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not-so-secret kisses

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Michael is leaning in the doorway to his office. Normally, this would mean distractions galore, but Jim is surprised to see Michael actually reading something inside a manila folder on top of a small stack of more manila folders. It's strange. Jim glances at him and slowly turns his his chair around to face his desk. He smiles at Pam who gives him an amused smirk.

“Get back to work, Halpert,” Pam whispers, and Jim tuts.


“I am working,” he whispers back. “It's all happening up here.” He taps his temple and grins at her, but he does turn his gaze back to his computer. His attention is quickly called away again, though, when Michael speaks.

“Hey, Ryan,” he says, and Jim glances around the office. For once, everyone is diligently working. No cameras lurking, it's a rare work day free of supervision, and Jim is obviously the only one suffering from it. “I looked over this,” Michael continues to say, and Jim angles his chair to face reception, keeping Michael in his sights without looking like he's keeping Michael in his sights. Ryan breezes passed Jim and pushes up his glasses, coming to stop a decent ways away from Michael.

“Is it good?” Ryan asks, stepping forward just a bit to lean over the manila folder.

Michael hems and haws for a few seconds before he chuckles. “Yeah, it's fine.” Jim looks their way completely when Michael moves and he watches Michael pull a pen from the inner pocket of his suit jacket. Michael signs with a flourish and snaps the manila shut. Jim blinks and Ryan takes the manila, flipping it open.

“Thanks, babe,” Ryan says absently, lowly, and Jim's eyes widen when Ryan leans in and he definitely kisses Michael though he seems distracted skimming over the folder.


Wide eyed, Jim twists his chair back to face his computer and he stares at the Dunder Mifflin logo that is his screensaver.

“Jim?” Pam whispers. “What's wrong?”


For a moment, Jim considers telling her what he saw but he just can't bring himself to. So, he shakes his head, gives his mouse a wiggle, and opens a new word document to at least distract himself from what he hopes he hallucinated.


Pam's holed up in the conference room, working on some office administrator project that she's very hush-hush about. What does this mean for Jim? He has to sit in the kitchen and eat leftover spaghetti alone. No one else wants to sit with him, not even Michael. Michael always wants to sit with him! Kelly came through earlier, holding hands with Erin and clinging close to her girlfriend, but not even the most talkative people in the office wanted to eat lunch with him!

Jim sighs loudly and takes a bite of spaghetti, grimacing at the cold-hot-cold battling it out in his mouth.”Gotta love microwaves,” he mutters, shaking his head. He perks up and swallows his food when the door to the kitchen opens, although he shrinks in on himself when he realizes it's Michael and Ryan.

“Hey, Jim,” drawls Ryan, and Jim smiles half-heartedly. Michael grins at him and bounds over to the microwave. He pops his food in and leans on the counter.

“So anyway,” Michael says, turning his head toward Ryan who takes a bite from his sandwich. “I was thinking, Italian for dinner? We can start watching Twilight.” Jim's brows knit together at that comment. He had half convinced himself that the... Kiss the week before was a hallucination, but... Michael doesn't just watch Twilight with anyone.

Ryan hums. “What if we skip the first two, and just watch Eclipse?”

Michael shakes his head. “They eat at an Italian place in the first one, Ryan! We can't eat Italian and skip the founding movie!” Before Ryan can respond, and Jim is glad because he's slightly terrified to listen to two grown men argue about what Twilight movie to watch first, the microwave beeps and Michael pushes off the counter and whirls around to get his food. “Hey, Jimbo!” Michael says as he tugs out the Tupperware from the microwave. “Can I eat with you?”


Jim clears his throat and sits up right so he doesn't look like he's trying to get away from them. “Sure, Michael,” he says with a nervous laugh. He averts his gaze when Ryan looks at him, cool and assessing, but he looks back up when Ryan speaks.

“I'm gonna go finish my lunch in the annex,” Ryan says. “I got a lot of stuff to do. We will talk about Twilight tonight.” Michael gives a dramatic sigh.

“Fine, but I'm telling you. I'm gonna win. We are totally gonna watch Twilight first,” Michael says, and Ryan rolls his eyes, leaning in. Jim can't see either of their faces, but he's pretty sure they're kissing. Again. In front of him! He looks around wildly, but the camera crews are no where in sight and no one else in the bullpen or the annex seems to be paying attention to them!


“What the hell?” he breathes, wide eyed. He's not hungry anymore, and when he can see Ryan's face again, Ryan fixes him with a glare.


“Mind your business, Halpert,” Ryan snaps, gathering up his paper lunch sack. He storms passed Jim and into the annex, and Jim helplessly exclaims,

“This is the kitchen!”


“Morning meeting!” Michael calls as he exits his office. He grins at everyone and waves them in. “Stanley, Phyllis! Oscar, my man!” He finger guns at Oscar and jogs off as everyone sluggishly files into the conference room. Jim watches Michael, can hear him shouting into the annex about morning meetings, and Michael jogs back with Holly and Kelly on his heels.

Michael comes to a stop with his back to the wall between his office and the conference room and he waves everyone in, slapping Darryl on the shoulder and ruffling Angela's hair as she goes by.

“Jim?” Michael asks, fixing him with a wide eyed hang dog look and Jim sighs. Before he can push himself up from his chair, though, the front door to the office opens and shuts hurriedly. Jim and Michael face the entrance in surprise, but Michael's face lights up at the sight of Ryan Howard looking harried. “Ryan!” he exclaims happily, and even Jim recoils at the glare Ryan fixes Michael with.

“You were supposed to wake me,” Ryan hisses, and Jim looks at the camera that is finally in the room at the same time as whatever is happening between Ryan Howard and Michael Scott. Ryan unravels his scarf and shoves it in his coat pocket, his gloves following before he takes it off. The shirt he's wearing is a little baggy and God, Jim hates that he knows that just from looking.

Michael sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose and Jim tries to sink into his chair, although it hardly matters because Michael and Ryan never seem to care if he's there.

“You looked so cute this morning,” Michael mutters finally. “I didn't want to wake you. I thought your late alarm would.” Michael stops pinching his nose to press his hands together. “Please forgive me, Ryan.”

Before Ryan can answer, Phyllis calls, “Michael? Is everything okay? We're waiting, you know. Some of us have important work to do.” Jim glances at one of the cameras for a brief moment before he looks back toward the scene in front of him. Ryan has moved from reception to standing in front of Jim, eyes glued to Michael.

“Yes, Phyllis,” Michael says, glancing over his shoulder, exasperated. “I'll be in there in a sec! Geesh!” He shakes his head and looks back to Ryan, jumping a little at their sudden proximity. “Ry?”

Ryan huffs and leans in and Jim has a crisp, clear view of Ryan pressing a quick kiss to Michael's mouth before he slips around Michael and darts into the conference room. Michael keeps his cool about this whole kissing thing and turns to face Jim expectantly.

“Jim? Conference room?” He says it like Jim caused the disturbance, and not Ryan who came in late because...? Because Michael didn't want to wake him up!



For a few long seconds, Jim stares off to the side of the camera. He hopes he doesn't look dead inside, but since he feels dead inside he wouldn't put money down on him having a normal resting face. When he finally looks at the camera, his gaze is determined.

“Where have you guys been?! Am I the only one who knows about this! No one else would even believe me if I told them!” Jim shakes his head in exasperation, letting out a disbelieving laugh. “I didn't believe me until just now! Third time's the charm, I guess. God... Pam won't even believe me, can you believe that?” Jim sighs and runs a hand down his face, stopping at his mouth. “Michael... and Ryan? I mean... Really? Really?!” He scoffs. “... Wow.”


“Jim?” Michael calls, and Jim does not cringe he just... Has a crick in his neck, that's all. A crick that acts up every time Michael talks to him because he cannot get the image of Michael and Ryan kissing out of his head. It's haunting him and he wants nothing more than to forget and move on!

“Yeah, Michael?” Jim asks, not looking away from his computer screen. Expense reports are suddenly so much more fascinating now than they were two minutes ago.

“Can you come in here, please?” Perfect. Just what Jim never wanted to do, ever again for the rest of his life. He sends a pained look to a camera and gets up, trudging the few feet into Michael's office painfully. Michael waves him to a chair and he goes, painfully, grudgingly.

“What's up, Michael?” Jim asks, trying to keep his tone light and casual. If Michael can act cool and nonchalant about randomly being kissed by Ryan Howard, Michael of all people who romanticizes everything that happens to him, then Jim can act cool and nonchalant about randomly seeing Michael be kissed by Ryan Howard, right? That's totally how it works.

Jim is startled when Michael pulls some papers and actually gets to work.

“This report you filed,” he begins, and Jim relaxes, leaning forward to better see the report in question. They discuss it, going over parts of Jim's handwriting Michael can't read, clarifying discounts and contracts, actual work stuff. Boring stuff that Jim never thought he'd be more grateful for. It takes a while, because Michael is still Michael and some things just don't make sense to him, but Jim is glad to explain. Expense reports can suck it, because the awkwardness that Jim isn't entirely convinced is one sided is finally dissolving.

The curt knock on Michael's office door ruins all of that, though, and Jim hangs his head when Ryan asks,

“Michael, can you look over this for me?”

“Sure,” Michael says dismissively. “Put it in the pile.” He gestures to the surprisingly small stack in his inbox. “I'll get to it when I get to it. Now Jim, it says here that they ordered 3 years' worth of printers?”

Jim perks up and shakes his head as Ryan walks further into the room. “No, they ordered a 3 year warranty on all of their office printers, which is 1.99$ a month because of all the discounts you and Gabe authorized.” Ryan sets down the folder on the top of Michael's in pile and Jim tenses when he slinks around the side of the desk.

“1.99$ a month for all the printers?” Michael wonders, and Ryan drops a hand to massage one of Michael's shoulders. Jim looks around for a camera and scowls when he sees them zoning in on something Dwight is doing.

“No,” Jim says again, “1.99$ a month per printer. Considering they ordered twenty printers, I'd say it's a good deal.” He warily looks back to the pair and Michael hums. Finally, Michael nods.

“Okay!” he chirps. “Looks good, Jimbo! Thanks!” Then, dismissively, Michael looks at Ryan. “What's up, Ry-Guy?” he asks, flipping Jim's report back to the front absently.'

“Nothing,” Ryan mutters, but he leans down and kisses Michael before Jim can make a break for the door. “Look over my report, will you?” he asks, tapping the manila on the top of the pile. He kisses Michael quickly again and heads to the door in time to meet the cameras that Jim gives long, suffering looks to individually.


“I cannot be the only one seeing this!” Jim shouts, running a hand through his hair. “This is insane! They kiss like no one's in the room! I was right there!” He lets out a frustrated sigh and bites his thumbnail absently. He glares when one of the producers asks a question. “How can they not care! My god! I'm going insane. I've got to be going insane.”


“Jim,” Oscar says, his tone so condescending. Jim turns his gaze to the only camera in the kitchen and Oscar continues talking like he doesn't notice the look on Jim's face, “You really expect us to believe Michael Scott, Michael Scott, is in a relationship with Ryan? Ryan Howard? The guy you put in a closet? Michael didn't even take him out of the closet, Jim. Why would he leave his boyfriend in the supply closet?”

Jim sighs and shakes his head, looking around the break room. Kevin is staring at him blankly. Meredith just snorts and rolls her eyes. Andy looks like he can't decide whether or not he should laugh or cry, and even Pam is looking at him in disbelief.

“Pam,” he whispers, and she purses her lips and then sighs with a tutting sound.

“Sorry, honey,” she says sympathetically. “The evidence is stacked against you here. There's just... No way Michael and Ryan...”

Jim shakes his head again but then slowly nods, pressing his fingers over his lips. “Okay,” he whispers. “I mean... You're all wrong, but...” Oscar scoffs and scoops up his lunch trash. He throws it out and heads out of the break room, and that seems to be the trigger to everyone else gathering their trash or the remains of their lunch and heading out as well. It only takes a few seconds for Jim to be alone in the break room and he sighs, picking at his sandwich.

“Maybe I'm going crazy,” he says to the camera, and for some reason, Michael Scott takes that moment to walk into the break room. He's shaking coins in his hand and he doesn't even glance at Jim, heading straight for one of the vending machines.

“Cookies, cookies, cookies,” Michael mutters to himself, shouting, “Ah-ha!” when he finds what he wants. Jim is quick to look away as Michael pays for the cookies once... then twice. Of course. “Oh! Hey Jim!” Jim looks up and sends a quick glance to the camera that he hopes portrays 'Help Me' before he looks at Michael and smiles tensely. “Didn't see you there. You, uh, eatin' lunch alone? Again? What, you and the ol' ball and chain fighting?”

“No appropriate,” Jim chides softly, taking a bite of his sandwich just so he doesn't have to talk to him. Not about Pam, not about... Anything.

Michael snorts, though, and then giggles. “Pfft, so that's what it is!”

“Michael,” Jim says, at the same time as Ryan says, “Michael?”

Not again, Jim thinks, looking up at Ryan poking his head into the room. Ryan glances at him and Jim smiles awkwardly, although he tries to shrink into his chair at the appraising glare Ryan gives him before he steps into the room. Jim averts his gaze but that only makes it worse because now he hears and focuses on Ryan's footsteps, the sound of the vending machine flap opening and the cookie packages crinkling, Michael huffing and saying, “Ryan!”

The sounds are worse than not seeing and Jim steels himself to look up. A part of him hopes that they aren't doing what he knows they are doing, and he looks up in time to see Ryan thread his fingers through Michael's short hair and yank him down for a kiss that looks bruising and Jim looks away and starts gathering up his food. Before he can stand, Ryan huffs a laugh and Jim sees him take a package of cookies before heading back toward the kitchen.

For once, though, Michael reacts. He laughs a surprised laugh and looks around the break room, making eye contact with Jim and then making eye contact with the camera.

“Well... Uh... I guess you... Know, Jim?” Michael stammers, grinning like an idiot.

Jim clenches his fist and shakes it, grinning tightly at the camera. “Yeah... I...” Jim clears his throat and stands, holding tightly onto his paper lunch sack. “Yep,” he says, and he's embarrassed that his voice cracks. Michael giggles, and Jim makes a break for it, gaze averted.


“What the f- I... No one believes me?!” Jim runs a hand through his hair and glances behind him at the bullpen, glaring at everyone doing their work. The camera pans and zooms in on Pam who looks up, grins, and gives a small wave to Jim. In return, Jim scowls and turns his back on her, staring at the camera. “I'm right. You know I'm right. You know.”


Michael and Ryan are standing together at reception, holding hands. The thing is, Jim is the only one at just the right angle to see their hands laced together just under the top of the desk. They're talking, but Jim is making a point to pretend he can't hear their hurried whispers by focusing intently on the spreadsheet open on his desktop.

“Everyone!” Michael's voice pierces the air, and Jim looks up, lips pressed together. He spins his chair to face Michael and Ryan, and Pam does as well but not before sending him an amused, curious look. “I... I have thought about where I wanted to do this,” he says to everyone, stepping forward. Jim's brows knit and he looks between Michael, grinning Michael, and Ryan who is trying to be plain faced but Jim can see a smile tugging at his mouth.

“Do what, Michael?” Pam asks with that innocent curiosity she had long since perfected when it came to Michael.

Michael takes a deep breath and shakes his hands out. He exhales sharply and Jim sits upright when Michael reaches one hand into his pocket.

“This,” he says, pulling out what looks suspiciously like a ring box.

“Michael?” Pam and Dwight ask, and Jim glances at the camera before looking back to the scene. Michael has turned to face Ryan and Jim claps his hands together tightly once and leans forward, elbows on his knees, his clasped hands dangling between his knees. Pam gasps when Michael Scott drops down on one knee in front of Ryan Howard.

“Ryan Bailey Howard,” Michael says. “I thought long and hard about this...” Jim and Ryan mouth 'that's what she said' as Michael adds it before continuing seriously. “I love you, Ryan. And for some... Crazy reason, you love me?” Michael laughs a startled laugh. “And I thought... Where better to do this than... the place I first saw you and fell in love with you? So... I mean... What I'm getting at...”

“For God's sake, Michael!” Kelly shouts across the room. “Just ask him already! He's crazy in love with you, he's gonna say yes!”

Kelly,” Ryan groans, and Michael laughs and pops open the ring box.

“Ryan, will you marry me?” Michael asks in a quick breath, and Ryan nods.

“Of course, idiot,” he says, and Jim can see Michael's grin as he rushes to his feet. Michael quickly slips the ring onto Ryan's finger and discards the ring box. Jim clicks his tongue and points at the camera with a knowing smirk when Michael cups Ryan's cheeks and pulls him in for a kiss while the office around them applauds.


“Boom,” Jim says, folding his arms across his chest.