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Cross-posted on AO3

I researched concussions for this story, and anxiety and nightmares are in fact symptoms of a concussion, so all of that is factual. There was definitely something bigger than just fear happening to him that ep, and a concussion would make sense with how hard Dwight when at it the first time. 

It had been a long night. A very, very long night.

It took a long time for Jim and Pam to pull out of the car park of Dunder Mifflin. Jim was attacking snowmen for at least ten minutes when Pam made her first attempt to drag him away, coming up next to him with a gentle hand and a calming voice. She took the umbrella from his hand and started to lead him to the car, whispering reassurances to him. It was going well until he turned around and saw a snowman he hadn’t attacked yet, and he took off towards them once more.

It took another couple of attempts for Pam to get Jim in the car, leading him over to the passenger’s side once she’d convinced him. Usually, Jim wouldn’t let Pam drive in the snow, scared, terrified, something would happen to her, but he wasn’t in the mindset to protest it. He was shivering like a leaf, and neither knew whether it was from the cold or from fright.

As they drove home Pam would look over to Jim, sitting shaking with eyes darting around in the seat beside her. She herself was starting to get a little scared, she’d never seen Jim act like this, so totally terrified over something. Heck, he freaked out when the lights flickered, he didn’t even want to leave the building in the first place.

Jim let out a small gasp as one of the streetlamps flickered, and Pam looked over to him in a hurry. Grabbing his hand, she held it to her lips and pressed a gentle kiss to his knuckles. His fingers were freezing. “Hey,” She whispered, linking their hands over the centre console, “You’re okay.”

Jim hummed, unconvinced, and let go of her hand with a squeeze so she could put it back on the steering wheel. Pam sighed, and they continued their drive home. Jim’s parents had agreed to have Cece for the night because they knew due to the Christmas party they’d probably be staying back a little later than usual (Which had then turned into a lot later than usual, after her getting caught late, Jim not wanting to leave and the whole snowmen fiasco) and by the time they would have gotten out of work, driven to the Halpert’s and then driven home, Cece would be fussy and likely, not able to sleep the rest of the night.

They pulled into their driveway and Pam put the car in park, turning to Jim once more. “Are you alright?” She asked softly, reaching over to stroke his hair and forehead lightly.

Jim nodded again but stiffened as something caught his eye out the window. “Snowman?” He asked, his voice wobbling.

Pam turned to look out the window and smiled tightly when she realised the thing he was so worried about was the snowman they made with Cece a few nights prior. Her worry was getting bigger now, this didn’t just seem like fear anymore. This was something much bigger.

“Baby, it’s just the snowmen we made a couple of nights ago. We’re safe here, okay?”

Jim drew in a breath. “Okay.”

“Okay, let’s get you inside. Come on, it's okay." Unbuckling his seatbelt for him, Jim and Pam got out of the car and walked slowly to the front door. Pam gripped Jim's arm as she had in the car park, making sure he didn't lash out or jump around too much. 

Pam unlocked the door and let Jim in ahead of her, and she led him over the couch, dropping her coat and bag against the coffee table. "Jim, I need to ask you something and I need you to answer truthfully, okay?"

"Okay, what is it?" Jim asked.

"When Dwight hit you, in the many times he did, did you get hurt? I know was blood which I assume came from your nose, but I need to know if you hit your head on anything or if the snowballs were hard," Pam said, eyeing him up and down.

Jim sighed, his lip forming a pout as tears welled up in his eyes. "My head," He mumbled, "The first time he hit my head over and over and I ended up on the ground, that's when the blood happened. The snowballs were really hard, like solid ice.”

Pam drew in a breath through her teeth, grabbing Jim’s chin to look him over more thoroughly. “Look, I’m no doctor, but I have a feeling you may have some kind of mild concussion. I think we should probably get you checked out,” She said.

“Is that really necessary? Can’t we just stay here and go to sleep? I just want this day to be over,” Jim asked.

“I know baby, but better be safe than sorry. You don’t act like this normally Jim, it’s a little scary. Please let me take you to urgent care, just in case?"

Jim relented and agreed, letting Pam drive them to the closest urgent care. It turns out he did in fact have a concussion, albeit one mild enough that nothing could really be done about it and he was allowed to go home with a prescription of pain medications if his head started to hurt and some mild anxiety medication for his lasting paranoia.

By the time they got home, they were in the waiting room for a long time, Jim was spent, almost asleep in the passenger's seat, minus the few times he jolted back to full alertness when the lights changed. Pam drove with her lip in between her teeth the whole time, glad she'd taken him to the doctors but hoping the pills set in soon.

She helped him up the stairs and into bed, exhausted herself, and let him lay across her chest, running her fingers through his unwieldy hair softly. She kissed his head a few times. "I love you. You're safe here, I’ve got you," She repeated a few times, in a mantra.

"I love you too," Jim whispered, his eyes drifting shut as he finally succumbed to sleep, Pam following shortly after.

+++

What must have been only three or four hours later, Jim woke up with a start, flailing around wildly as he fought off the visions of his nightmare.

Things coming towards him, coming at his face with the goal of hurting him. The same things hurtling towards Pam and Cece. Darkened silhouettes throwing those things coming closer and closer until they closed him into a hole.

A strangled cry escaped from his throat as he pushed himself up into a sitting position, throwing the blankets off and curling his knees towards his chest. His hands moved from over his racing heart and through his hair, tugging it desperately. The trembling was back, his whole body in an uncontrollable shiver.

Beside him, Pam stirred, her eyes opening slowly, expecting to see him across her chest but instead seeing him sitting up. She pushed herself up and reached out for him. “Jim? What’s wrong honey?”

Jim’s eyes snapped towards her and he let out a sigh of relief, scooping her up in his arms. “Pam!” He cried, squeezing her close to him.

“Hey, hey, hey. You’re alright. You’re okay,” She soothed, replacing his hands with her won in his hair.

“They were coming for us, Pam. For me and you and Cece,” Jim whispered, a tear dripping onto Pam’s shoulder.

“Who was coming for us, honey?”

“I don’t know, I couldn’t see who it was. But they had something and they were throwing things and it was hurting everyone and they kept closing in on us until it was like we were in a hole and even then they didn’t stop and…”

“Woah baby, take a breath,” Pam interrupted his ramble, putting her hands on his shoulders to pull him back slightly, “Look at me, and we’ll breathe together, okay? Inhale, exhale."

“I seem to remember me doing this to you,” Jim mumbled between breaths. 

Pam smiled. “That’s right, so you know how much it works. Keep taking breaths, I’m right here,” She coaxed, keeping her calming smile steady as she kept her hands running through his hair. She figured his nightmare was a symptom of the concussion, she’d spoken to the doctor when Jim was out of earshot about the anxiety and the possibility of it worsening, and that whatever was coming for them in his dream were just snowmen or Dwight

Once Jim had calmed down enough that he wasn’t trembling as he had been, and now that his tears seemed to be at bay, she grabbed his face with both hands, eyes bearing into his. “Listen to me Jim, you are safe here. Nothing is going to get you, no snowmen and no Dwight. We’re safe. You’re okay, I’m okay and Cece is okay over at your parent’s place. Everything is fine,” She said, firm but soft at the same time.

Jim nodded slightly. “We’re safe, we’re okay,” He repeated, still nodding as if he was trying to convince himself of the fact.

“Yeah, we are. I won’t ever let anything happen to you Jim, I promise.”

“And I won’t ever let anything happen to you either. Or Cece.”

Pam nodded, pressing a kiss to his jaw, and Jim, now even more exhausted than he had been earlier, lay them down, keeping Pam close to his chest.

“I don’t know why I’m acting like this, I’m sorry,” Jim mumbled after a while.

“Don’t apologize, honey, it’s okay. I think you’ll find it’s probably just your concussion, it can do things like this sometimes I think,” Pam assured him, squeezing him tight.

Jim didn’t say anything else after that, safe for a quick, whispered “I love you,” before he fell asleep again. Pam smiled when she felt his breathing even out and reached for his hand, holding it in her own. She just hoped it was going to be an easier night for him from that point on.

She hated how scared he was, she hated that he felt that way and there was essentially nothing she could do to help him, though she knew the main thing was that for now, he seemed okay. He seemed to believe her when she said they were safe, and his panic seemed to decrease as time after the nightmare went on. He seemed okay, he was okay.

One thing was for certain, she was going to be having quite the conversation with Dwight the next day.

Chapter End Notes:
I watched this episode for the first time as I wrote my last Office oneshot and I'm obsessed with it (Stan, the streaming service I watch The Office on does this thing with all it's tv shows where it makes a separate season for all the Christmas episodes around the holidays, and I love them for that). My mind was swarming with ideas the second it was over.


One_Small_Writer is the author of 5 other stories.



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