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For yuletide 2006, I was assigned to michellek, who requested The Office, Toby/Pam, sweet and semi-happy.

Title: All the Patient States
Author: voleuse
Fandom: The Office
Pairing: Pam/Toby
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: I couldn't see myself into a map, couldn't be anywhere in it.
Notes: Set before 3.08



Pam usually isn't the first person in the office. If she woke up twenty minutes earlier, she could be. If she happens to wake up that early, however, she'd rather watch a rerun of The Daily Show over coffee than have to turn on all the lights in the office. Plus, she hates it when people reset the thermostat, so it's better if she doesn't see them do it.

On good days, she gets to work at 8:10 in the morning. She hangs up her coat and tells herself today won't be so bad. Then Michael arrives half an hour later, and she remembers that, yes, it will be.

After Michael, once again, compliments her breasts while still managing to insult her wardrobe, Pam stares into her mug of tea and wishes for an Irish coffee.

Toby is hanging up his coat, and he glances over at her. She looks up, and his smile is sympathetic.

"Sometimes I feel the same way," he tells her.

She doesn't have to ask him what he's talking about. They both already know.

*


It's past ten when Pam decides tea isn't going to cut it. She heads to the break room to grab a Diet Coke, and that's when Kelly decides to tell her all about what happened on The Bachelor last night.

There's a lot of details, but mostly Pam gathers the guy in question is totally dreamy. Also, he's been hanging out with a total skank, but it's totally not going to work, because he's secretly, totally in love with this one girl who's not as pretty, but really, really cute.

Pam nods a lot when she talks to Kelly. It's easier than asking questions.

Toby walks in and peruses the candy bar selection. "Hey," he says.

"Hey," Pam replies, and then Kelly asks him what his opinion of Tiffany the skank is, and isn't she totally a skank?

Toby pauses in his quest for a Snickers. "Who?"

"We're talking about The Bachelor," Pam explains. "That TV show."

"Oh." He looks at Kelly. "Sorry. I actually watched a rerun of Friends last night."

"The one with that animal control lady?" Pam interjects. "I love that episode."

"Yeah," Toby grins. "Me, too."

"That's cool," Kelly says. "But seriously, Toby, that girl is so wrong for him, let me tell you--"

It's fifteen minutes before either of them escape, but they finally agree that Tiffany is definitely skank material.

*


Today's the final day to get contract renewals in, so of course Michael wants to wait until the end of the day to sign them. It happens every year, and it drives Pam crazy. At least Michael isn't in control of their raises--although sometimes, she suspects she'd be paid more if he was.

In any case, she fills out everything she can, based on her files. Names, social security numbers, addresses. For the rest, she has to go to Toby.

He swivels in his chair when she arrives at his cubicle, his arm already extending. "Contracts?"

"Yeah," she replies. "I filled out as much as I could."

"I'll do the rest." He flips through the folder, nodding to himself a couple of times. "I can get it to Michael before lunch." He's holding a pen in his hand, and he taps it against the contract on the top.

"Oh, good." She can't keep the relief out of her voice. "That'll help."

"Maybe Stanley won't have to forge Michael's signatures this year," Toby kids.

It shouldn't be funny, but Pam laughs anyway.

*


After Toby drops the contracts off on Michael's desk (Michael stating very loudly, "If it wasn't for you, Toby, these people could all live in mansions!"), he pauses at Pam's desk.

"Thanks, Toby," she says.

Toby shrugs. "It'll be a while before Michael signs them," he predicts. "We might as well go out for coffee or something."

Pam grins. "Yeah, and when we'd get back, he still wouldn't be done." Then she goes back to her game of solitaire.

It's a minute before Toby walks away, but she looks up and catches his wave.

*


Since she's at the low ebb of the pay period, Pam brown-bagged her lunch. A ham and cheese sandwich, some carrot sticks, and another Diet Coke from the vending machine. Dwight's in the break room, sitting with his back to Angela, so Pam opts for the kitchen instead.

It's empty, save for Toby, who's standing at the counter wielding a plastic knife and a styrofoam plate.

"Fancy lunch today?" she asks, settling at the table and unpacking her paper bag.

Toby shrugs, then pops open the microwave. "Bagel pizza," he explains. The bagel's set on a paper towel. The cheese has dripped over one side, but it smells really good.

Pam glances at her sandwich. "That's a good idea. Is it easy to pack?"

"Pretty easy." Toby transfers the bagel to his plate, and sits across from Pam. "I use frozen mozzarella when I put it together."

Pam wrinkles her nose, and he laughs.

"It sounds weird, but it keeps better in here." He gestures back at the fridge, which is rattling. "It's a trick I learned."

Pam takes a bite of carrot and considers this as she chews. "It still tastes the same?"

"The trick is," Toby cuts his bagel in half, "to use more than plain marinara."

"I like mushrooms," Pam offers.

In response, he offers her half his bagel in trade for the rest of her carrot sticks.

*


Later that afternoon, Pam makes her way back to Toby's cubicle again, an oblong box hidden behind her back. Toby's talking on the phone as she approaches, and she pauses, unsure whether she should interrupt.

"...told me about the recital before, I would have made it," he's saying, voice low. "I can't drop everything and drive out to the school. You know that."

Pam takes a step back, then stops. Hovers.

"Will you at least record it for me?" He pauses. "Yeah, I'm sorry, too. Thanks." Another pause. "Give her my love."

He hangs up the phone, sighs. He opens one of his drawers, and when he closes it, maybe it's a slam.

Pam makes a decision, moves forward again. "Knock, knock," she calls out, as cheerfully as she can manage.

"Hey, Pam." Toby doesn't smile, but some of the sadness melts off his face. "What's up?"

"We got another delivery at the warehouse," she tells him. "I snagged a box of these for you." She hands him the box, and its contents rattle.

Toby takes the box, and his gaze on it is almost reverent. "I love these pens," he murmurs.

"I noticed you were using the cheap ones this morning," she explains. "I figured you could use some nicer ones."

"I..." Toby squeezes his fingers against the box. "Thank you, Pam."

She smiles at him, and when she tells him, "My pleasure," she means it.


###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from Jill Osier's You Can't Buy Shoes in a Painting. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Originally archived here.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
zauberer_sirin
Jan. 1st, 2007 06:42 am (UTC)
i love this one. their bonding over Friends! and he is so in love! i love this pairing, and this was brilliantly written and made me smile like mad.
moodfic
Jan. 11th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
(Deleted comment)
moodfic
Jan. 11th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
*g* Thanks!
severuslovesme
Jan. 1st, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC)
I love this! Pam and Toby are awesome, and you captured their awkwardness+friendship relationship perfectly :)
moodfic
Jan. 11th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!
neongreenleaf
Jan. 1st, 2007 09:16 pm (UTC)
I'm liking Pam/Toby more than I expected. Excellent as always.
moodfic
Jan. 11th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!
dollsome
Jan. 14th, 2007 07:34 pm (UTC)
Ohh, this is perfect. I love the way you showed them sort of becoming each other's bright spots amidst the Dunder Mifflin mediocrity. :)

Toby shrugs. "It'll be a while before Michael signs them," he predicts. "We might as well go out for coffee or something."

Pam grins. "Yeah, and when we'd get back, he still wouldn't be done." Then she goes back to her game of solitaire.


This in particular is just so on -- Toby being so brave and asking her out and Pam just completely not getting it. That falls in so perfectly with every single moment they've ever had on the show, and, like those moments, it kills my soul very effectively. But in a good way.

And then she got him the fancy pens! Oh, it's all just so lovely.
moodfic
Jan. 16th, 2007 04:33 am (UTC)
*blush* Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed the story!
quietdecember
Jan. 22nd, 2007 02:32 am (UTC)
So Sweet! I <3 Pam/toby
Write more!
moodfic
Feb. 20th, 2007 08:13 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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