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Story Notes:
This fic has nothing to do with Muppet Christmas Carol, thought I’d just rip that bandaid off now. Although it does take place over the course of several weeks, so the message of it feeling like Christmas where there’s love fits. (Also, watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlRpGj7LWS4.)

Also also, to whoever wrote my recipe, I got all seven in! But I will warn you, it will take several chapters to get there, and I deliberately misinterpreted one to be annoying. Which then ended up being the key to the fic, so thanks for that. I’m sorry for the delay and the piecemeal posting – though I did get three elements in chapter one! Promise, this will be finished soon. And soon by real people standards, not by mine.

Look, I don’t ask for much for Christmas, I really don’t. It’s not like I’m begging people to buy me diamonds and… broach pendants. “Oh, buy me something expensive or I’m gonna kill myself.” That’s not… I don’t care about that. All I want is to write fanfiction with publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. that are the property of their respective owners! And you want to make me clarify that I’m in no way associated with the owners, creators or producers of any media franchise? Fine. Go ahead. But when you need my help because I am infringing your copyright, don’t look at me.

Kevin has badgered Jim into duetting with him on Wanted Dead or Alive, and the doc crew is debating between classic Backstreet Boys and Wham. So Pam knows she’s got a few minutes.

She rises and catches his eye, tilts her head towards the bathroom. Jim genially nods in acknowledgement as he and Kevin sing-shout about walking these streets with six-strings on their backs.

Pam makes her way to the bottom of the stairs, then checks to make sure no one else is paying attention to her. Of course with Jim tied up on the mike, none of them are. They all seem to be enjoying themselves though. Even with this crowd, even with Michael showing up, Jim knows how to get people to have fun. She’s really lucky he always puts that skill to work for her.

Not that that’s going to stop her.

Because she saw something. Right before the camera caught her in Jim’s bedroom.

She should let it go. Pam realizes she should let it go. After everything with Phyllis, It’s not worth the risk of getting caught, no matter how hard she works to cover her tracks.

But she has to know.

She tiptoes upstairs, gently nudges open the door to Jim’s room and heads for the pile of CDs on his shelf, and… yes. There it is.

“Human Clay,” the album by Creed.

CREED.

Oh, Pam is going to give him so. much. shit. for this.

She flips it over to make quick note of the song titles. She’ll have to look up the lyrics, because what does she know about Creed? She’s a cool person. Then she’ll find excuses to work them into conversation all day, until he makes the connection and cracks.

This is another nice thing about having Jim around. When he’s there, she can always find something at this stupid job to look forward to.

Pam carefully slips the CD back into the stack where she found it, and does her best to make it look undisturbed. This needs to be the perfect crime.

She scans the room. Has she moved anything, bumped into anything, knocked anything over? And then she spots a notebook page sticking out from the pile of papers on his desk… with her name on it.

Pam crosses to the desk without thinking twice. She pauses to listen for anyone coming upstairs, then pins the pile with one hand and tugs the paper with the other until she can read the sentence at the top.

“Pam – Secret Santa Ideas?”

Crap.

She slides it back into the pile, corrects it once or twice… she’d been so careful with the CD, why hadn’t she taken better note of how his desk looked?... then scrambles out of the room.

Pam softly steps into the bathroom, flushes and washes her hands, just for cover purposes. She’s not blowing it now.

She can’t believe she’d almost spoiled it for herself!

She and Jim exchanged small presents on their birthdays – they’re real friends, after all. But it always felt weird to do Christmas gifts. Because of Secret Santa, she thinks. They usually go to each other’s parties or do something for their birthdays together, some of the rare but always enjoyable times they hang out outside of work, but the office party is it for them for Christmas. It’d be awkward getting something for each other and for their person and then for no one else. But his birthday gifts are always so funny and creative, and she’s seen how good a job he’s done with Secret Santa before. Everyone wants Jim to get their name.

And ugh, hers have always been so terrible. She wasn’t sure which was worse, Michael getting her fishnet stockings or the second flowery nameplate from Stanley. (The first one was at least more personal than the pocket-sized umbrella Roy’d given her that year. And hadn’t led to anyone eye-rolling at her complaints about women’s clothing design.)

She tries to get her poker face on and re-enters the party, grabbing another beer. Jim notices from his new perch on the couch, and gestures for her to come sit, shifting over to make room. He’s so nice to her sometimes.

She gives up the game. She can’t stop smiling.

“What’s with you?” Meredith asks from her other side. “You’re all… cheery.”

“Just excited for the holidays,” Pam says.

Meredith looks at her like she has two heads. Not the way anyone else is reacting to Kelly’s sultry karaoke of Jingle Bell Rock.

But she is excited. Ridiculously excited. She can’t wait to see what he comes up with. She feels like…

“A kid on Christmas,” she says under her breath, and laughs to herself.

Chapter End Notes:
Yeah, that’s it, sliding it in JUST before midnight. Screw you, 2021! Also, again, sorry. (My apologies for the shameless self-promotion linked therein, too.)

So we’re going to pretend the wishing rocks Christmas was actually a wishing rocks birthday, because it’s non-canonical, and that’s what it takes for this to make sense.

It also always struck me that the Kelly nameplate was oddly thoughtful for Stanley. So I’ve created a scenario in which the thoughtfulness is completely accidental.


darjeelingandcoke is the author of 19 other stories.

This story is part of the series, Secret Santa Fic Exchange 2021. The previous story in the series is Lumberjack Jim and the Coen Brothers. The next story in the series is i don't know about you, but i'm feeling 2022.

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