Our Way Back Home by WanderingWatchtower
FeatureSummary: Take a little stroll through Season 3 with me, will you? See what’s going on in Jim and Pam’s heads as they try to find their way back to each other.

Start at Casino Night, take a left at The Merger, and end up somewhere before Fun Run. Most chapters will follow actual episodes from Season 3.
Categories: Jim and Pam Characters: Jim/Pam, Karen, Roy
Genres: Angst, Fluff, Romance
Warnings: No Warnings Apply
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 11 Completed: Yes Word count: 10189 Read: 6119 Published: August 29, 2020 Updated: September 02, 2020
Story Notes:
I have about 10 chapters mapped out in my head for this story. It starts out pretty angsty (it is season 3 after all) but if you stick with me, I promise to get to the good stuff. :)

As always, as much as I wish I did, I own nothing mentioned.

1. Chapter 1 by WanderingWatchtower

2. Chapter 2 by WanderingWatchtower

3. Chapter 3 by WanderingWatchtower

4. Chapter 4 by WanderingWatchtower

5. Chapter 5 by WanderingWatchtower

6. Chapter 6 by WanderingWatchtower

7. Chapter 7 by WanderingWatchtower

8. Chapter 8 by WanderingWatchtower

9. Chapter 9 by WanderingWatchtower

10. Chapter 10 by WanderingWatchtower

11. Chapter 11 by WanderingWatchtower

Chapter 1 by WanderingWatchtower
Author's Notes:
We’ll be jumping around through the story as far as POV, but this one is all Pam. Takes place after they kiss in Casino Night. Here we go!
“You’re really going to marry him.”

It was more of a statement of disbelief than a question. She felt her head moving up and down, but something wasn’t quite connecting between her head and her heart. Her head was doing the nodding, both literally and figuratively. Her heart? Who knows what it was doing, but it seemed like it couldn’t quite catch up to her head.


She felt his long fingers slide away from hers, his thumb briefly grazing the ring on her left hand, and before she knew it, he was out the door. She was frozen at his desk. Her mind was racing and paralyzed all at once. What just happened?! Her hand made its way up to her lips. Then back to his desk. Then it started fiddling with her engagement ring, almost out of habit, but also because it suddenly felt like a vice on her finger.

Slowly, mindlessly, she walked down the stairwell and out the building, her arms folded tightly to her chest, her eyes fixated ahead as she tried to grasp at all the thoughts swirling in her brain. When she reached the parking lot, she suddenly remembered that she and Roy had driven together to Casino Night and someone else was going to take her back to her apartment.


Even thinking his name made the pit in her stomach ache. She pulled out her phone with trembling hands and called a cab.


She gripped the doorknob to their apartment tightly before taking a long, shaky breath and quietly walking inside. Roy had gone home early because he was tired, so she assumed he would be asleep. Instead, she saw him on the couch watching basketball, very intently.

“Oh, hey babe,” he said, without looking away from the TV.
“Hey,” she squeaked out. “I thought you would be sleeping.”
“Nah, huge game.”

She stared at him. This man she had loved for a decade. She loved him, right? Their lives were so entangled and intertwined, that it was difficult to decipher what was love and what was routine and comfort. That had never bothered her until tonight, not until her best friend turned everything on its head, leaving her in a daze.

“Hey Roy?”
“Yeah?” Still no eye contact.
“Are you in love with me?”
“Of course, babe. Weird question,” he said with a brief glance in her general direction.
“No, like, I know you love me. But...are you IN love with me?”
“What? I said yes.” He was holding up his hand, as if telling her to wait.
“Can we talk about this later, babe? The Sixers are up three with 1:32 left to play in OT and this win would be HUGE,” he said through his teeth, pumping his fists.

She continued to stare at him, Jim’s voice reverberating in her head.

It’s just...I’m in love with you.

A small wave of nausea came over her. Nothing in her comfortable life made sense anymore. She was confused, she was lost, she was sad. She dragged her feet and made her way to their bedroom. She slipped off her periwinkle dress and put her pajamas on. She took out her contacts, but couldn’t get herself to do the rest of her nightly routine. She knew it was gross, but she didn’t want to brush her teeth because she told herself she could still taste Jim on her lips. Everything tonight seemed to happen so fast and she needed to tell herself she could still taste his lips on hers, feel his hair in her fingers, so she could try to make sense of how she felt, what it meant.

She curled up on her bed and checked her phone once more, maybe subconsciously hoping to see his name pop up. Just a text from her mom flashed.

That was abrupt. Everything okay? Still want to talk? Love you, sweetie.

She sighed and responded.

I’m fine. I think. I don’t know. Don’t want to talk about it right now. Love you.

She heard a loud holler in the living room. Sixers must have pulled out the win. She rolled over and faked sleep so Roy wouldn’t come in and want to “celebrate” with her.

But she had a feeling she would get no real sleep tonight.
End Notes:
Jim’s POV, comin’ in next! Reviews are always welcome.
Chapter 2 by WanderingWatchtower
Author's Notes:
Short chapter, but all from Jim’s point of view. I don’t know why I like writing Sad Jim so much. Maybe it’s because it makes me want to hug him. Because I definitely want to hug him.
He lifted his head off the steering wheel and opened his car door. Sauntering, he walked up the steps to his apartment and opened the front door.

“Dude, Jim!” he heard Mark yell from the next room. “Sixers up three with 1:32 left in overtime! We might actually pull this game off!”

He sighed and walked into the living room.

“Jim? You look like hell.”
“You okay?”
“I, uh, kind of told Pam how I feel about her tonight.”
Mark choked on the potato chip he was eating. “Seriously?!”

Jim nodded and looked at the floor. Mark muted the tv and scooted forward.

“And?! Dude, this is huge.”

Jim looked up and shrugged his shoulders, hands still in his pockets.

“Looks like I’m moving to Connecticut.”
“Oh no, man. I’m so sorry.” Mark glanced at the TV. “Sixers pulled it off, if that makes you feel any better.”

Jim let out a weak, half-hearted chuckle. He lifted a fist. “Go team.”

He slowly made his way upstairs and into his room. He threw his jacket over his chair, and flopped down on his bed, his hands weaved in his hair. What happened tonight?! He started replaying the whole night in his head. His sudden surge of courage as he saw her in that parking lot, sure that she must feel the same way he did. Her eyebrows furrowing as she said, “I can’t”. The single tear--the one he tried so hard to keep in--burning down his cheek. His second wave of courage (or desperation?) as he followed her back inside the building. Her lips--her freaking lips on his. The feel of her body under his hands. And then the gradual realization that it was all for nothing and not only was his heart shattered, possibly beyond repair, he knew he had also just lost his best friend.

He quickly leaned over the side of his bed and vomited into the trash can.
Chapter 3 by WanderingWatchtower
Author's Notes:
I wondered if I should have Jim and Pam see each other again before he left for Stamford. Finally I settled on one more interaction. Lots of angsty Jim here, so buckle up.
It was the following Monday morning and boy, had it been the longest weekend of her life. Roy had decided to take a “guys trip” with Kenny until Sunday night, leaving her to sit alone in her thoughts for an excruciating amount of time. She had flipped her phone open and started a text to Jim at least three dozen times over the course of the weekend, only to slam it shut and throw it away from her. She didn’t know how to feel, what to say, what to do. Why now? Why did he have to throw this bomb now? When she was knee-deep in planning a wedding that she had dreamt of for years. Now, when she and Roy were in a really good place for once. Now, when she was finally feeling like herself again. All she knew was that nothing was the same. Everything changed in that parking lot.

But hindsight is 20/20, as they say. Maybe Jim hadn’t thrown as big of a bomb as she thought. Replaying the last three years over in her mind, of course she saw the signs. The countless times she felt his eyes on her from his desk. The way he would glance at the floor with any mention of Roy. The flirting, the bashful smiles, the trips to her desk (no one likes jelly beans THAT much). But now she realized that she had refused to believe what those things meant and had always written them off as friendship. Why did she do that? Probably because if she acknowledged what was really going on, she’d have to admit she felt the same way. She’d have to uproot everything she’d known the past 10 years. She’d have to face the fact that she failed on yet another thing in her life. She was a people pleaser to a fault, and confronting her feelings meant letting a lot of people down.


She came into work, a little later than usual. Everything felt like slow motion now. Immediately, she noticed that Jim’s desk was empty and cleared. Her heart sank. She tried to clear the giant ball forming in her throat as she peered over the partition into accounting. As casually as she could muster, she got Angela’s attention.

“Hey, uh, what’s up with Jim’s desk?”
Angela stopped typing and turned around.
“I thought he would have told you, since you two seem awfully close to one another.”
Pam ignored Angela’s tone and gripped the desk as Angela went on, turning back to her computer.
“He took a promotion at the Stamford branch in Connecticut. Michael let him come in on Saturday to clean out his desk so he could get a jump start on his drive this morning.”

Pam’s breath caught. She started turning away, when she heard Angela continue.

“But he forgot to pick up his last paycheck, so Oscar said he’ll be back in before he leaves.”

Pam’s heart stopped as she looked up. As if it were scripted, there he was, walking in the door. They made the briefest of eye contact before he averted his eyes and scratched his head. He walked right past reception and back to accounting.

“Good luck with everything, Jim,” she heard Oscar say as he handed the envelope to Jim. “We’re really going to miss you around here.”
“Hey thanks, Oscar. I’ll miss it too. And everyone. The Office, I mean.”

Jim shook Oscar’s hand and then once again, walked right past Pam without a word, eyes on the floor as he headed out the door. Without thinking, she raced after him and finally caught up to him in the parking lot outside his car.

“Jim! Really?! You aren’t even going to say goodbye to me?!”

He whipped around, now inches from her face, and she saw something in his eyes she had never seen before, at least not directed at her. Was it anger? Or was it pain? Perhaps a little of both.

There was a bite in his tone. “Are you happy, Pam? Like, truly happy? With him...with this?”

The question caught her off guard. She couldn’t seem to muster a single word. Was she?

Jim looked up at the sky in frustration. “I don’t know what you want me to say Beesly. Or should I say ‘Anderson’?” She saw the twinge of regret on his face as soon as the words came out of his mouth.

Why did that sting so much?

Jim sighed. “Listen, I have to get going. They’re waiting for me to start the new job this afternoon in Stamford.”

She nodded and without much thought, she moved in to give him a hug, but was met with his outstretched hand giving her a handshake.

Ooof. That stung worse.

“Goodbye, Pam. Have a nice life, I guess.”

He hopped in his car, as she stood there in disbelief, her hand still out in front of her. The man driving away was completely different than the one who stood in front of her in this very parking lot less than three days ago, confessing his feelings to her.

And you know what? No, she wasn’t happy. Not at all. Not with any of it. Her face was hot with tears and frustration. It was all falling apart faster than she could pick up any of the pieces and she breaking inside. But in a moment of clarity, she knew the next step.


Jim got no further than a block away from Dunder Mifflin before he had to pull over. His breathing quickened, his palms were sweaty, and he felt the lump in his throat growing. Who was that guy back there? He was cold and short with Pam. A jerk, to say the least. But he was just so. damn. hurt. He hadn’t eaten more than a plain bagel and some Doritos in the past three days. He had slept about four hours total over that same time. Pam knew how he felt--he couldn’t have been more clear--and she still let him drive away without a word. Okay, so he didn’t give her much of a chance to stop him with that handshake, but a small part of him wanted her to feel at least a fraction of the pain he was feeling. She didn’t reach out to him all weekend. No texts, no calls, no emails. She had made up her mind.

He heard the lyrics of the Ben Folds song that was playing in his car.

Until I opened my eyes and walked out the door
And the clouds came tumbling down
And it’s bye-bye, goodbye
I tried

His breathing picked up and he felt his eyes start to burn. He punched the steering wheel. He could probably count on one hand the number of times he had actually cried in his adult life, but Pam always brought out every emotion in him, like no one ever had. The weight and reality of the entire weekend—of the past three years, really—flooded over him and the dam finally broke. His shoulders shook and tears streamed down his face as the song continued.

It’s over
End Notes:
Full disclaimer: I got halfway through writing this chapter before I remembered I was going to tell it all from Jim’s POV. But I liked Pam’s inner struggle and didn’t want to rewrite it, so I just threw Jim’s tag on the end. Hopefully it made sense.

For anyone wondering or who doesn’t know, the Ben Folds song is “Landed”
Chapter 4 by WanderingWatchtower
Somehow, she had managed to compose herself before going back into the building, despite the gaping hole inside of her that Jim had left. She was amazed that it wasn’t visible from the outside, because it sure hurt like hell. She made it through the work day, and found herself at the dinner table with Roy that night. He was going on and on about some guy he and Kenny had met at a bar during their guys trip that weekend, completely oblivious of how silent and somber she had been all night.

“Pammy, I wish you could have met this guy. I mean, the dude has—-“
“I don’t want to get married.”

He stopped mid-chew and cocked his head, a look of utter confusion spread across his face.

“What did you just say?!”

She couldn’t meet his eyes. She pushed her mashed potatoes around on her plate.

“I...have been...I’ve just been thinking a lot…”

Roy stood up quickly.

“Seriously, Pam?!”

She tensed. She hated when he was angry. She knew he would never lay a finger on her, but that didn’t make her any less uncomfortable. She took a breath.

“Roy, I’m sorry. I just think we have changed. I have changed. We have just been going through motions and we aren’t the same stupid kids we were in high school anymore—“

“So now I’m stupid.”

“No! I never said that! Listen! I just..don’t feel like I used to...about us.”

She braced herself. He stared at her from across the table for what seemed like an eternity before he suddenly swatted his glass of water off the table, shards of glass spraying over the kitchen floor. Pam gasped and ran into the bedroom, her hands covering her mouth. She locked the door and tried to block out the obscenities she could hear flying out of Roy’s mouth from the kitchen. She sat on the bed, her knees hugged tightly to her chest.

She heard him grab his keys and slam the front door and exhaled, not realizing she had been holding her breath. She decided she didn’t want to be there either. Grabbing her car keys, she headed out.

After about an hour of mindlessly driving around Scranton, she reluctantly headed back to her apartment. She saw Roy’s truck as she pulled in and prepared herself for the argument that she was about to dive into. As she opened the door, she found Roy on his hands and knees, sweeping up the shards of glass from the kitchen floor. He looked up and to her surprise, showed no signs of anger. Just defeat and sadness.

“Hey,” he said, standing up.


“Pam, I…” he cleared his throat. “I love you, babe.”

She stepped toward him. “I know. I love you too.”

Roy’s face relaxed with relief. Barely audible, Pam continued.

“Just not enough.”

He dropped his head. He walked over to her and enveloped her into a tight hug. She was familiar with the way it felt to be in his arms. It was comfortable, like wearing that pair of shoes you’ve had for years that have basically molded to the shape of your feet. For a split second she wondered if she was having second thoughts. But then the image of Jim flashed in her mind and how being in his arms that night felt more like home than any hug Roy had ever given her. She knew what she had to do.

They spent the next four hours talking, arguing, crying, embracing, yelling, and everything in between. Through all of it, Pam didn’t mention Jim at all. For the obvious reasons, yes, but also because she couldn’t bear to think about him right now.


Pam rang the doorbell. It was 1:36 a.m. By her side was a suitcase of nearly everything she owned, with four more boxes crammed in her car. She heard the deadbolt turn and the door open.

“Hi, mom,” she sniffled. “Can I stay here for a little while?”

She melted into her mom’s arms, knowing her mom completely understood what that meant. She felt the gentle stroke of her mom’s hand on the back of her head as her mom whispered in her ear, “Oh, sweetheart. I’m so proud of you.”
End Notes:
This chapter was a tough balance. We all know Roy was an idiot with a temper, but I needed there to be a little hint of emotion for him as well. Hopefully it came across.
Chapter 5 by WanderingWatchtower
Author's Notes:
Jumping ahead here. I know there is a lot to cover from the time Jim leaves to The Merger, but I wanted to start moving along to get closer to happier times.
It had been about 5 months since he left Scranton, his heart being dragged along the interstate the whole way. But slowly, he realized he didn’t have to remind himself to force a smile as much anymore. He started to sleep better. Of course he thought about Pam all the time, but it wasn’t every waking moment like it once was (excluding the week he found out from Phyllis that she had called off the wedding). In fact, they had had a couple conversations since he left. Once over the phone, purely by accident, and then a couple casual texting conversations. And look at him! Still standing. He just might make it out of all of this alive. Not unscathed, but alive.

And then he got the news that Stamford was closing and merging with Scranton. And he was going back. Tomorrow. To the building where he fell in love with a receptionist who later ground his heart into a fine powder. This is going to hurt.

He was out with his coworkers who were coming to Scranton with him, celebrating their last night in Stamford. Andy was wasted and was very loudly trying to seduce “the ladies” with tales of Here Comes Treble and his days at Cornell. Hannah was frequently checking her watch, eager to get home to her new baby, most likely. And then there was Karen.

Karen was Jim’s first and only real friend here in Stamford. She was easy to talk to. Made him laugh but also laughed at his dumb jokes. She was hella good at Madden and despite not being from Pennsylvania, she was miraculously an Eagles fan. If he was being honest with himself, she was the main reason he had kept his head above water here.

She was sitting next to him at the bar and they were having a heated debate about whether or not Andy would go home with anyone that night. After they had finally agreed that odds were Andy would probably pass out before he even made it home himself, she laughed and placed her hand on his thigh. Not too high, but high up enough for him to lose his train of thought. He threw back the rest of his beer and leaned in.

“Next bet: I kick your butt in Madden tonight.”
“You’re on, Halpert,” she smirked.

Hearing another girl call him by his last name so playfully again was slightly jarring.

But...he didn’t hate it.

They walked out of the bar and he threw his arm around her shoulder. Tomorrow would come. He knew that. But it didn’t have to come quite yet.
End Notes:
Halfway there! I haven’t actually started writing the next chapter yet, just a basic outline. But hopefully I can crank them out because I want to write a little fluff eventually. ;)
Chapter 6 by WanderingWatchtower
Author's Notes:
Wow, this one struggled to get on the page. It’s easier for me to write things that would have happened off camera than working around story and dialogue we already know. But I felt like The Merger is such a huge part of their season 3 story that I had to include it and I would rather do write it as it unfolds for Pam rather than her recounting the day after the fact. Not sure I’ll ever be 100% happy with it, but here it is anyway.
Pam glanced at her phone. She was trying to concentrate on the movie she had started with her sister Penny but her mind was elsewhere. It had been exactly 2 hours and 17 minutes since she sent a text to Jim.

You ready to enter back into the world of Michael Gary Scott again tomorrow?

They didn’t text that often, but when they did, she had started to feel a semblance of how things used to be between them and it gave her heart a glimmer of hope. They (of course) talked about Dwight. They talked about Pam’s crazy neighbor that reminded her of Creed. They talked about his newfound obsession with American Idol, something she had to pry out of him after he made a reference to it. They had also had one phone conversation when Jim called the office looking for Kevin but caught Pam instead. On nights she couldn’t sleep, she replayed that phone call over and over in her head, savoring the memory of his laugh that she missed so much.

She had finally admitted to herself that she had some kind of feelings for him, and probably always had. But she also fully understood the dents and bruises she put on their relationship five months ago. She was unsure of how he really felt now. She just knew that he wasn’t ignoring her (except tonight, apparently) and that was enough to keep her going.

“He’s probably busy packing,” Penny said.
“Huh?” Pam hadn’t realized she mindlessly checked her phone yet again.
“C’mon, Pam. I know you’re waiting for a text from him,” she said with a coy smile.
“I’m just...nervous. It’s been a while.”

Penny nudged her with her shoulder. “It will be great.”


The pens on the reception desk trembled slightly as Pam’s legs furiously bounced underneath her desk. The door opened and before she saw him, she heard his unmistakable deep voice. When she was finally able to make eye contact with him, she couldn’t help but get up and hurl herself around his neck. Damn, his smell was intoxicating. Nothing strong or really even that noticeable, but it was Jim and it made her head spin.

“It’s really good to see you.”

Understatement of the year. She couldn’t seem to erase the grin that was plastered on her face. She felt a small surge of calm mixed in among the nerves and excitement fluttering around in her body. Maybe, just maybe, things could go back to how they were.

Jim stood up and headed to the breakroom. Same time as he always used to. Jim Halpert was nothing if not a creature of habit. Since Pam had pretty much seen nothing but the back of his head since 10:30 that morning, she decided to follow him. After some banter that felt a little more forced than she was used to, she took a tiny leap.

“So when do I get to hear everything? Are you still getting unpacked, or...you wanna grab a coffee or something after work?”
“Oh, um...tonight? Actually no. I’m still just getting settled.”

Pam felt her shoulders hunch and began retreating into her shell.

“Oh, yeah, no...just whenever.”

The door opened and along with it came the impeccable timing of Michael Scott. After an awkward exchange (which was par for the course today, Pam thought), Jim left the breakroom and Pam was left feeling just a little more hollow and slowly the hole had begun to fill with doubt.


From there, the rest of the day continued to make her slowly shrink into the sweater her mom had made her. But nothing made her feel smaller than seeing Jim’s face as Karen brought her hand to his back in the parking lot. Suddenly it all started to make sense as to why the light that was sparked by his embrace this morning felt like it was slowly dimming.

Later, as her coworkers began trickling out of the office, she occupied herself until they had all gone. Originally she had planned to walk out with Jim and maybe arrange another time for them to catch up, but after seeing him with Karen she decided a night in by herself was probably more suitable. She walked into the parking lot and heard a car door open and Jim came up to her.

“Hey! I thought you had already left.”
“Uh, no...I just had some other stuff I had to do. What’s up?’
“Oh nothin’, I just feel bad. I feel like things were a little weird today or something.”
“What do you mean?”
“I just think I should tell you that I sort of started seeing someone...and uh--”

There it is.

“Oh, no, that’s totally cool. You can...do whatever you want.”
“Oh, okay...uh, good.”

If there’s something Pamela Beesly knew how to do, it was build up walls and ignore how she was really feeling.
“We’re friends. We’ll always be friends.”

She was getting really tired of this damn parking lot.
Chapter 7 by WanderingWatchtower
Author's Notes:
Thank you for all the kind reviews so far! This chapter takes place during Phyllis' wedding. I wanted to do it from Jim's perspective because it seemed a little less obvious, and therefore made it more fun to write. Spent all day writing it and it definitely came easier than the last chapter.
“Whoa, slow down there, Filipelli,” Jim chuckled against her mouth. “You’ll ruin my hair.”

He and (a very handsy) Karen had decided to take a cab to Phyllis and Bob’s wedding, so they could take advantage of the open bar. Karen moved her hands from his inner thigh up to his face.

“Sorry, weddings just make me a little...frisky.”
Jim laughed. “We aren’t even AT the wedding yet. And I have a feeling you’re making our cab driver pretty uncomfortable. And the hair,” he said, giving her a playful look. “Save it for later, deal?”
“Fine,” she said with a soft smile.

He gave her one more soft kiss and sat up straight, taking her hand in his. With her head on his shoulder, he realized he was happy. Like, honestly happy. The last two weeks had been hard. Karen had kept him up talking most nights for the last two weeks. He spent most of those nights filling her in on his history with Pam and the feelings he has--or had--for her. Through all the late nights, he managed to convince Karen that the feelings he confessed to still have for Pam that night in the conference room were just stale feelings mixed with an old friendship. The joy of pranking Andy stirred those up together and made things confusing for him. But he had cleared things up and while he was convincing Karen every night, he usually managed to convince himself as well. At least until the next morning when he would walk in and see the receptionist and feel the familiar heart skip.

Even if he wasn’t always fully convinced he was over Pam, he did know one thing: Karen was good for him. And not in just a “rebound” kind of way. She was patient with him but still spoke her mind and communicated with him if something was off. She was beautiful without feeling the need to flaunt it. Driven, smart, charismatic, funny...a great kisser. The first time she stayed the night things were a little sloppy but there was definitely connection and it only got better from there. He wouldn’t go as far to say he loved her--he’s not sure how to ever feel that way about someone again--but his feelings were steady.

They pulled up to the chapel and the two of them found a group from the office walking in. He spotted Pam sitting alone in the pew and felt his heart leak out just an ounce of that old familiar longing before understanding that he would need to sit by Karen and not Pam, even if Pam looked heartbreakingly lonely. They sat down and as hard as he tried, he couldn’t help but steal another glance across the aisle at her.


He was at the bar grabbing another drink for Karen when Pam showed up at his side. Man, she looked stunning tonight.

No, Jim, stop. Those are not “just friends” kind of thoughts. Karen, not Pam.

“Hey!” he said.
“When are we going to see those famous Beesly dance moves?” He had gotten good at pretending they were just friends with no history or late-night, love-confessing kisses between them. But her bashful smile following his question tugged at not-too-distant memories.

“I’m such a dorky dancer!”
“I know...it’s very cute.”


He had been so careful since admitting to Karen that he had feelings for Pam, but that flirtation flew out before he could stop it. He took a sip of his drink, forgetting it was actually for Karen, and turned back to her.

“So, I couldn’t put my finger on it earlier, but...these decorations look pretty familiar. You okay?” He was still teetering on the fence of saying too much, not sure if he should admit he remembered her wedding plans. All those trips to her desk gave him a lot of intel on the planning.

She waved her hand. “Yeah, I’m fine. It’s really fine. At least it means I have good taste, right?”

He knew her well enough to recognize the deflection in her voice. He remembered many conversations with her about Roy that were veiled with the same tone. She was upset but was desperately trying not to be. She pointed to the drink in his hand.

“You should probably get that back to Karen before it’s gone. I know that’s not your drink of choice.”
“You would be correct. Looking forward to seeing those dance moves, Beesly.”

He made his way back into the reception area, his mind still on that brown dress and those bare shoulders he never gets to see in the office. He couldn’t shake her flustered smile as he let the word “cute” slip out, or the fact that she remembered his favorite drink. Before he made it back to Karen the camera crew stopped him.

“Hey, Jim! Can we maybe snag a quick interview with you?”

He was used to this. It had been almost three years since they had started filming and he almost forgot what it was like before they were pointing their lenses at him daily. They brought him out into the hallway and made sure the sound and lighting was optimal.

Darren, one of the documentarians checked a small notepad he held in his hand and asked Jim his first question.

“How’s your night going?”
“Pretty good! Seeing a whole new side of Kevin tonight. I like it.”
“I, uh, saw you talking to Pam at the bar. You two have always been pretty close, right? I know you’re dating Karen but any potential there?”
The question caught him completely off guard.
“What do you mean?”
“I just mean, hypothetically, if she was interested in something more than friendship, what would that mean for you?”

What kind of question was this? He tried to come up with an answer.

“Hypothetically, if I thought Pam was interested…? No…that’s totally hypothetical…”

He walked away in an attempt to avoid any follow up questions. Did they know something he didn’t? Had she said something to them about him? Did they know they had kissed after casino night? He had a sneaking suspicion the camera crew caught way more of their lives than they even knew. But Pam had shut him down and had made it clear that friendship was the only option. Sure, she called her wedding off, but who knows if he really had anything to do with that. He knew better than anyone that her relationship with Roy was flawed at best. He felt a surge of frustration thinking about how many times he watched Roy flatten her spirits and how she chose to stay with him anyway after Jim had put it all on the line.

But...she did call it off.

The band began playing “Fields of Gold” as he made his way back to Karen. She took his hand and dragged him to the dance floor. She was looking up at him with a very serious look on her face.

“All I’m saying is that you’re wrong. Leonardo is obviously the best Ninja Turtle.”

He was always very amused by her conversation topics when she got a little tipsy. He started his rebuttal, but before he could really get into it he felt eyes on him. He looked up and saw Pam’s eyes locked on the two of them. She was wearing a facial expression that suddenly made his stomach tighten. His eyes followed her as she left the room in a hurry and in that moment all he wanted to do was chase after her.

Karen, not Pam, Jim. Karen didn’t break your heart. Karen knows what she wants. Karen is still talking and you need to pull it together or she’s going to want to talk all night again and not about Ninja Turtles.

“I mean,” Karen shrugged, “he’s the leader! How could he not be the best?”
“Ha! Yeah, okay. I concede.”
“Well, that was easy.”

All the feelings he had convinced Karen he didn’t have for Pam kept making their way to the surface as he tried to shove them down. He did that for Karen’s sake, yes, but also to protect his own heart. The scars were still fresh and right now his heart was having a hell of a time trying to escape the look Pam had just given him.

“I just think you have very good arguments, Filipelli.” He mustered a smile.

The music stopped mid-chorus and after a beat began to play “You Were Meant for Me”. An odd choice, but who was he to question Scrantonicity?

“Was Jewel a member of The Police?” Karen asked. “Did I miss that?”
“You didn’t know that? Looks like you need to brush up your pop culture, obviously.”

Then he was hit with a flashback. Pam had mentioned this song while they were going through audition tapes for her wedding band. She wanted to be sure they could play it, because it was “their song”. This had to be weird for her. Maybe he should just check on her, one more time. He leaned over to Karen.

“Hey, I’m going to grab another drink. But put your dukes up, because we’re diving into ‘best member of New Kids on the Block’ when I get back.”

He expected to find Pam in the hallway or at the bar but he couldn’t spot her. What would he even say if he found her? He decided to stop the search and finish his drink at the bar. Just then he saw her pink coat...but she wasn’t alone. She was leaving with someone.


And just like that, he felt like the idiot in the parking lot all over again. He threw back his drink, requested another, and finished that one just as quickly.

He approached Karen at their table, grabbed the sides of her face, and threw her into a heated kiss. Subconsciously he knew he was probably just trying to shove the feelings down, to remember how Karen was good for him, to do anything to prove to himself that it didn’t matter to him. He broke apart from Karen’s lips and looked her in the eyes.

“Can we get out of here? I guess weddings do something to me too.”
“I would love to, but I kind of promised Kev I would sing the next song…”
“Wow. Okay. I guess after that, then?”

She gave him another long kiss. That was answer enough.


That night, he stared at his bedroom ceiling, his hand gently caressing Karen’s bare back as she slept on his chest. He looked down at her face, the moonlight hitting her in just the perfect way. She really was beautiful. A sudden feeling of remorse came over him. This wasn’t fair to her. He had been telling her for weeks that he didn’t have feelings for Pam but if that were true, why did he want to punch Roy Anderson square in the jaw right now? Why, during one of the hottest nights he’s ever had with Karen, did Pam’s face keep appearing in his mind? And how in the ever-living hell was he back where he was a year ago?

Push ‘em down, Halpert. Push those feelings way, way down.
End Notes:
Ah, the inner struggle of Wishy-Washy Jim (You Office Ladies fans know what I mean.) I only have a couple more chapters in mind, which means I'll probably have to skip over some angsty season three stuff but we've had plenty of that, so its fine. Right?
Chapter 8 by WanderingWatchtower
Author's Notes:
All the chapters up to this point followed a episode fairly closely, but this one is something all its own. Hopefully you have seen the newer version of Pride and Prejudice to know what scene comes up in this chapter. Mmmm...Mr. Darcy.
“Remember, Pam,” Michael called after her, “slightly burnt! You know how I like it. That’s what she—“

The kitchen door closed, cutting him off. Michael had recently reinstituted “Movie Monday” even though he knew Jan disapproved of it. The members of the office, Angela excluded, didn’t ever argue because it was 30 minutes where they weren’t expected to do any kind of work and Stanley could get in a nap.

Pam put the bag of popcorn in the microwave and watched the flat bag of kernels start to revolve. Round and round and round. She knew how that felt. Never had she been more confused about her own feelings than in the last couple months. Maybe for the last year, even. She would go from thinking Jim still had feelings for her, to losing hope (she probably knew the back of his head as well as the front by now), and back to reading into something he said or did. Then there was the whole Roy thing. She shuddered with embarrassment for being weak enough to fall back into old habits. Yes, it was nice in the beginning and she really thought things had changed, but that notion was shattered along with the mirror Roy broke in the bar the night she told him she kissed Jim.


The sound of the microwave snapped her out of her dizzying thoughts. She took the bag out and made her way into the conference room. By this point she knew that nobody but Michael wanted popcorn so she didn’t bother popping any extra. She looked to the back row to see Jim sitting alone.

“Where’s Karen?”
“Oh, she had a last-minute sales meeting out in Dunmore.”
“Ah. Mind if I sit here? I don’t want to sit by Michael again. I hate the smell of burnt popcorn.”
“For sure! It’s all yours, Beesly.”

She sat down next to him and smoothed her skirt out.

“You ready for the end of this movie?” She nudged his shoulder. “Don’t you dare try to tell me that you haven’t been enjoying it.”
“I just don’t understand how he went from picking Ace Ventura: Pet Detective one month to Pride and Prejudice this month. I like Kiera Knightly as much as the next guy, but it seems a little out of character for Michael.”
She chucked. “He’s a man of many mysteries, Jim. I’m not complaining. I love this movie.”
“Oh, I know you do. You wouldn’t stop talking about it after seeing it in theaters.”

“Quiet, QUIET everyone! I’m pressing play! Dwight, hit the lights!”

“Show me what you’ve got, Mr. Darcy,” Jim said under his breath. Pam smiled. It had been a while since they sat together in any kind of conference room meeting. It always felt strange with Karen on the other side of him. She missed it. She missed him.


Pam was having a hard time concentrating on the movie (which was fine because she had seen it at least six times since it came out) mostly because of her proximity to Jim. She couldn’t tell if she was imagining things or if it was just the Jane Austen in the air, but she could swear he had gotten closer to her over the last 15 minutes. She folded her arms against her chest and realized her favorite part of the movie was about to start.

On the screen, Mr. Darcy was making his way through the field toward Elizabeth Bennet to proclaim his love for her. Darcy’s deep voice began.

If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and feelings have not changed. But one word from you will silence me forever.

Through the corner of his eye he saw Jim’s brow furrow. And he folded his arms.

If, however, your feelings have changed, I should tell you: you have bewitched me body and soul and I love...I love...I love you.

Jim wasn’t watching the TV anymore. His head was tilted toward Pam, his eyes fixed on the floor. He slowly lifted the fingers that were resting on his arm and gently ran the back of them up and down a two-inch space on Pam’s folded arm.

Her heart flipped. She carefully glanced at his hand out of the corner of her eye—she didn’t want to scare him away. Jim noticed and looked up to meet her eyes as Mr. Darcy’s words echoed in Pam’s head: My affections and feelings have not changed.

Did this mean what she thought it did? The spot on her arm still burned as she studied the look on his face, both of them silent. He looked tired, almost hopeless—but somehow hopeful as well. He opened his mouth to say something when the lights came on and Dwight started bellowing.

“Okay, 30 minutes are up! Everyone back to work!”
“Dwight!” Kelly yelled. “It wasn’t even over yet!! You’re such a buzzkill.”
“Sorry, those are the rules of Movie Monday. Half hour increments, once a week.”

Everyone grumbled as chairs shifted and squeaked as they all went back into the office. Jim broke his gaze and stood up quickly. He nervously ran his hand over the back of his hair and pointed toward his desk.

“I should, uh, get back to work.”
“Yeah, of course, me too.”

Stunned, she rubbed the back of her arm, still somewhat unsure if she had just witnessed what she did. It had to have meant something. She sat back down at her desk and fixed her eyes on the back of Jim’s head.

He was her Mr. Darcy and somehow she would find a way to let him know that.
End Notes:
Gettin’ closer to the happy ending, y’all.
Chapter 9 by WanderingWatchtower
Author's Notes:
This one starts during Jim and Pam’s talk in the lake at the end of “Beach Games”.
They both stood calf-deep in the lake, the air thick with the things they had kept inside since Jim’s return to Scranton. Ever since Movie Monday Jim had once again retreated, as hard as he tried not to. He wished he had the gumption to tell her that what happened in that conference room wasn’t an accident. But right now all he could tell her was that he went to Stamford to escape.

“And even though I came back, I never really...came back”
“Well, I wish you would.”
They stood there in silence, the sound of the rippling lake as their soundtrack, echoing in the empty spaces they couldn’t seem to fill with words. Pam was first to speak again.
“I just really miss you.”
Jim looked down and let out a small, sad laugh. “You have no idea, Beesly.”
“Then why—-“

Jim put his hand up to stop her.

“Listen. When I left last year, I was a broken shell of a person. I’m sorry if that’s hard to hear, but it’s true.” He shrugged. “ And I’ve been working so hard to patch and fill the cracks and holes, but I’ve been terrified that if I get back to how things were before I left, all those mended seams would burst right open again and I’m not sure I could take it.”
“Hold on. But what I’m realizing is that by trying so hard to protect myself, I hurt someone I really, really care about and that’s worse than any burst seams. I want us to be friends again, Pam. And while I can’t promise it will be exactly what it used to be, I’m sure as hell going to try to get back there. Promise.”

She glanced up at him with a half smile and pulled him into a hug.

“Thank you,” she said quietly against his cheek, “that’s all I want.”

As he took in her scent of sunscreen and the coconut shampoo she always uses, he knew friendship probably wasn’t all Pam wanted. He nearly let himself succumb to his own deeper feelings toward her but was absolutely paralyzed by his fear of losing her again. If they had to tell themselves that friendship was all they needed, so be it. He just knew that whatever they had been doing for the last year wasn’t what he wanted. He would take whatever he could get to keep her smiling, even if it was strictly friendship. Would it be painful?

Oh hell yeah.

But probably not worse than what he’d already been through. He imagined her working up the courage, nobody around, and essentially sauteing her feet across those coals tonight. Then he recounted what she had said to everyone afterward (though he felt it was directed solely at him) and how out of character it was for Pam. But he really liked it. Her newfound confidence made his heart swell with affection toward her.

Suddenly he realized he had an interview lined up with David Wallace the following day that he still hadn’t told Pam about.

“So,” he said before they went back to the beach. “in the spirit of being friends again, I think I need to tell you that I’m interviewing for that job in New York too.” He searched her face. “I left Scranton once without telling you and I feel like I ruined everything. So I wanted to fill you in this time.”

She nodded, looking into the water. She looked up at him, a faint smile on her face that he couldn’t quite read.

“You’d be perfect for the job, Jim. Like, for real. And, we will still be friends. Always.”
“Thanks. And yeah, we will. And I’m sure I’ll be back to visit my folks or whatever. If I get the job, that is. I mean, Michael is interviewing and we all know he is unmatched when it comes to productivity and professionalism. I probably don’t stand a chance.”

They both laughed together and Jim motioned back to the beach with his head and they walked back to the group. Jim wondered if he had just set his heart up for a lifetime of sadness by friend-zoning himself, but her laughter was ringing in his ears and right now he just didn’t care. He’d live with it.
Chapter 10 by WanderingWatchtower
Author's Notes:
I know the last chapter was Jim’s POV but I didn’t want to tag “The Job” to the end of “Beach Games”, and since Pam wasn’t in New York, I cranked out a short little Jim chapter to set us up for the ending. I wanted to only do 10 chapters, but their first date needs its own stage. :)
Jim paced outside of the Dunder Mifflin corporate office building. His fingers fiddled with the gold yogurt lid in his pocket. Even though he was feeling an absolute sense of dread for what he was about to do, he couldn’t help but smile. He bounded up the stairs, taking them two at a time back into the building. He was going to tell David Wallace he didn’t want the job.

That was the easy part.


“You have got to be kidding me, Jim.”
He couldn’t find any words, so he just looked down. Karen let out a laugh of disbelief and sat on the edge of the fountain.
“It’s her, isn’t it? It’s Pam.”
“...I just…”

Of course it was Pam. It has always been Pam. Since the day he walked into that Scranton office for the first time, it had been Pam.

She broke your heart, Jim! I remember what you were like when you first showed up in Stamford. I thought you were just shy but she did a number on you. And I let you convince me, like an idiot, that you were over her. That you were just friends and nothing more. What was I to you, Jim? Honestly, can you tell me that?”

Still, he was struggling to find the right words to say. He wasn’t sure if there were even any right words in this situation.

“I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to be all-in with you, Karen. Trust me. I know I wasn’t always fair to you but I did have real feelings for you.”
“Oh, awesome,” she said, her words dripping with sarcasm. She suddenly got quiet and stared down at her hands. “Lucky me.”
“I’m really sorry, Karen.”
“Please leave.”
“Leave, Jim.”
“How will you get back?”
“Okay. I’m sorry…”

He slowly backed away. As he turned around, he heard Karen let out a small sob. He clutched the yogurt lid in his pocket again. It was his life raft, keeping him afloat and reminding him that it was going to get better and he didn’t just make a beautiful woman cry for no reason in the middle of New York City. He may have broken Karen’s heart but for the first time in a very long time, his finally felt whole.


He wasn’t quite sure what it was that ultimately snapped him out of the denial he had put himself in over the past year but he had a two hour drive to try and figure it out. Maybe it was because he recognized her handwriting on the note before he even saw her name and his made his heart skip a beat. Maybe it was the fact that she had kept the yogurt lid after all this time, which was such a “Pam” thing to do (and it was adorable). Or maybe it was because when David asked him where he saw himself in ten years, he thought of her.

He thought about pranks on Dwight with his trusty sidekick.
He thought about air high fives and the rules of jinx.
He thought about going home every night with a girl who knew him better than he knew himself and about curly-haired kids and Christmas mornings in Scranton.
He thought about birthdays, Halloweens, little league games, and paintings on their fridge made by little hands that she had taught.
And he thought about never needing to avoid her, or hide his feelings, or pretend he didn’t absolutely adore everything about Pamela Morgan Beesly.

Because he did. And it was about time he told her.
End Notes:
I already have the last chapter written and will post it sometime today. I may or may not have stayed up until 3 am writing it. But JAM fluff just cannot be stopped. :)
Chapter 11 by WanderingWatchtower
Author's Notes:
Ladies and gentlemen, the moment you’ve been waiting for. (No, Hamilton fans, not the pride of Mount Vernon, George Washington.) Fluffy JAM! Angst be gone. I loved writing this chapter so much. Like I said in the last chapter notes, I stayed up until like 3 am writing it because I just couldn’t make myself stop. I hope you enjoy it too.
“I’m sorry, what was the question?”

Pam finally snapped back to her senses but couldn’t seem to stop smiling as Janet asked her the question again.

“So, what comes next for you this summer?”

Pam saw that Janet was also grinning. The two of them had gotten close over the course of filming and there was one night earlier this year where Pam ran into Janet at the bar and drunkenly confided in her about Jim, as if the entire film crew didn’t already know.

“I, uh, guess we’ll just have to see.”


The next half hour was excruciating. Jim wasn’t in the office when she got out of her interview and all she had was a text from him.

Gotta grab a few things for tonight. Pick you up in an hour at your place. Tell Michael it’s “that time of the month” and I can guarantee he’ll let you go early because he is terrified of menstruation. See you soon, Beesly.

She went into Michael’s office.
“Hey, uh, Michael? I’m not feeling that well...it’s, you, know...that time…”
“Oh, yuck, Pam. Blech. TMI. Uh...you should probably just leave before your lady parts start falling out all over the office. Nobody wants to see that.”
“Michael, what do you think a period--you know what, never mind. I’ll just go. See you tomorrow.”

She hoped she would never have to hear Michael talk about her “lady parts” ever again but she also wasn’t that naive.


At home as she anxiously awaited Jim’s arrival, she looked at herself in her bathroom mirror. She couldn’t help compare herself to Karen Filipelli. Pam had always thought of herself as fairly plain. She would rather spend her money on books and art supplies than clothes and makeup. Penny had taught her how to do something a little “fancier” with her usually frizzy hair, but once she realized Jim didn’t really notice, she stopped waking up an hour earlier to do it that way. She never thought of herself as ugly—she knew she wasn’t—but she also didn’t think there was anything truly remarkable about her appearance. She tugged at her blouse, suddenly very self conscious as another wave of nervousness came over her.

“It’s just Jim,” she said aloud to her reflection. “Just your good friend Jim who you also have extremely strong feelings for and are hoping he feels the same way and you want to kiss his face off and have his babies.”

She groaned and put her head on the bathroom counter.

*knock knock knock*

Her stomach nearly came out of her mouth. He’s here. She took a breath, walked to her door, and opened it. She gasped. Standing before her was a life-sized cut out of Dwight K. Schrute. Jim popped out from behind it.

“You ass. I nearly had a heart attack!” She playfully shoved him.
“This isn’t your wildest fantasy?!”
“Not in the slightest.”
“Fair enough. Want me to start over?”

She shut the door and heard three knocks again. She opened it. This time it was just Jim. With flowers. And the cutest freaking look on his face. This was much closer to her wildest fantasy.

“Hey,” he said with a playful smile.
“Hi,” she returned.

He took a step forward and enveloped her in an enormous hug, lifting her slightly to her toes. She closed her eyes and let herself sink into him. She could get used to this. She felt the stubble against her cheek as he spoke in her ear.

“You look absolutely gorgeous, Beesly.”

She squeezed him even tighter as her nerves vanished. She frowned.

“Can we please move cardboard Dwight? I don’t like the way he’s staring at me.”


He opened her car door for her and came around to the drivers side. She watched him as he passed in front of the windshield and was in awe that this was actually happening. No fiancÚs or girlfriends holding them back.

Oh crap. He had broken it off with Karen, right?

He eased into the driver seat, reached for the ignition and paused. He turned to her.

“Before we go, I should tell you that I broke up with Karen. Let’s just...get that out of the way. I can tell you more later if you want but you don’t have to worry about that.”

Phew. How did he always know?

“That’s kind of a relief to hear. I guess I should tell you that I broke up with Dwight.”
“Oh, did I not tell you about that?” she joked. “Yeah, he really knows his way around a pair of beets.”
“Beesly! Gross!”
“And then he showed up at my apartment tonight—right before you, oddly enough—but he was too heartbroken to speak. Just creepily stared at me…”

They laughed together as he reached for her hand across the center console.

“I’m really glad we’re doing this.”

The look in his eyes made her heart skip a beat.

“Me too.”


Dinner was filled with laughter and stories. Pam filled Jim in on Dwight’s shenanigans from earlier that day and Jim told Pam old Andy stories from Stamford. They also had the hard conversations. Jim hashed out his breakup with Karen and they talked about the mistakes they had both made over the past three years in regard to each other. But even through the tough topics, it all felt so comfortable to Pam. It was amazing how seamless they slid back into being the center of each other’s lives and she loved it that way.

Before they knew it, they were the last ones in the restaurant and the hostess was giving them death stares.

“Guess that’s our cue,” Pam sighed. “I’m just going to use the ladies room real quick and we can go.”

She really didn’t want the night to end.


They pulled up to her apartment complex and he got out to grab the car door for her again—something Roy never did, even when things were good. He took her hand and walked her up to her door. There, he pulled her into another hug that once again made her dissolve right into him. She desperately wanted him to kiss her but she was also slightly nervous. The hand holding and hugs were easy but kissing felt like a whole different ball game. One that would for sure pull them from friends to something more. She very much wanted that, but it didn’t make her any less daunted by “the point of no return”. Jim finally pulled away.

“See you tomorrow?”
“Yeah, see you tomorrow. Thank you, Jim. For everything.”

He leaned in toward her and she closed her eyes, only to feel his lips on her forehead instead of her mouth.

“Goodnight, Pam.”

She slunk back into her apartment, filled with a twinge of disappointment that he hadn’t kissed her. There would be more dates, she told herself. Maybe he didn’t feel quite as strongly has he did before and needs to work back up to it. Just then she noticed her cell phone light blinking, showing a voicemail. She opened it and put the phone to her ear, shocked to hear Jim’s voice.

Hey Pam, it’s me, your devilishly handsome date. You left your phone home, so by the time you get this our date will officially be over. Which is crazy unfortunate, because I’m having a wonderful time. Right now, you are in the bathroom at the restaurant so I know I probably don’t have too much time to leave this message. Anyway, since the date is over, I hope I will have had the courage to kiss you. But you should know I’m pretty freakin’ nervous. I don’t want to screw it up. So I’m leaving this message in case I don’t have the nerve to say it at your doorstep.

The truth is, Pam, that I am so incredibly smitten with you. You are the first thing I think of when I wake up. Not even my fantasy football lineup, Pam. You. My thoughts revolve around you. All the time. I think you are beautiful and funny and so smart and just...perfect.

The past year I have felt so lost. I think I knew what I wanted but had no idea how to get there, so I just wandered, making all kinds of wrong turns. But you are home for me, Pam. I finally found my way back home.

Aaaaaand you’re coming back from the bathroom gottagobye!

She felt the tears welling up in her eyes, so glad that she was finally able to cry happy tears about him for once.

She was startled by two knocks on her door. She ran over and flung it open.

She stepped out and shut the door behind her. “Jim?”

“I forgot something…”

He pushed her back against the door, his fingers through her hair, lips against hers. She responded, running her own fingers through the back of his hair and down his neck as his hands explored her waist and lower back, thumbs barely brushing her skin under the hem of her blouse. His kisses, first heated and passionate, slowed and softened. He gave her one last delicate kiss and put his forehead on hers, his hands on her waist. Dizzy, she grounded herself and looked him in the eyes, her breath still heavy but her soul lighter than ever.

She took his face in her hands.

“Welcome home, Halpert.”
End Notes:
Thank you so much for all the reads and reviews! It’s been a very long time since I’ve written anything and had a lot of fun getting back into it. I’ll definitely be writing more!
This story archived at http://mtt.just-once.net/fanfiction/viewstory.php?sid=5864