Characters/Pairing: Oscar/Gabe, general Office ensemble
Word Count: 3,276
Spoilers: general through season 6
Summary: Oscar and Gabe vie for Warehouse Hottie Matt's affections. It's hard to say who does worse.
Author's Note: Dear The Office,
Can this happen in season 7 please?
I dream big.
“All’s fair in love and war, and this is a bit of both.”
-Ronald Weasley, God of Love
Oscar is in the middle of the fourth conversation he’s had with Warehouse Hottie Matt (a title bestowed upon him by Kelly, not Oscar, in one of those ill-advised break room heart-to-hearts that he never means to let happen) in the past three months. It also happens to be the fourth conversation he’s had about Avatar with Warehouse Hottie Matt in the past three months. He thinks it’s going pretty okay, and that he’s conveying all the necessary enthusiasm (even though, honestly, the only reason he went to see Avatar can be traced back to a conversation from last January, which went as follows:
“You seen Avatar yet?”
“No. Oh, um, no, I haven’t. Personally, I think there’s no way it can possibly live up to the insane hype it’s generated by this point—”
“Best. Movie. Ever. Best movie ever!!”
“—I am going to see it this weekend.”
“Man, that’s awesome. Go. See. Avatar.”
So he went and saw Avatar. Which, for the record, didn’t really live up to the hype).
“But seriously,” Warehouse Hottie Matt says. “Best movie ever. Like, I thought nothing was ever gonna beat The Dark Knight, and then bam!”
“Bam!” Oscar repeats. “Best movie of 2009, easy.”
“I thought you said,” says Gabe from where he stands by the coffee pot, “that Bright Star was the best movie of 2009.”
“What?” Oscar says. “No I didn’t.”
“Really? Because I could have sworn you did.”
“… You were talking to Pam, standing right about – hmm, right about here last week, and she said that she loved The Young Victoria, and you said that that was good, but if she wanted a truly remarkable period piece, she ought to watch Br—”
“Nope,” Oscar says. “That must have been … Kevin …”
“I don’t think I’d mix you up with Kevin,” Gabe says.
“It happens a lot,” Oscar says. “We’re both accountants.”
“Bright Star,” Warehouse Hottie Matt says, brow wrinkling. “Is that the one where all the kids go to, like, singing-and-dancing school? With Karen from Will & Grace?”
“No,” Oscar says, appalled.
Oscar takes a deep breath, then says, slowly and patiently, “That was Fame.”
“Oh yeah. Fame.” Warehouse Hottie Matt snorts. “Glee needs to sue those guys.”
There’s a reason he’s not called Warehouse Genius Matt.
The two of them watch him walk out of the kitchen.
“He’s probably a little young for you,” Gabe says.
“Yeah, well, I don’t see how it’s any of your …”
And then he sees how it’s any of Gabe’s.
“You like him,” Oscar realizes.
“That’s really not an appropriate topic of workplace conversation,” Gabe says.
“Workplace dating is very unprofessional,” Oscar says.
“Oh, absolutely unprofessional,” Gabe agrees.
“Unprofessional,” Oscar reiterates.
“Then again,” Gabe says, “he’s all the way down in the warehouse.”
“I think it would cast you,” Oscar says, “in a very poor light. People need to respect you.”
“Oh, I think they respect me already,” Gabe says.
“Morning, Gabrielle,” Meredith says, barging grumpily into the kitchen.
“It’s Gabe. Gabrielle is a girl’s na—”
“Hey, Gabrielle,” Dwight says, thundering in, “how’s Xena?”
He and Meredith high five. It’s so weird. Gabe’s presence is doing things for office unity that Oscar never would have dreamt possible.
“So, here’s the thing: you need to straight up murder Gabe.”
“I am not doing that,” Oscar says.
“Oh my God, Oscar, do you think you’re going to get anywhere in life with that attitude?”
“The attitude where I don’t murder people?”
“Um, pshhh, yeah. The only way to keep love is to FIGHT for it. Do you know how many girls I’ve had to bitch slap like whoa because they were scamming on Ryan?”
“Six,” Ryan says happily.
“Six,” Kelly affirms. “And once, we were in bikinis because it was at his friend Kyle’s pool party, and she full on pulled off my top, oh my gosh, it was really embarrassing – but also kind of awesome, because all the guys started freaking out, so then I pulled her top off—”
Ryan smiles nostalgically.
“Kelly,” Oscar says, “I really don’t think this is relevant.”
“Oh! Right! Gabe! Trying to get his grubby hands all over your warehouse hottie!”
“I doubt his hands are grubby,” Oscar says, to be fair. Gabe always seems very clean.
“I could get Ryan to kick his ass for you,” Kelly offers.
“Nope,” Ryan says.
“Actually, Ryan’s not going to be able to kick his ass for you,” Kelly corrects.
“I don’t need anyone to kick his ass for me—”
“It’s okay. We got this. I’ll think of something. Ooh! Does he have any small pets, do you know?”
“Kelly!” Oscar says, horrified.
“Not cool, Kelly,” Ryan says.
“I just meant so we could like kidnap it,” Kelly says impatiently. “Not dismember it or anything. I’m not Dwight.”
“I miss my gerbil,” Ryan mutters.
“Oh my God, Ryan, Patches ran away, okay? I had almost nothing to do with that.” She bounces her attention back to Oscar. Oscar’s not sure he wants it. “Okay, Oscar, here’s the deal: subterfuge.”
“That sounds,” Oscar says, “a little like Dwight.”
“You need to claim what is yours, SGF.” (SGF: Sassy Gay Friend. Kelly really, really wants one. Oscar is not terribly inclined to help her out in this department.) “You know what I want you to do? Right now?”
“Finish my leftover risotto?” Oscar says hopefully.
“Go out into the parking lot and key his car.”
“Kelly,” Oscar says, “no.”
“Key his car! Key his car! Key his car!” Kelly chants, clapping her hands together. Ryan bops his head along absently.
“Hey, um, Kel, that reminds me,” Ryan says. “This is weird because she’s your friend and everything, but Erin’s totally been hitting on me lately.”
“What??” Kelly gasps. “But – what about Andy?”
“I know,” Ryan says. “I was really surprised, too.”
“God. Erin! Way to slut it up!”
Oscar glances out the kitchen window at Erin. She’s currently giggling with earnest enjoyment at Michael’s (dated) reenactment of Surprise Kitty. Oscar thinks she may have the purest soul of anyone he’s ever known.
“You should probably fight her, just to be on the safe side,” Ryan says. Then adds, “In a tub of Jello.”
“Where are we going to find a tub of Jello in Scranton?” Kelly demands.
“Oh my God, Kelly,” Ryan says, “do you think you’re going to get anywhere in life with that attitude?”
“It would be sort of Ke$haish,” Kelly reflects admiringly.
Oscar bumps into Gabe on his way into the bathroom a few days later. This run-in occurs roughly a half hour after Gabe has given a lecture to the office at large about how watching YouTube at work is completely unacceptable, even if it is that Modern Family clip where Mitchell and Cameron accidentally lock their baby in the car and people are judging them. As a result, he is the most hated person in the office. (Creed: “You suck, man!” Meredith: “What’s your problem?” Andy: “You, sir, are a hater of joy.”) He is even more despised than Dwight, who’s started composting at his desk.
There’s a tense moment where they just stare at each other. Oscar wonders for a weird and fleeting instant whether maybe Gabe just locked himself inside a bathroom stall to cry.
“Oscar,” Gabe says stiffly.
“Gabriel,” Oscar sneers, completely by accident. It just sort of happens. His inner Kelly cries, ‘Ooh, Oscar, you are so fierce right now!’ He hates his inner Kelly.
It has the desired effect. Gabe twitches. “No one … calls me that.”
“Well,” Oscar says, “I just did.”
“Yes,” Gabe says, “you did.”
“I had a nice chat with Matt earlier,” Gabe says then. “From the warehouse.”
“Mostly about printers,” Gabe continues, nonchalantly and demonically. “At first.”
Key his car! Key his car! cries Inner Kelly.
She’s interrupted by Michael.
“Whoa ho ho, you two! Get a room. But not a bathroom. Because that would be way too Wham. Wham, bam, thank you Sam.”
“That’s … not very topical,” Gabe says. Oscar understands it. It’s the easiest thing about that statement to critique. The least brain-breaking thing.
“Yeah, well, you’re topical. On topical of Oscar.”
“No,” Oscar says.
“You’re on topical of Gabe?” Michael asks Oscar, frowning curiously.
“Nobody’s on topical—” Gabe stops. Breathes. Looks like he might explode. Oscar does not hate that. “Nobody’s on top of anyone. And Michael, if you can’t keep the workplace free of egregious sexual allegations, I’m really going to have to report it to Jo.”
“I JUST WANT TO DANCE THE BALLEHHHH,” Michael cries with great zest.
Gabe frowns, opens his mouth, starts to say something, makes a sad little defeated noise, turns, and walks away.
“You should hit that,” Michael says sagely.
“Why in the world would you even suggest that?” Oscar demands.
“I dunno. You guys seem like a great match. You could be like the next Mitchell and Cameron. Except, you know, neither of you are fun or hilarious, so … two Mitchells.”
“Michael, how do you even know Gabe is gay?”
“His tie is purple,” Michael says, all duh.
“Michael,” Oscar sighs, “that’s really not a way to determine someone’s sexual orientation—”
“—Aaand he looks at you like you’re chocolate pudding.”
“I don’t know if I want to know what that means,” Oscar says.
“He would probably lick you off a spoon,” Michael explains helpfully.
“He’s interested in Matt,” Oscar says firmly. “From the warehouse.”
“Pfft! That guy? That guy needs to shut up about Avatar.”
Oscar’s immediate impulse is to laugh. He stifles it. Out of loyalty to the sickeningly good looking twenty-six year old warehouse worker who sort of knows Oscar exists and thinks Glee pre-dates Fame.
“—because Furry Vengeance is the best thing to happen to movies in forever. Well, that or Grown Ups.”
“Oh, Michael,” Oscar says. Not completely unfondly.
“What do you think of Gabe?”
She wrinkles her nose.
Oscar pretty much predicted as much.
“Although,” she adds, “I do appreciate that he came down with an iron fist on that hideous office trend to spend all work hours watching gay pornography.”
“Angela,” Oscar says, “Modern Family is not gay pornography.”
“That’s debatable,” Angela sniffs.
Gabe is standing at the reception desk talking to Erin. Andy is watching it happen, and the look on his face would (Oscar thinks) be more appropriate if Gabe were ravishing Erin at the reception desk.
Oscar feels a flash of sympathy.
“Don’t worry,” he mutters, pausing next to Andy’s desk. “He’s gay.”
“He is?” Andy asks, his face lighting up.
Erin laughs. Gabe chuckles awkwardly, like an alien who’s trying his best at a human being impersonation. Oscar gets the logic behind seeking out Erin as your one office friend. She’s the only one nice enough not to make fun of anybody. Even Gabe.
“Yes, Andy. I’m sure.”
“Could you sleep with him just to make extra sure?”
“No,” Oscar says.
“Damn it, Oscar!” Andy says, and buries his face in his hands.
Stanley throws a sluggishly judgmental look Oscar’s way.
“Damn it, Oscar,” Phyllis echoes, quietly and disapprovingly.
“I don’t think I ask a lot from this place,” Oscar says to the camera. “But I would really, really appreciate it if my coworkers would stop trying to get me to hook up with my current number-one enemy. That would be very nice.”
“Would it?” the camera guy asks. “You sure?”
“Really?” Oscar says, betrayed.
“Sometimes you have to take a chance to find love,” the camera guy says sagely, “in the place where you’d least expect it.”
“Why are you even talking?” Oscar demands to know.
“You should seduce Gabe, and then steal all of his underwear and hang it up all over the office!” Kelly suggests with radiant and sadistic joy. “Oh my God, there’s no way he doesn’t wear, like, the world’s creepiest tightie whities. And then you can be all like, ‘Bitch, this teaches you to try to steal my warehouse hottie, mm-mmm!’ And then you can punch him in his weird pasty face.”
“Is his face that weird?” Oscar muses. “I always thought he looked a little like Ryan. A tall, more sartorially evolved Ryan.”
“What? Oscar! Ew! As if! He’s like a stick insect made out of human parts! Ryan is soooo much hotter— What’s ‘sartorially advanced’, anyway?”
“He …” Oscar realizes the danger of uttering this sentence as soon as it begins coming out of his mouth, but he can’t stop it. “… dresses … better—”
“WHAT,” Kelly says, jaw dropping.
“It’s a subjective observation,” Oscar hastens to add.
Kelly does not see it that way.
Warehouse Hottie Matt sees Inception. Oscar finds this development encouraging, because here, at least, is a movie he has more to say about than Avatar. But when he walks into the break room, it’s to find—
“And it wobbled,” Gabe is saying, with ridiculous and clearly false enthusiasm, “but did it fall?”
“Yeah, exactly! Oh, God, man, my brain has hurt for like a week straight.”
“Oh,” Oscar says, “you guys talking about Inception?”
“We were,” Gabe says, “for awhile. The conversation seems to be coming to a close now. Too bad you missed it.”
“I better get back down to work,” says Warehouse Hottie Matt. Oscar can’t tell whether he’s totally oblivious, or just so used to guys being idiots in his presence that it doesn’t really faze him. “See you guys later.”
He leaves fifteen seconds of searing silence in his wake.
Oscar finds himself possessed by the fierce, merciless, and ill-advised spirit of Kelly Kapoor.
“It is on,” he snarls.
“Bring it,” Gabe spits.
… God, it’s so lame. They are the two least menacing people in the history of earth. They stare awkwardly at each other. The air is thick with sheer humiliation.
“I’ll never tell anyone you just said that if you never tell anyone I just said that,” Oscar caves.
“Deal,” says Gabe gratefully.
“Yeah, well, guess what, compadres: I’ll tell everyone,” Creed says, sauntering in. “Unless you give me fifty bucks.”
“Blackmail really isn’t work-appropriate—”
“Pay up, young buck,” Creed orders.
Gabe gives him a five. Creed seems satisfied, and goes to buy some CornNuts.
At the Dundies, Gabe wins the BLAH BLAH BLAH award. This is, unsurprisingly, accompanied by a performance of the Ke$ha song of the same name by Michael, Kelly, Erin, and Ryan. The lyrics have been altered to describe everything that sucks about Gabe and his remarkable skill for harshing the collective office mellow.
Gabe goes to sit by himself at the bar. He looks profoundly sad. Oscar feels a little bad for him, and then feels extremely pissed off about the unwanted surge of sympathy.
“I’m allergic to dogs,” Gabe says bleakly when Oscar comes up next to him. “Jo didn’t know. Or care. I worked for her dogs, essentially. I mean, for her. But it felt like I was working for her dogs. Such huge dogs. And they were … always peeing on everything. Mostly my shoes. And I think I may have come close to developing a House MD-reminiscent addiction to Claritin.”
“Can that happen?” Oscar says.
“I don’t know,” Gabe says miserably.
Oscar sits down on the stool next to him.
“God,” Gabe says, “this is the most miserable place.”
Oscar doesn’t know exactly what he means. Chili’s? The office? Scranton?
Any of them sounds just about right.
“Here’s the thing,” Oscar says. “I understand that you’re having a tough time. But I have reached an age that you probably cannot conceive of yourself ever being. I am alone. I am an accountant, here, and have been for over a decade. The best wingman I have ever had is Andy Bernard. No, it did not result in any actual dating. Yes, I did just use the word ‘wingman,’ and yes, that Andy Bernard. The one who is currently replacing the word ‘baby’ with the word ‘Dundie’ in a Justin Beiber song. Will you please, please, please just allow me this one small, Matt-shaped victory.”
Gabe stares at him for a long time.
Then one of the Chili’s waiters recognizes Pam. It gets pretty chaotic pretty fast.
Later, once Pam’s been kicked out and everyone has followed her in an act of rousing solidarity, Gabe comes up to Oscar in the parking lot, says “Fine,” and leaves.
Oscar smiles up at the night sky, big and starry and full of possibility.
Somehow, in a feat of Herculean glory (or the social equivalent thereof), Oscar asks Warehouse Hottie Matt to the movies. They go to see The Last Airbender. It is the worst thing that has happened to Oscar in the last five years. Worse than breaking up with Gil. Worse than getting kissed by Michael. Even the fact that he is sitting next to quite probably the best looking man in Scranton doesn’t do much to ease the blow. Oscar keeps shooting nervous glances at him, hoping that the expression of general amusement on his face doesn’t mean that he’s enjoying this monstrosity. God, he wishes he would wince. Scowl. Vomit a little.
“That was fun, huh?” Warehouse Hottie Matt says as they walk out of the theatre, seeming not at all ruined by the horrors they have seen.
“Oh, um,” Oscar says. He still has trouble talking around Warehouse Hottie Matt. It is mostly, he figures, because the guy is absurdly beautiful. But also because, well. They don’t have the most in common.
“We should do this again sometime,” Warehouse Hottie Matt suggests affably.
“Oh,” Oscar says. “Hmm. Er.”
Oscar and Gabe get to work at the same time the next morning. It’s drizzly out, like the weather can’t quite resign itself to raining. It’s prickly and annoying, and Oscar feels like his umbrella is overkill, like he’s some stodgy paranoid old man who’s overly concerned by the nonexistent risk of rheumatism. Gabe, he notices, has an umbrella too. They both pause in front of the elevator to close them.
“How was it?” Gabe asks crisply. He doesn’t look at Oscar.
“Great,” Oscar says. “It was great. It was – fine, it was – not the best. The movie. Was bad. Terribly bad.”
“That’s too bad,” Gabe says very formally. Oscar thinks he may be stifling a victory dance. Which is in everybody’s best interest.
“Yeah, well,” Oscar says, “he’s all yours. Good luck.”
“Thank you,” Gabe says. “Your surrender is appreciated.”
Oscar snorts as they step into the elevator together.
At lunch a few days later, Pam tells Oscar that she finally saw Bright Star.
“Pam,” Jim says, “I love you, but that was the most boring two hours of my entire life.”
“Really? You work here, and that was your most boring two hours?”
“I think it really would have benefited from a car chase,” Jim says solemnly. “And maybe a cameo by Tracy Morgan.”
“I admired its quietness,” Oscar says.
“Yes, exactly!” Pam says.
“Pam,” Jim says, “you fell asleep.”
Pam glares at him. “Because it was so soothing!”
“I liked Bright Star,” Gabe pipes up from the table in the back, where he’s sitting alone with his spinach salad.
“You would,” Jim mutters. Pam elbows him, laughing.
Oscar glances back at Gabe, whose ears are a little red as he stabs his salad with too-deliberate efficiency. Huh, he thinks.