Hymns of Them by Stablergirl
Summary:

Do you know which character is which?


Categories: Past, Other, Present Characters: Ensemble
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 3 Completed: No Word count: 3151 Read: 4686 Published: January 23, 2008 Updated: January 29, 2008
Story Notes:

This story is a game, from me to you.  I'm sure it won't be that difficult to figure out, but each chapter is the "hymn" of a different character from the show, and I don't divulge names. (That's the game part...) 

Disclaimers: I do not own The Office or the characters, and I mean no harm in borrowing them for a while.  No copywrite infringement is intended.

1. Opus 1 by Stablergirl

2. Opus 2 by Stablergirl

3. Opus 3 by Stablergirl

Opus 1 by Stablergirl
Author's Notes:
Not the most difficult to determine in the bunch, I suppose.  But this was the first one that came out of me, so have fun.

She had long lonely nights.

She decided to admit that to herself because, she reasoned, once she acknowledged it she would own it.  It would become a slave to her instead of the other way around and she would be beautiful despite her heavy solitude...She would be alone just as she had been before him and that would be right. The act of believing was inside of her and she knew that it could be gripped with strong fingers because she’d done it before, she’d believed in many things and she had always believed in herself. But once the sun had gone down and the air had that certain evening chill she found she had a new lack of surety. She found she had new confusion and new uncertainty.

She had long lonely nights.

Her only midnight refuge was the vast expanse of mirror in her bathroom, and she found herself frowning into it…staring into it and wondering where she had gone, how she had become so soft and so defenseless, so aware of her own frailty. She would stand and stare and the clock would continue because time somehow worked that way… Time somehow trudged on even when things seemed so strange and different, even when things seemed to have ended. Even when she’d made mistakes. Even when she acknowledged them. Time trudged on ahead of her.

She had long lonely nights.

Her arms were always cold beneath her blankets and the flannel of her pajamas seemed only to choke her instead of warming her like it should. Her arms were always cold and her arms were always empty and she thought maybe if she just admitted to this one mistake…if she took it all back and offered him forgiveness, just this once, things would turn out ok and she would forget the crack in her unmoving and unmoved veneer because then her arms would be warm and full and she would get to try again.

She had long lonely nights.

She climbed from her bed and she looked herself in the eye, concrete-hard, ice-box-cold. She looked herself in the eye. She had always prided herself on her pride…she had always judged herself on her sound judgment…and now it seemed she was wavering. Now it seemed she was forgiving mistakes and she could feel the foreign syllables of “I’m sorry” tripping on her tongue, and she was unsettled. She was weak and she was folding and she almost couldn’t believe her own eyes.

Righteousness.

Certainty.

Courage.

Faith.

These were the names she had called herself.

And as she stood there now, eye to eye with her own reflection, she had trouble finding those words in the soft slope of her shoulders, in the gentle tilt of her head, in the glistening sheen of her eye…she couldn’t find herself.

Because she had these long lonely nights. She had regret and remorse.

She dialed his number without once looking away from the mirror and as she pressed the phone to her ear and finally forced out that remarkably sincere apology she shrugged and she sighed in defeated resignation because sometimes she couldn’t help but be just as weak as the rest of mankind, just as emotional and wrong in her choices, just as confused and just as alone. And so what if she’d lost the things she’d named herself when she was only a child? So what if she’d momentarily abandoned the sharp outlines of her views and her reasons? So what if just this once she’d given in?

Who was she, anyway?

End Notes:

 

Ok, thoughts? Too weird a concept to continue?

Opus 2 by Stablergirl
Author's Notes:

This one I'm not as secure about, but I guess it is what it is.

 

It hadn’t always been like this.

At least…he didn’t think it had, but sometimes he had trouble remembering what his life was like before Dunder Mifflin and mortgages and bills and the things that made him sigh in frustration and rub at his eyes. He rubbed at his eyes like that would change the numbers on the paper in front of him that clearly stated how deep in debt he really was. He thought for a second about selling the kitchen chair he was sitting on, and figured that would probably get him about twenty bucks to put in the bank. He could just stand up while he ate his dinner, he figured, it didn‘t make a difference to him. He could sell his car and walk the five miles to work every day…that way maybe he could lose a few pounds and save himself some money…

But, he considered somewhere deep down inside of him…somewhere quiet and free of his usual disdain for the world…but, even if he sold his car, even if he sold the chairs upon which he sat, how long could he really go on like this? How long could he go on cutting corners and begging for bonuses and generally disappointing the people around him? It hadn’t always been like this…but mostly, he thought, resting his head in his hands and closing his eyes in resignation, mostly it had.

His mother had called him lazy.

Slothful.

On occasion, good for nothing.

His teachers had begged him to try a little bit harder. To offer up more than “enough to get by.” To put real effort into something and know the smell of the fruits of his labor, know the taste of them. To put real effort into something and know how it felt when hard work paid off.

But, he would argue silently, he had put in real effort.  Once.

He had put effort into things. Once, a long time ago. Before teachers and women and lazy and good for nothing, he had tried to know fruits of labor and payment for good deeds…hard work…enthusiasm and optimism. He had tried to try and he had hopefulness and happiness. He’d figured then that if he just ran a little bit faster, if he yelled a little bit louder, if he said out loud that things didn’t have to be bad, if he said out loud that failure was a choice made by men and things could change, he’d figured if he just tried hard enough that he could beg that certain look off of his father’s face. He could clear the dust from the road and he could clear the tears from his mother's eyes and he could bring his father back from wherever it was he had run to. He’d thought back then that he could work hard enough and that he could fix it.

Nothing got fixed. Nothing ever did.

And his mother, too, had been unfixable, inconsolable, cold and indifferent. That was when she had taught him sloth and she had taught him pessimism and she had taught him that you had to work for the man…

Because the man would never work for you. The man didn’t hand out favors and the man wasn’t honest or good. The man would beat you down if he thought he could, and nobody would defend you or save you or clean up your mess. She had taught him to expect very little…and to give little in return.

And even though now he was grown and now he was a father and now he had labor, however minimal the fruits, somewhere he guessed he was still eight years old and running after his father’s beat up Chevrolet on the dirty streets of Philadelphia. Somewhere he was still rich with emotion and optimism and hope and things that you learn in the comfort of your smiling mother’s arms.

But here, in Scranton, Pennsylvania…here, with Dunder Mifflin and mortgages and bills...here, with laziness and slothfulness and nothing good for much of anything...here...he was just tired. Here, he was just a guy working for the man.

He sighed and rolled his eyes and pushed his bank statement away, reaching out for his pencil and the paperback book that had been manufactured by the man at the New York Times.

Some boxes he filled in, and some of them he left blank.

It didn’t really matter anyway, he thought tiredly, it wasn’t like he’d get a prize for finishing the puzzle…

And at that thought he paused, and at that thought his stare glazed over, and at that thought the pencil dropped from his hand and fell with a thud to the table beneath him, and at that thought he shook his head at himself and sighed.

It hadn’t always been like this, he promised himself silently.

He was sure of it.

End Notes:

 

Just a vague attempt at figuring out what's going on inside that head of his.

Opus 3 by Stablergirl
Author's Notes:

This one is a bit dark, longer than the others, and could read as contrived.  I hope not though.  I claim no credit for the quotes from "The Return of the Native."  That genius is purely Mr. Hardy's.  Also, no copywrite infringement.  The Office isn't mine.  Especially not this character.

 

“Eustacia Vye was the raw material of a divinity. On Olympus she would have done well with a little preparation. She had the passions and instincts which make a model goddess, that is, those which make not quite a model woman…”

She found herself distracted.

The chalkiness of the old book she was reading felt heavy and rough on her hands and she was flighty in mind, something she never liked to be…something she never admitted to being. Comforted only mildly by the warmth of the blankets tucked neatly around her legs and the hushed light of the lamp beside her bed, she shifted often. She chewed on the roundness of her lower lip. She sighed.

She found herself distracted.

Blinking, she refocused on the page and read on, telling herself it was the lateness of the hour and not the subject matter that had her so unfortunately restless.

“…To see her hair was to fancy that a whole winter did not contain darkness enough to form its shadow: it closed over her forehead like nightfall extinguishing the western glow…”

It was certainly her imagination, she assured herself, that suddenly the sweep of bang on her brow felt heavy…felt deep and dark and shadowed with nightfall. It was certainly this ceaseless flippancy of late that had her pausing to consider the lushness of her own hair and the way it hung angst-ridden past her shoulders like the branches of winter trees. It was all certainly her imagination.

She tilted her head and she frowned. What was imagination, she wondered, but a runaway train whose passengers were the thoughts of other people…an author‘s paragraph in one car…an actor‘s delivery in another…these things that somebody else had thought of, rolling around in her head and offering her false hope and foolishness as weathered and worn-out ticket stubs.

The imagination was a dangerous thing that she simply didn’t trust.

Yet still, she read on.

“…Egdon [Heath] was her Hades, and since coming there she had imbibed much of what was dark in its tone, though inwardly and eternally unrecognized thereto. Her appearance accorded well with this smoldering rebelliousness, and the shady splendor of her beauty was the real surface of the sad and stifled warmth within her…”

She yawned into her free hand and she re-read the paragraph, losing her concentration yet again and wondering if perhaps this wasn’t the time to attempt to revisit an old and wordy classic. But something about the book had called out to her, as much as she could suppose any inanimate object could call out to a human being, and earlier, standing before her bookshelves with a considering finger against her lips, she had suddenly and without warning reached out for it with an almost hungry touch. She was determined to read at least the highlighted sections.

She stifled another yawn.

She read on.

“The only way to look queenly without realms or hearts to queen it over is to look as if you had lost them; and Eustacia did that to a triumph. In the captain‘s cottage she could suggest mansions she had never seen…”

She skipped ahead because reading of lost hearts and realms and queens and mansions and things that for some reason struck deep and low chords inside of her made her jittery. Restless. Distracted. Her bangs were heavy on her forehead and she straightened her shoulders.

“To be loved to madness -- such was her great desire. Love was to her the one cordial which could drive away the eating loneliness of her days. And she seemed to long for the abstraction called passionate love more than for any particular lover.”

She seemed to long for the abstraction called passionate love more than for any particular lover.

And, here, she thought of him. As if on cue. As if quoting a scene from a movie or a line from a play, as if falling in line with the words written out before her, she thought of him here, and she asked herself for the thousandth time why it seemed as if she didn’t miss him. She searched through her thoughts and her emotions, she imagined his hands upon her, she recalled the way that he was sometimes charming and sometimes hopeless, and she became so immersed in these rememberings, in this searching for a missing affection, that the book dropped from her hand for a moment and landed soundlessly against her legs. Her eyes glazed over and she thought of him.

But there was no sign of this elusive thumping of the heart, no sign of a thud of longing or a flutter of arousal, no glimmer of tears, no emptiness, no self-doubt. She had loneliness, of course, and a vague sense of regret, but only for location. Only for choices made in haste and confused efforts to be someone who she wasn’t. She had no regret for him and she only mildly thought that was odd.

She chewed at her bottom lip and she picked the book up with careful and calculating fingers.

“A blaze of love, and extinction, was better than a lantern glimmer of the same which should last long years. On this head she knew by prevision what most women learn by experience: she had mentally walked round love, told the towers thereof, considered its palaces; and concluded that love was but a doleful joy. Yet she desired it, as one in a desert would be thankful for brackish water…”

It had become clear to her paragraphs ago why this was the book that had beckoned her read it. It had become clear to her paragraphs ago why she had taken a pencil years before and had frantically underlined sentence after sentence of this chapter VII that was so lush and so honest…so true to her…so hauntingly unfortunate that it could drive any female to consider her own life choices. She was not a stupid sort of woman and this was all very clear.

She sighed, she pushed her bangs aside and she crossed one ankle over the other, finally finding a settled position…finally coming into herself and allowing the characterization to read as a compliment, as a sonnet instead of an obituary.

She read it as if it proclaimed that she had had romance, she had had successes, she had had wealth and power and passion and beauty, and in the end she had needed none of it. In the end her desires and her longings were for ideas and solitude, considerations, logic, and were not at all for this ever-escaping man she was supposed to spend her life with. She read this as if it was a promise that her mistakes were simply in her nature, beyond her control, and her following somone from one city to another was because she couldn’t help herself.

But then came a vehement shake of the head because, hadn’t she only moments before compared her imagination to a train full of unoriginality? And what were these thoughts if not pirated imaginings? Besides, she told herself, wasn’t it a bit overzealous of her to be subconsciously comparing herself to such an epic character with such epic ambitions and activities? Wasn’t it beyond the simple person that she was?

She mischievously thought maybe not, and she felt a corner of her mouth lift into an ironic grin.

“Thus she was a girl of some forwardness of mind, indeed, weighed in relation to her situations among the very rewarded of thinkers, very original. Her instincts towards social non-conformity were at the root of this… And so we see our Eustacia -- for at times she was not altogether unlovable -- arriving at the stage of enlightenment which feels that nothing is worth while, and filling up the spare hours of her existence by idealizing Wildeve for want of a better object…”

Closing the book in a jolt of discontent she wondered why she had this constant burning need to explain herself, to find herself in books and to define herself as a certain person, a certain kind of person. She wondered why she wanted a confessional or a cocktail party or a late-night lover’s ear wherein she could whisper the intricacies of her psyche and explain why she was so devoid of emotion and concern.

Recalling the dramatic scenes she’d made in front of him, the long talks and the hours of stilted silent treatment, she thought these were little of her true self, and now with the binding of this book cracking against her clenched hands she wondered if it was all more because she wanted so desperately for him to love her than it was because she herself had any actual love for him inside of her.

But why, she wondered, should she have to explain herself when now she had a lofty title and a lofty office and lofty ambitions that she could tout and wave around proudly? Why should she have this nagging feeling of guilt and injured pride when she had moved forward so deliciously and he had moved so soundly backward? She had won.  What was this need for explanations?

She reached over and turned off the lamp, bathing the bedroom in a heavy velvet darkness as she rolled over to lay on her side, reaching out to the emptiness on the other side of the bed, assuring herself of many things and wishing she were as epic as she seemed.

She wondered how much of her was trapped in her own Egdon Heath. She wondered how much of her was Eustacia Vye and how much of her was goddess on earth.

Before she fell asleep she thought she remembered that at the end of the book Eustacia died, as alone as before and having nothing to show for her intoxicating essence, and with that she almost felt herself frown. But then as sleep clouded her over-wrought mind and her contemplation gave way to hazy sorts of dreams her expression smoothed out, as it always had. She seemed, on the outside at least, to rest peacefully, and she rose the next morning as if this questioning of self hadn‘t happened in the first place.

“They stood silently looking upon Eustacia, who, as she lay there still in death, eclipsed all her loving phases. Pallor did not include all the quality of her complexion, which seemed more than whiteness; it was almost light. The expression of her finely carved mouth was pleasant, as if a sense of dignity had just compelled her to leave off speaking. Eternal rigidity had seized upon it in a momentary transition between fervor and resignation. Her black hair was looser now than either of them had ever seen it before and surrounded her brow like a forest. The stateliness of look which had been almost too marked for a dweller in a country domicile had at last found an artistically happy background.

Nobody spoke...”

End Notes:

 

Most of the quotes can be found in chapter seven of The Return of the Native, which can be read in its entirety here: http://www.online-literature.com/hardy/return-of-the-native/8/

The final quote is from the final chapter of book 5.

This story archived at http://mtt.just-once.net/fanfiction/viewstory.php?sid=3172