. It was a poorly kept secret that Jim's transfer and Pam's broken engagement were linked, that something had clearly happened between them. But Angela stayed out of office gossip the best she could, lest she became the topic herself. And for whatever reason Jim and Pam were well-liked so any chatter about them was kept minimal.

But there they were, standing right next to each other, back at the scheming. Perhaps they weren't as distant as Angela thought. No, she could count on one hand the number of times Jim had visited Pam's desk in the last month, and he clearly had something going on with Karen. (Angela scowled, Pam was hardly Angela's friend but she was at least never pushy with untested party elements. A Christmas raffle? Angela had never heard a more terrible idea)

"Yeah!" Dwight's excitement pulled Angela out of her head and back to her living room. "A scale model BS-75 Battlestar Galactica!"

A smile tugged at Angele's lips, "You like it?"

Dwight scoffed "Is Boomer a Cylon sleeper agent?" Angela blinked a couple times, and Dwight grinned, "Of course I like it."

"Good." She scooted over on the couch and gently took the plastic ship out of Dwight's hands. One it was safe back in its box, Angela leaned over and gave Dwight's collar a tug. "I have another gift for you."

"Oh do you?" Dwight replied in a low tone. Angela smirked as she glanced up, and Dwight tilted his head back to the sprig of green above them.

"A little mistletoe."

Dwight frowned, "The berries are red, they should be white. The leaves are correct however." He looked back to Angela, "There's a great mnemonic to remember the difference between holly and mistletoe, it's in German though-"

"Dwight," Angela said softly but sternly and he immediately stopped talking. She arched her eyebrow and Dwight finally got the hint, removing his glasses and leaning in towards her.

End Notes:
A million apologies to my Secret Santa recipient but hey better late than never? Next chapter we’ll see what Jim and Pam are up to...
One Kitchen Apartment by NobleLandMermaid
Author's Notes:
There's 4 inches of snow on the ground so I figure why not a little Christmas in April XD. After their prank, Pam and Jim are heading to her one kitchened apartment

8:08pm

She had no idea how this happened.

Well that wasn’t totally true. The CIA letters to Dwight started a couple months ago, partially inspired by what she was sure was a long distance prank of Jim’s when Dwight would receive faxes from himself from the future. It was just a bit of fun, practicing writing letters that sounded as official as possible, coming up with mundane tasks for Dwight to complete such as reporting on Michael's time use or mapping out the perimeter of the office park. And yes when Dwight would get a new letter with no return address in his office mail, his eyes darting around as he thought he was casually opening and reading his latest instructions, Pam’s gaze would fall on the desk next to Dwight’s and she’d smile imagining a lanky floppy-hair salesmen proudly grinning back at her.

Then news came of Stamford closing and Pam started gathering all the files Dwight had submitted to the “CIA”, which was in fact the never-checked Scranton Office Park comment box in the lobby that Pam happened to have a key to, ready to hand them over to Jim as a “welcome back” present. On the day of the merger she had them neatly arranged in a folder, the plan was to ask Jim for coffee and give him the file then offer to plot out a grand finale prank over dinner and go from there.

But instead Jim turned down her coffee invite and acted strangely distant all day. With one flirty gesture in the parking lot from the pretty Stamford saleswoman it was all explained. He was “evolving”, no more grape soda or rolled-up sleeves, no more prank plotting at her desk over jellybeans.

The day after the merger Pam was all but ready to shred the folder of Dwight’s “reports”, ultimately stuffing it into the bottom of her drawer. But then Andy hit on her in Pig Latin and Jim gave her that look and she decided to revive the CIA project. She even mentally gave it a name, Operation: Rendezvous.

She took the folder home last night to add some more “documents” from Dwight and started writing a note to Jim. It was meant to be a simple “Enjoy your gift, Merry Christmas” but her hand kept going, writing about missing his friendship, and hoping she could start to win it back somehow. Still refusing to stop, her hand wrote about her foolishly believing they could go back to how they were before but that she realized it wasn’t possible. Her fingers continued moving, writing an apology for not being brave enough to ever call, explaining how hard it was to make the decision to leave the only person she’d ever been with and even harder to actually do it, asking for forgiveness and understanding that she was in so much denial, that she she didn't let herself consider there was more behind his smiles and his eyes.

Finally the words stopped coming, and Pam read over the now multi-page letter. It meandered and had plenty of mistakes but it was honest. She couldn’t imagine possibly giving this letter to him, but then again, did he possibly imagine he would say what he said in the parking lot this past May? Before she could second-guess herself she stuffed the letter in an envelope and wrote his name on it, paper-clipping it to the back of the red folder.

It took all the courage she had to get Jim’s attention this morning and call him over, and she prayed he wouldn’t notice her hand trembling as she handed him the folder. He seemed impressed with her work, his smile giving her hope. But then he closed the folder, mumbled something about his promotion and not doing this kind of stuff anymore, and Pam was once again reminded he was “evolving” and that she wasn’t part of that evolution.

(The only upside was the letter would remain safely unread, and the moment Jim returned to his desk, she tucked the whole CIA folder away in her bag to take it home.)

But now here she was, Jim in her passenger seat, on her way to her apartment for cocoa and cookie baking after successfully getting Dwight up on the roof thinking he was heading to Langley.

“The phone thing was a little mean, wasn’t it?” Jim said unprompted, warming his hands in front of the air vents.

Pam shrugged and gave Jim a quick glance. “It was, but it was also pretty funny.”

Jim chuckled and then Pam could see his smile fade out of the corner of her eye. “Oh shit, there he is!”

“What?!” She glanced up the right hand sidewalk and sure enough there was a tall man who was unmistakably Dwight, duffel bag on his shoulder and a bright orange knit cap on his head. “He must have cut across somewhere.” She glanced over and saw Jim fumbling with the sear recliner lever, trying to lay back. She held in a laugh at the image of a 6 foot 3 inch tall man trying to hide in her tiny Yaris. “Jim, you’re only drawing more attention to yourself,” she said, her voice ready to break into giggles.

“Make sure you’re going the speed limit,” Jim whispered and Pam was full on laughing now.

She rolled by the figure at a normal inconspicuous speed and glanced in her rear view to see Dwight just kept walking and didn’t seem to notice anything. “Okay, we passed him.” Pam said, smiling as Jim comically lifted his head to look then moved the seat back up. “What was that about going the speed limit?”

“I’m just thinking surely he had his speed gun in that gigantic duffel.”

Her brows knitted. “He has a speed gun?”

“Yes, remember that time they redid the sidewalks outside the office park and he was convinced that everybody was speeding in a work zone?

“Oh yeah! Yeah he put a ticket on my desk for going 27 in a 25.”

“And it had a little disclaimer at the bottom that it was not a binding ticket so that he wouldn’t get in trouble with the police department.”

Pam giggled and then the car fell silent. After a moment she chewed her lip, unsure what to say. “It’s just another couple blocks,” was what she decided on.

Jim smiled politely and nodded.

“And I’m sorry if it’s a little cluttered,” she blurted out.

“It can’t be worse than my place, half my things are still in boxes,” Jim replied.

Pam naturally would have followed-up but then thought about how his things were in boxes because he’s moved twice in the last six months and then thought about why he moved twice and bit her tongue instead.

She turned into the apartment parking lot and pulled into her usual spot. Everything seemed to move slowly as they got out of her car and climbed the narrow metal staircase to her door and she hoped he didn’t notice her fumbling with her keys.

They stepped inside and Pam flipped on the light. The entrance hallway suddenly felt very narrow, and when they passed the open door to her bedroom she resisted the urge to shut it. Thankfully the light was off so even if Jim peeked in he likely wouldn’t see the various clothes on the floor. The apartment opened up to a living room area, television, coffee table and couch, with the dining table and kitchen beyond that.

“So, this is about it,” Pam said. Jim nodded and Pam twisted her fingers together while he looked around. “You can throw your coat on the couch.”

“Okay,” he quickly shrugged his jacket off and then extended his arm towards her, “I can…”

Pam’s eyes widen and it took a moment to realize he was offering to take her coat. “Right,” she said with a nervous giggle. Once her coat was off, she shuffled to the kitchen and pulled a couple mugs out of the cupboard. “I have tea or cocoa,” she called towards the living room.

Jim appeared just on the other side of the counter, “Cocoa sounds great.” Pam nodded and pulled a couple packs of powered cocoa from the shelf and Jim looked around. “Can I help with anything?”

“Um,” she turned and looked towards the dining area, “if you can move everything on the table there, just set it in the living room.”

With a nod, Jim started stacking up the papers and carefully gathered the Christmas knickknacks Pam had on the table and transported them to the living room. While Pam waited for the first mug of water to heat up in the microwave, Jim started to read. “‘Attn CIA: This summer my boss Michael Scott tried to electronically pirate Entourage episodes and infected the whole network with a computer virus, he then convinced accountant Kevin Malone to agree to take the blame.’” He chuckled, “Wow.”

“Yeah none of us could send email for a week,” Pam said with a laugh. Her eyes widened when she realized he was reading from the red CIA folder, which she threw onto the coffee table with her other work bag contents when she first got home from work. When she remembered the card with his name on it was still paper clipped to the back, her mind started scrambling. “Hey Jim, um, I … need you … for something,” she stammered, her cheeks immediately hot.

Jim appeared in the kitchen with a smirk on his face, “You need me?”

Pam’s cheeks burned even hotter and she gestured to the cupboard. “My baking sheets are on up on the top shelf, under the Tupperware.” He stepped past her and reached up and she was just relieved she was able to quickly come up with an excuse. She directed him to the other materials needed: sprinkles, chocolate chips, the dough of course, and a tin decorated with a Christmas landscape also on the top shelf. While he spread out everything on the table, she finished up the cocoa and walked towards him with two mugs.

After a couple sips, Jim looked at their setup. “What kind of cookies are we making?”

“Mostly spritz cookies.” Pam smiled at his confused brows and opened up the Christmas tin, taking out a silver tube with copper-colored caps and a large screw out of one end. “We’ll be using this.” Jim took the device and turned it over in his hands, brows still knit. “Have you never seen a cookie press before?” Pam asked with a smile.

“Nah, our cookie-making tradition was mostly gingerbread men, and telling my mom I had zero part in making some of them anatomically correct, that was all my brothers.”

Pam giggled, “I can't say I’ve ever been terribly sad about not having brothers.”

“Nor do you have any reason to be,” Jim said quickly. He smiled at Pam’s laugh, then returned to inspecting the press. “So tell me about these spritz cookies.”

“Well you put dough in the top, then select your shape, set it on the baking sheet and twist and voila.” Pam pointed out the dozen little metal discs in the tin. “Want to pick the first shape?”

While Pam filled the tube with dough, Jim sorted through the discs. “I gather they will actually come out looking like something,” he said, holding one with a cutout that was just six lines radiating from the center.

“Yeah, they’re a little abstract.”

“I gotta see what this is supposed to be,” Jim handed the disc to Pam. “Like a skinny brontosaurus.”

Pam smiled and slid the disc into the end. She set the press down on the sheet, twisted about one and half times then lifted it straight up. The dough was now a puffy little creature with two thick legs and a hump.

“A camel?” Jim guessed tentatively. Pam said yes and laughed when he shook his head, “I failed that one.”

After making a row of camels on the cookie sheet, Pam handed the press to Jim. “You wanna try?”

“Yes sure, looks easy enough. Just set it down and twist,” Jim narrated as he did just that. “And… how many twists?”

“Not quite two,” Pam said, pressing her lips together when he went about a half turn too far.

“Not quite two twists, and voila-aaah.” Jim pulled the tube straight up, revealing a camel far puffier than any in Pam’s row. “He’s, um, had too many cookies this holiday season.”

Pam laughed, “Here, set the press down again, don’t turn yet.” Jim obliged and Pam sided up to him, setting her hand on top of his. “Turn about this far,” she gripped his hand slightly and started rotating it. “And again,” she guided his hand back to its original position and once again gripped it as he turned the dial. “Now lift straight up.” Jim lifted the tube. “There, looks mostly like a camel.”

She smiled up at Jim, who looked at her for a moment with an expression she couldn’t quick discern then inhaled sharply, “Yeah, much better BMI.” A smirk then crept onto his face, “Baking mass index.”

Pam scoffed at his dumb joke and playfully swatted his arm. “Here, let's finish this row and then switch the shapes.” She picked another disc from the tin and held it up with a smirk. “Can you guess this shape?”

Jim looked at the cutout that was very clearly a Christmas tree and rolled his eyes, “Yes I can guess that one.” He waited a beat, “Pyramid, obviously.”

* * * * *

With a cookie tray full of sprinkled camels and trees in the oven, Pam looked at her empty cup sitting on the table. “I think I’ll make more cocoa.”

“Here,” Jim grabbed both their mugs and walked to the sink, “I’m iffy on that cookie press but I can handle cocoa.”

She laughed and her eyes looked across her small apartment to the living room, falling onto the red folder sitting on the coffee table. As casually as possible she made her way passed the couch, trying to decide where best to slip the folder out of view. The microwave beeped, and she could see Jim setting the mugs of hot water on the counter. “Hey, I have some Bailey’s under that counter there.”

He lifted his brows, “You wanna Irish up this round?” Pam nodded and Jim smiled widely, “Alright.” He squatted to look for the liqueur and with those couple of seconds Pam grabbed the folder and slid it between two art books on a shelf next to her television. About an inch of the red cardstock was visible above the books but when Pam heard the cabinet door close behind her, she figured it would have to do.

A moment later Jim walked into the living room. “I maybe went a little too Irish,” he said sheepishly, handing her a cup.

Giggling, she took a sip of the cocoa and Jim wasn’t kidding. He apologized and she shook her head, “It’s just extra Christmas cheer.”

“That’s right,” he lifted his mug to her and took a drink. He then nodded to her coffee table, “That looks interesting, Gardens of Monet.”

Pam chewed the inside of her cheek, silently scolding herself for not hiding the book with the folder. “Yeah, um, Roy gave that to me today, I only skimmed it but it had nice pictures.” She briefly considered adding ‘only took breaking up to get a decent Christmas present from him’ but decided that was too bitter. There was a long silence and Pam took a deep breath. She had no idea what to say and as a result blurted out something she instantly regretted. “I saw you and Karen exchange something.”

Jim’s eyes widened slightly, and she knew he was as baffled as her that she voluntarily brought up Karen. “Yes, uh, we got each Bridget Jones Diary 2. We ended up watching it a couple weeks ago and just ragged on it the whole time. Then somehow we dared each other to get the DVD for Christmas.” He let out a nervous laugh, “Sounds a little dumb when I explain it.”

It did sound dumb but also fun, the kind of dumb fun she and Jim once had. Maybe would be having now if things were different. “It’s only dumb if you paid full price for the movie,” she finally said. Jim's eyes darted away and he took another sip of cocoa. Pam’s shoulders dropped, “Oh no, you did pay full price.”

“It was not my proudest moment.” He gave her a smile but it didn’t quite reach his eyes, and both of them started looking at their mugs.

Much to Pam’s relief, the kitchen timer started ringing and she all but ran to the oven. She slipped on her oven mitts and opened the door.

“How did the camels come out?” Jim called from the living room.

Pam set the tray down on the stove top. “Pretty much perfect,” She spun around and Jim stood on the other side of the counter.

“Well, uh, I think this second mug is gonna drive me to the bathroom,” Jim said, fingers drumming the counter. Pam nodded and said she’d get the next tray ready. “Cool, and I’m calling dibs on my chunky camel.”

Pam laughed, “Of course.” She watched him with a smile on her face until he was out of view, then looked to the counter and sighed. She didn’t know what to make of this night so far. Things seemed fine, even good, so long as the conversation stayed on Dwight or cookies. Anything else and the awkwardness immediately set it. Her eyes wandered to the dining table, a bowl of dough still waiting and she figured that means they just need to stick with cookies. She walked over and started refilling the cookie press, not really thinking about how long Jim had been in the bathroom.

Then he suddenly next to her and she jumped a little at his “Hey.” He rubbed his hands together. “So what’s up next?”

Pam motioned to the tin, “I think it’s your turn to pick the shape.” She watched him dig around and there was something slightly different, he seemed just a little more nervous despite the spiked cocoa. She shook her head and told herself she was probably just projecting.

“Okay, I think this one somehow turns into Santas?” Jim squinted at the metal circle.

“Why don't we see,” she said smiling, taking the disc from his hand.

End Notes:
Hmmmmm, is something different about Jim? Or is Pam just imagining things? If you're not familiar with Spritz/Cookie Press cookie here some discs Jim and Pam use (i'll find the funky Santa one too). Here's to me getting the next chapter up before next Christmas!
Yours, Always by NobleLandMermaid
Author's Notes:

We start still at Pam's apartment, with Jim finding something he maybe wasn't suppose to...

Should clarify this is ... not for this year's Secret Santa XD. But determined to get this done!

9:15pm

He really shouldn’t have done this.

Making some lame comment about the cocoa and Bailey’s going straight through him, he excused himself to the restroom. But the real reason for the trip was in his back pocket.

He spotted it going through the red folder marked 'CIA', a greeting-card sized envelope with his name in her handwriting. Flashbacks to a green teapot and a cruel twist on Secret Santa played in his head and he remembered a similar envelope that he still had, despite coming this close to ripping it up and throwing it away at least two dozen times now. With a glance to the kitchen he slipped the envelope in his back pocket, and remained extremely aware of it since then.

Turning the lock behind him, he finally pulled out the envelope and slipped his finger under the flap. Then he paused, was this an invasion of privacy? Would she get angry at him for reading it? Would it even have anything he wanted to read? He rationalized it by reminding himself it was still in that folder and she did want to give it to him, or at least had wanted to give it to him at one point in the day. Before he could talk himself out of it, he lifted the flap.

It actually wasn’t a card at all but a letter, and multiple pages at that. He skimmed the start, a benign “hope you enjoy your gift.” but quickly turned into her recounting how she’s missed his friendship and hoped to rekindle it in some form through this prank. Then his eyes fell on “The truth is…” and he swallowed hard.

The truth is when I heard you were coming back to Scranton, it was the best I felt in six months. It felt like the second chance I didn’t deserve. I hardly slept from so much excitement. When you walked in I thought my heart would burst, I forgot how tall you were and how your smile lit up the room. Jim is back, I thought, My Jim is back. And for a second I thought you felt it too, like maybe this time we could finally get it right. But it was soon obvious that something was different. And then in the parking lot I saw why. And later you told me why (I hate that parking lot btw).

Jim let out a chuckle, he wasn’t too fond of that parking lot either.

I felt like such a fool for getting my hopes up. Of course you were with someone, who wouldn’t be able to see immediately how amazing you are and want to be with you, besides some idiot?

The thing is I did know that in May, I did know how amazing you were, and part of me knew I did want to be with you. I wish I had a good reason for why I said what I said. My only not-so-good reason was I was scared, you were so direct and blunt and I couldn’t not face it. I had pretended for so long but I could no longer ignore that the person I wanted to spend my time with, the person whose smile I longed to see, wasn’t my fiance. By the time I finally admitted this to myself, you were gone.

And I understood why you had to leave, if I were you I would have probably done the same. That doesn’t mean I still wasn’t a little frustrated at you, that I wish you gave me a little time to think about everything.

He chewed his lip, all he could think about this May was how he felt, how much pain he was in. And he was angry at her for not seeing it, sometimes even sure she did see it but she didn’t care. He didn’t think much about how she felt, what the consequences for her must have been.

But at the same time I think your empty chair was the jolt I needed. I leaned on you too much sometimes to cheer me up, I could joke around with you and pretend everything else in my life was okay. Without you there, I had to admit it wasn’t. And it made it clear that I had to call it off.

I won’t pretend I have a good reason for not calling you. I almost did a hundred times, but came up with a dumb reason every time not to. At first it felt too soon, I still had so much to sort out, then suddenly it felt too late

Now I'm not sure where we go from here. I know where I want to go but that's probably not an option. I mostly just miss you, your smile and your laugh and your jokes. You sit five feet from me at work but it may as well be five miles. If nothing else comes from this gift, I hope that distance can feel a little smaller and you and I can at least start to feel like friends.

Yours, always

Pam

His mouth went dry and his eyes darted up and down the letter at different sentences, so sure he was just imagining the words and once he blinked enough they would disappear. Maybe this time we could get it right. I did want to be with you. I know where I want to go. Yours, always. He had been keeping her at arm’s length since he came back, sure she only wanted friendship and unsure if he could even do that. But she wanted more too, had all along.

A glance at his watch made him realize he had been in the bathroom far longer than normal, so he stuffed the letter back into the envelope and into his back pocket and returned to the kitchen.

Pam gave him a sideways glance as he fumbled through the discs for the cookie press and he was sure she could feel his nervousness but she said nothing and slipped in the disc for what was supposedly Santa Clause.

Surprisingly enough, the cookies did pass for Santas, and along with some wreaths and snowflakes they filled up two more trays. They decorated and talked about all things holidays: things like their favorite gifts they received as children (for him it was hands down his Sony Walkman, hers were a tie between art pencils from her dad and a Barbie Dream House. “Had to share that with my sister though, only downside”) and favorite Christmas movies (he was partial to A Christmas Story, she loved both Miracle on 34th Streets. “The older one is just a classic and I had a big crush on Dylan McDermott in the new one,” she confessed). Which then led to a spirited debate about whether or not Die Hard was a Christmas movie

“It’s not a Christmas movie, it’s a movie that happens to take place on Christmas, big difference,” Pam said, taking the latest sheet of cookies out of the oven and setting it on the counter.

Sitting at the table in front of the other batches of cookies, Jim shook his head. “I had no idea you felt so strongly about this, Beesly.”

“I didn’t either!” They both laughed, and Pam glanced at the clock display of the microwave. “It’s getting a little late, we should probably go deal with your bike.”

Jim blinked, he had in all honesty forgotten about the bicycle still sitting at Dunder Mifflin with flat tires. Reluctantly he stood and walked towards Pam in the kitchen. “I suppose you’re right. We can go get the bike pump at my place then you can drop me off at work.”

Pam nodded, then put on a smile, “You’re not leaving without a few cookies though.”

“Yes,” Jim said quietly with a fist pump, and Pam laughed.

“There are some ziplocs in that top drawer by the oven,” she said, taking her spatula and pushing the latest batch onto an ever-growing cookie pile.

Jim grabbed a baggie and when he shut the drawer he saw it. It was obscured by tins and other baking utensils but there was the green teapot on the counter right next to the stove-top, as if she used it every day. How many times must she have wanted to put it in the back of the cupboard and forget about it, maybe even give it away. But there it was, like she was okay being reminded daily of everything, good and bad, she just wanted to keep a little bit of him close by. He thought of the letter in his back pocket and knew what he needed to do.

“Okay, I want a couple of everything, and I’ll also take my misshapen camels,” Jim said, hoping he sounded somewhat normal.

Pam took the baggie from him with a smile, and he tried not to watch her too long as she carefully curated a bag of cookies for him.

* * * * *

“Okay, I’ll only be a minute, I’m fairly sure I know where my bike pump is,” Jim said as Pam pulled up to his apartment building.

Pam arched an eyebrow, “Only fairly sure?”

“Pretty sure,” Jim said with a grin. Pam laughed and said she was fine waiting and Jim got out of the car, walking as briskly as he could without running to his apartment door.

He knew right where his bike pump was, in the closet by the front door. What he was only pretty sure about was the location of the shoebox filled with sticky notes and ticket stubs and other ephemera that mostly pertained to her. It wasn’t in the bedroom closet like he thought, nor under the bed. He stood in his living room, scratching the back of his head and trying to think where it was, eyes falling onto the shelf of DVDs and records. Yes, he remembered, the bedroom was too close, unlike her and the teapot he hadn’t wanted anything that reminded him of everything nearby or in view. He knelt down to peek behind some records and there was the cardboard box. He sat back on his heels and balanced the box on his legs.

Memos with her handwriting, a yogurt lid with paper clips, snapshots from last year's Christmas party, he was so tempted to just leave this box at Mark’s when he moved to Connecticut, or in his Stamford apartment when he moved back. He never did because despite everything he couldn’t bear the thought of it ending up in a trash bin somewhere, because it all still meant something to him. Under the photos was a white envelope with her name on it. He couldn’t say exactly why he took it back, it wasn’t so much he lost his nerve, more like it didn’t feel like the right time.

“You really had to dig for that bike pump, huh?” Pam joked once he was back in the car.

“Yeah,” he replied, rubbing his hands and warming them in front of the air vents, his thoughts only on the card in his back left pocket. It finally felt like the right time, and he could only hope he wouldn’t lose his nerve.

* * * * *

Once parked in the Scranton Business Park lot, Jim jumped out to grab his bicycle out of the bushes and wheeled it to the front of Pam’s car so the headlights could help him see what he was doing. Pam stood there, bike pump in hand and his satchel strap on her shoulder and then stood watching him with her nose tucked into her striped scarf as he filled up the tires.

He pushed down on the handle bars a couple times to test the tires and smiled at Pam, “That should hold at least until I get home.”

“What are you going to do with the pump?” Pam asked, handing him his bag.

“Uhhh,” he looked back and forth between the bag to the bike pump and then lifted the flap of his bag, awkwardly stuffing in the pump to where it only stuck out halfway. “That should do it.”

Pam giggled softly before her eyes fell to her shoes. “Well, thanks for the cookie help.”

“Yeah, it was a lot of fun, I’m gonna see if I can turn my mom onto the spritz cookie tradition.”

They smiled at each other for a moment, then Pam shivered, “Okay, um, text me when you get home?”

Jim half grinned, “Yeah, of course.” He watched Pam make her way to the car door and looked at the ground, taking a deep breath. “Hey, Pam.”

She dropped the hand that was on her door handle and looked to Jim with wide eyes. “Yes?”

Reaching into his right back pocket, he took a couple steps towards her. “I, um, I saw this, when I looked through that folder.” He held out the envelope with his name on it. “I’m sorry, I probably shouldn’t have, I just saw my name and…”

Her eyes on the letter in his hand, she took several unsteady breaths. “Did - did you read it?” He nodded and she chewed her lip before taking the envelope from him, “Oh, okay. Thanks.”

What are you doing, idiot? She thinks you’re rejecting her, Jim’s mind screamed. “Wait,” he frantically reached to his other pocket and pulled out his letter. She looked to him with shiny eyes before taking the envelope and lifting the flap. He had no words and his heart felt like it would jump out of his chest as she opened the card and started to read.

Her eyebrows knitted, “When did you write this?”

“Last year, it was with the teapot,” he said, amazed that his mouth could form a whole sentence.

She continued reading, her eyes welling with tears until one fell down her cheek when she gasped a little. “Yours, Always.” she read with a slight hiccup. “That’s the same thing I -”

“I know,” he said, left out a quick nervous laugh before pressing his lips together, his own eyes starting to sting.

She breathed shakily, little clouds forming and dissipating quickly in front her of her mouth in the cold winter air. “Do you - do you still feel the same-”

He took one more step forward and answered her question with his lips on hers, his arms wrapped tightly around her. She let out a sob and kissed him back hard, her arms circling his neck.

“I’m so sorry, just for everything this year,” Pam tearfully said, burying her face into Jim’s neck.

He put his hand on her head, stroking her hair. “Please, I’m the one that’s sorry, I left and you had to deal with everything on your own -”

She lifted her head, “But I understand why you left, I really do.”

“Let’s just agree we were both idiots this year,” Jim said.

Pam laughed and nodded then stood up on her tiptoes to kiss him again. He kept smiling as his lips touched hers, finally they’re figuring this out. Finally this damn parking lot wasn’t the worst place in the world.

“So, um what about … Karen?” Pam said quietly.

Jim shook his head, “That’s over, completely.” He leaned in, desperate to keep kissing her but she tilted her head down.

“Does she know that?” She clearly didn’t want to say it anymore than he wanted to hear it, but she was right to.

He gave a half smile, he wanted to go back to her apartment for more cookies and spike cocoa and kissing and maybe more but he had to have an uncomfortable conversation before any of that could happen. “I guess I have a phone call to make,” he said, dropping his arms.

Pam lifted her shoulder and tilted her head, “Sorry, I just, I want to get this right.”

“No, absolutely, I want that too.” He took her gloved hands, rubbing his thumbs over the soft knit. “And we’re going to.”

She smiled and squeezed his fingers. “Now, get yourself home before it gets any colder.”

Reluctantly, he let go of her and started getting ready for the ride home, zipping up his coat and pulling on his gloves. “Should have brought a hat or something,” he said, slipping the strap of his bag over his head.

“Here.” Pam unwound the scarf around her neck and reached up to wrap it around him. When she was finished, she had his ears and the lower half of his face covered, the scarf still warm from being on her. “I want this back though.”

“You’ll get it back, very soon.” He pulled the scarf down and leaned towards her and she rewarded him with one more kiss. He wrapped his arms around her and she lifted her hand and softly cradled his neck. It was a lot like the first time he kissed her, up in that dark office not too far from where they stood now. But where that kiss felt a desperate last chance and ultimately like a goodbye, this kiss felt like promise and hope, with many, many more to come.

End Notes:

Okay fine, I dodged actually writing a teapot card, but not knowing what it exactly said is kinda part of the appeal, right?

Oh and if you’re curious, here are some cookie press Santas.  

Thanks for reading. Just one more chapter to tie everything up. Let me know what you think and Merry Christmas!

Mission Complete by NobleLandMermaid
Author's Notes:
Jim and Pam have one more thing in store for Dwight

Christmas Eve, 6:32pm

If three days ago someone had told Jim he would be spending Christmas Eve parked in front of Angela Martin’s house, Pam sitting beside him in dark clothing with a package from him to Dwight on her lap, Jim would have said there was absolutely no possible way. Him converting to being a New York Giants fan and showing up to work in a Manning jersey was a far more plausible scenario. But here he was, eating cookies and joking about Dwight with Pam, Jim’s hand occasionally reaching out to touch hers.

Yesterday he called Karen at the earliest acceptable hour he could. He actually told her the truth, that he reconnected with a girl he long had feelings for and he was really sorry but he had to see where it goes. Sure, he felt a little guilty for omitting that this girl was Pam, but this was his doing, and he needed to take responsibility. 

Karen scoffed, it made sense since he had been weird since the merger, she said. She chastised him a bit, stating it was pretty shitty to start up with her and encourage her to take the transfer if he knew he still felt this way about someone else, before ultimately confessing she hated Scranton and Michael and wasn’t keen to return anyway and now she had no reason to, “so thanks for that.” Jim didn’t push back, since nothing she said was untrue, he simply apologized and hoped she would still have a merry Christmas. “Sure,” she said curtly before hanging up. Honestly, it went better than Jim expected it to.

He sat for a few moments after the call was over, he should probably give it a few days, let everything settle down a bit, But then on the arm of his couch he saw a striped scarf that he really should return to its owner. So, Jim gathered up his unwrapped Christmas gifts for his family, braved the Steamtown Mall in order to visit the wireless shop along with a couple other stores, then showed up on Pam’s doorstep, wrapping her scarf back around her neck before kissing her.

She showed him how to wrap presents with only three pieces of tape, and he mostly could do it (she never said how long the pieces of tape could be). They made some more cookies with a new set of cookie press discs Jim found at the mall, adding some chubby reindeer and snowmen to the pile of camels. They sipped spiked cocoa and he wrapped his arm around her shoulder as they watched the newer Miracle on 34th Street (she practically swooned when Dylan McDermott was onscreen and then apologized for acting like a teen fangirl. “No, I get it, look at those baby blues,” Jim replied, grinning at her giggles). And later in her bedroom he would undress her until all she was wearing was that striped scarf before pulling her to him and falling back on the bed.

“So how are we doing this?” Pam asked, pulling Jim’s mind back to the car and this ridiculous plan they cooked up.

Jim shrugged, “I’ll run up, drop off the box, ring the doorbell and run back.”

Pam’s jaw dropped. “What? Why do you get to do the fun part?”

“Because it’s my gift to Dwight.”

“We’re only doing this because of what you text Dwight.”

“Well, what do you suggest, Agent Beesly?” Jim said with a half grin.

She looked at nothing in particular for a moment, her brows adorably knitted in thought then her eyes widened. “We go up together, I’ll drop off the box and start back to the car, then you ring the doorbell.”

“And I’m waiting ... why?”

“Because your legs are longer,” Pam said, as if it was the most obvious thing. She pulled on a knit hat and put her hand on the door handle. “Let’s go.”

They tip-toed up the walkway to the cat-shaped welcome mat. “Do you think this is the right house?” Jim whispers, and Pam shushed him while stifling a laugh. She knelt down, carefully setting the box on the mat, then nodded at Jim and started shuffling away. He watched her until she was halfway down the sidewalk, then pressed the doorbell. Pam was right, Jim caught up and passed her quickly to reach the car first, though karma instantly got him back when he struggled to get the seat-back down.

“What are you doing?” Pam giggled.

“I can’t find the fuckin’ thing,” Jim muttered, blindly feeling the side of his seat.

“That’s what she -”

“Don’t. Even think about it.” He looked out the window and saw the front door of Angela’s place crack open. “Shit, get down!” Pam lay back on her already-reclined seat and Jim awkwardly leaned over the console until his head was nearly resting on her lap. He turned his head until he could see her smiling face in the side of his eye. “Hi.”

She laughed, “Hey.”

“Can you see, are they back inside?”

Pam sat up to peek out the window then quickly dropped back down. “He’s still reading the letter.”

When they dreamed up this plan this morning (still in bed and undressed, Pam curled up to his side and Jim stroking her soft curls) Pam said she still had some CIA letterhead and wanted to include a final report. “What did you even write in it?” Jim asked Pam, who printed out the letter and sealed it up before Jim could get a look.

“A thank you for his service and details on his next mission.”

“Next mission, huh?” He looked back again and she shrugged with a smirk on her face. 

She then turned suddenly, “Oh I think I heard…” She sat up again and nodded, “Yep, they’re inside.”

“Thank God, my arm is about numb,” Jim sat back up and started rubbing his shoulder. “Now what?”

Pam tilted her head, “More cookies and Christmas movies?”

Jim grinned. “I was hoping you say that.” He leaned towards her, still not quite able to believe he could do that now and and that she would instantly respond by leaning in for a kiss. When their lips parted, he smiled at her blushing cheeks, then turned on the car to head to her place. 

* * * * *

Our finest gifts we bring
Pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the king
Pa rum pum pum pum

“Thank you for this, Dee.” Angela nestled her head into Dwight’s chest as they danced slowly to his Christmas gift to her, a vinyl record of the newly remastered Bing Crosby Christmas album.

Fröhliche Weihnachten , Monkey,” Dwight said, pulling Angela closer to him. “That’s not the only gift I have for you, I brought my pickle to hide in your tree.”

Angela gasped, “Dwight!” She pulled away from him and gave him a slap on the arm, though a small smile was on her face.

Dwight widened his eyes, “What?” He thought for a moment. “Ah, I see, you thought I was making a reference to sexual intercourse.” Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a small pouch. He opened it up and emptied it into his palm, revealing a glass pickle ornament. “It was my grandmutter's.” 

Angela’s smile faded into surprise. “Oh. Well, it’s lovely.”

The doorbell rang, Dwight scowled, slipping the pickle back into its bag. “Who is that?”

Angela’s eyebrows met, “No idea, carolers perhaps?” She started towards the door but Dwight stepped in front of her.

“No, let me get the door, in case it’s some delinquent.” With Angela close behind, he walked to the front door. He opened it carefully and only a crack, listening for any unusual noises. Opening the door more, he spotted it, a small box with an envelope on it. 

“Is anyone there?” Angela whispered. 

“No, just a package.” Dwight opened the door all the way, took a look around the neighborhood then bent down to grab the gift.

“Well, bring it inside, it’s cold.”

Dwight shook his head, “No, always examine packages before you bring them into your house.” The letter had his full name written on it, Who would know he was here tonight, he wondered as he ripped open the letter. 

Central Intelligence Agency
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. Schrute

This correspondence is to update you on the status of the operation you have assisted us with in recent months. This operation, codenamed “Rendezvous” depended on the cooperation of many proud Americans to have any hope of being successful. While we are unable to reveal details of this operation to anyone outside of the agency, we are pleased to report we have achieved the objective of this operation thanks in large part to the information you gathered and passed along to us.

In the course of this operation we are aware you were required to destroy your cellular phone to protect the integrity of the mission. While this was a necessary precaution, we do sincerely apologize for the action. As an amends and thanks for your service, we have provided you with a new cellular phone.

Though Operation: Rendezvous has concluded, we do hope you will stay on as an informant. We are in the preliminary stages of a new operation examining counterfeit goods within agricultural circles. If you have noticed anything suspect in your dealings with other farmers please contact us at the electronic mail address which you will find in the first correspondence on your new cellular phone. 

On behalf of the agency and Americans everywhere, thank you for your service.

He felt the corner of his mouth raise up into a smile, especially at the request for information about suspicious farm activity. The brussel sprout farmer next door had been a nuisance for years. Your time has come, Ruger, he thought with a grin.

“So, who is it from?” Angela said, reminding Dwight she was still right there.

Dwight folded up the letter quickly and stuffed it back in the envelope. Thanks to his height advantage she wasn’t able to see any of it, but now he had to think of a believable answer. “It’s from Michael.”

“Michael,” Angela said, eyebrow arched.

“He must have had it delivered.” Dwight stepped inside and closed the door behind him. He ripped open the gift wrap to reveal a colorful box with a photo of a cellphone. Dwight feigned surprise, “Wow! I had told Michael about losing my phone, he must have gotten me a new one.” He could only pray Angela would buy the story.

With her lips screwed to the side, she looked at the box and then to Dwight, “Well, good you only lost the phone because he made you come in after-hours.” Her mouth shifted to a smirk and she took a step towards him. “Now what was this about hiding your pickle in my Christmas tree?”

“Yeah, you ready for that?” Dwight said in a low tone. Angela looked at him smirking with heavy lidded eyes until he shoved the cell phone box into her hands and retrieved the bag in his pocket. “Okay, don’t come into the living room until I say so,” he said, pushing passed the speechless Angela and running into the living room.

Dwight’s key to hiding the pickle was not to put it in the last place people expected, since that in turn became the first place people would look. He would strive to find the most medium place people expected, and this year he decided the bottom bough, not too far back was a good, mediumly suspicious spot. After placing the ornament, he stood and straightened out his clothes, calling Angela in. “Alright, Monkey, now it’s time to find the pickle, you have sixty seconds to-”

Angela tilted her head down. “It’s right there on the bottom branch.”

“Wha- how did you...” He looked to the branch only to find a cat swatting at the ornament. “Dammit, cat!”

Angela walked over and squatted down to get the glass vegetable out of the reach of the black cat with white markings. “Milky Way, stop playing with Dwight’s pickle.” She stood, ornament in hand, and arched an eyebrow at Dwight again, “Only I get to do that.” She started down the hallway, and with one look over her shoulder, Dwight let out a salacious laugh and followed her.

* * * * *

“Okay, here we go,” Pam walked into the living room with two mugs of cocoa and set them down on the table. She crossed the room to her shelf of DVDs and studied the Christmas section. “We already watched 34th Street and A Christmas Story.” She looked to Jim, “So, Muppet Christmas Carol, or It’s a Wonderful Life?”

“Is that even a question? Muppets, obviously,” Jim with a half grin.

Pam giggled and slipped the disc in, almost skipping to the couch and snuggling up to Jim until he put his arm around her. She couldn’t quite believe it. If anyone told her three days ago she would be here with Jim, playing pranks on Dwight, sipping cocoa and watching Christmas movies, she would have said going to Sandals Jamaica with Michael was far, far more likely. But here he was, and she finally was able to touch him, to smile at him as brightly as he always made her feel. The only thing she couldn’t do was look at his lips too long, because the memory of all the places those lips were last night made her blush too wildly.

A muffled ding sounded, and Pam looked to Jim, “You wanna check that?”

Jim shook his head, “That wasn’t me, I think came from your purse.”

Pam’s brows met as she leaned forward to look inside her bag on the coffee table. It didn’t sound like hers either. “Oh!” She pulled out the phone that was going to her mother tomorrow morning. “It’s the CIA tip line.” She had sent a message from this phone to the pre-paid phone Jim bought requesting confirmation from Dwight that he received the package and letter. 

“Now your mom will be getting texts from Dwight? I’m not sure that’s the Christmas present she wanted.”

“No, I wrote in the message this number would expire in 24 hours, and I’ll block his number before I give it to mom for good measure.” Jim nodded his head, seemingly impressed at Pam for covering her bases and she began to read Dwight’s text. “Mobile phone acquired. P.S. much information on the brussel sprout farmer next door. Will email details later.” 

Jim watched her, clearly waiting for Pam to elaborate on the details but she couldn’t stop giggling. “I’m hoping you’re going to explain some of this to me.”

“Oh my god, I’m sorry. I told him the next mission was to observe and report anything suspicious going on at neighboring farms.”

Jim raised a brow, “So you’re saying we’re about to learn more than we ever wanted to know about the transgressions of Wyoming Valley farmers.” 

Pam shrugged, “Merry Christmas?”

Jim gave her a skeptical look before it morphed into a big brilliant smile and he pulled her towards him, kissing the top of her head. He started speaking softly, “So, after gifting me this great prank, multiple great pranks now, I realize I never really asked you what you wanted for Christmas.”

Pam rested her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes, focusing on Jim stroking her arm, feeling his body move as he breathed in and out. She smiled, “I already got it.”

End Notes:

Thank you for reading! This goes out to my secret santa recipient ... from two years ago (>.<) but I hope it was worth the wait.

My "7 elements" were: baking cookies, slow dancing, mistletoe, the dark, traditions, competition, and giving in. I got the first 5 in there and I would say I arguably got in the last 2 as well.

The pickle thing came from me trying to Google Pennsylvania Dutch traditions and finding this German-American tradition of hiding a pickle ornament on the tree, which as you can see worked perfectly, love those little moments in fanfic research XD 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

This story archived at http://mtt.just-once.net/fanfiction/viewstory.php?sid=5600