Spoilers: through "The Job"
Word Count: 1,942
Summary: Ryan returns, to the great distress of everyone. Andy tries to ease the suffering.
Author's Note: KANDY. Yeah, that's all.
And, um, just in case anyone's curious, Andy's cat Montgomery is named after Elizabeth Montgomery, his secret ultimate dream woman. Bewitched is his favourite show in the history of ever. I don't know why. I just decided. It's all in the subtext. Or something.
The second that Big Turkey, Dunder Mifflin Scranton Betrayer slash Totally Despised Asshole Jerk, takes off after his first meeting with Michael, drama erupts. Big, big drama.
“What I want to know—”
“Maybe you should calm down—”
“—no, damn it! I’m not gonna calm down! How could he just – just waltz in here, all, ‘la la la, check me out all corporate and sexy in my fancy new suit – hey, who are you? Have we met before? I guess I’m just your boss now!’ He was so . . . cold. So freaking cold.”
“No, I don’t think you do, Dwight! You didn’t even know him. You didn’t have the relationship with him that I did.”
“Michael,” Pam interjects, a little awkwardly, “maybe it would be better if you just . . . took a deep breath or two.”
“Why?” Michael demands sulkily. “Ryan The Temp Howard, Corporate Bitch Queen, doesn’t seem to care whether I can breathe or not.”
“Well, maybe you should, then,” Jim suggests with a glance at Pam. “You know. Prove him wrong.”
Michael considers it for a second, then nods grimly. He’s sort of slumped over in Dwight’s chair, all red-eyed.
“Thanks, buddy,” he says gruffly, patting Jim on the shoulder. “It’s good to know you’re always here for me.”
“You know who else is always here for you?” Andy volunteers, putting on his best reassuring-best-buddy-slash-loyal-employ
Michael doesn’t even look at him, though. Just keeps on patting Jim’s shoulder, like Tuna’s the only reassuring-best-buddy-slash-loyal-employ
“Here,” Dwight instructs, reaching under his desk for something. “Drink this.”
Michael wrinkles his nose. “What is it?”
“My own personal water storing device,” Dwight explains, twisting the top off the bottle and shoving it into Michael’s face.
“Ugh! No, thank you.”
“Don’t worry, Michael. The only saliva it’s come into contact with is my own.”
“Dwight, you big dumb freak—”
“I assure you, there’s little to no backwash—”
“Gah! Just . . . Dwight?? No!” Michael shoves Dwight away from him. “No, okay? You’re the worst comforter ever. I just went through an emotional travesty, and what do you do? You try to drown me in your nasty spit water. Just – get off.” He scowls. “Why can’t you be more like Jim?”
“Yeah, Dwight,” Jim says, smiling slightly. “Maybe you should be a little more like me.”
Dwight glares daggers at him.
“Orange soda,” Michael rasps decisively. “I need orange soda.”
Dwight frowns. “Water is healthier—”
Michael lets out a strangled yell that’s at least three fourths crazy.
“Fear not-o, Mr. Scott-o,” Andy cuts in smoothly. “I will happily provide the carbonation you desire.”
“Right, whatever,” Michael says, rolling his eyes and impatiently shoving at Andy’s arm a little. Which is sort of like a pat on the shoulder. “Hurry up, Andy. Thank you.”
Andy sets off to the breakroom with a spring in his step. A highly exasperated ‘thank you’ might not be much, but it’s enough – he can tell that he’ll be movin’ on up to Assistant (to the) Regional Manager any month now. Dwight just isn’t cut out for the gig. Which Michael gets. Because Michael is awesome.
It’s all only a matter of time.
“Look out, DM, ‘cause Andy Bernard’s comin’ atcha,” Andy mutters triumphantly, grinning as he pushes open the breakroom door. “Iiiii am the chaaampio— oh.”
Kelly’s sitting alone, peeling the label off her half-full Mango Madness Snapple. She looks up at Andy when he comes in, and he realizes all of a sudden that Big Turkey was her boyfriend, too, before he up and left for New York. It’s just that that always seems to get overshadowed by the fact that he was Michael’s . . . well, not boyfriend, duh, because Michael is as straight as he is awesome. But, well, he was Michael’s something. His slightly queerish something.
Not that that’s not cool. Andy’s down with it. He and Oscar are total buds – or, well, they would be, if Oscar would just stop getting that weird annoyed look on his face every time Andy happened to be around. At first Andy thought maybe he was checking him out, but now he’s pretty sure Oscar just hates him.
Man, Scranton rocks.
“Helloooo,” he ventures after a minute, a little awkward.
“Hey,” Kelly answers blandly. Andy studies her. It doesn’t look like she’s been crying, or anything, but she still looks weird. Blank. Drained.
“I’m just here,” Andy explains, bustin’ out the pep in an attempt to suck some of the sad out of the room. “Gettin’ orange soda for my buddy Michael. Don’t mind me.”
“I won’t,” she says, toneless.
So he just ignores her, because he figures she wants him to, even though he feels kinda crappy doing it. Kelly’s not really as hot as Karen, or even Pam, but she says really funny stuff sometimes, and her taste in music is pretty kickass.
He pulls a dollar out of his pocket, figuring Michael will pay him back – just like he’s figured for the past six sodas. And, okay, he hasn’t really seen any of that money yet, but whatever. Even if Michael’s not planning on paying him back, it’s no big. What are friends for, right?
Andy is a great friend.
He grabs the orange soda, and he’s on his way toward the door when Kelly lets out this tiny, depressing little sigh. And, okay, they’re not really friends, sure. But that doesn’t mean he can’t still be great.
So he freezes in the doorway and turns around. “Are you okay?”
Kelly frowns at him. She seems confused. “Why do you care?”
“Beeeecause,” Andy responds smoothly as he ambles over to the table and sits down across from her, “you’re my coworker, and I am deeply devoted to the well-being of this company.”
“You punched the wall,” she responds flatly.
He exhales steeply. Isn’t anybody ever going to let that go? He has. He’s totally good now. Sheesh.
“I did do that,” he admits reluctantly.
“It was really freaky,” Kelly continues. “We all thought you were a total psychopath or something.”
“Yeeeeah.” He frowns. Something about her saying that makes him want to just curl up in bed with his cat Montgomery and never see another human who’s not his mom again, which he totally hasn’t wanted to do since like sixth grade, before he got cool and stopped worrying what people thought about him.
He can’t, really, though, because Montgomery has been dead for like fifteen years.
Also, he’s at work.
“Sorry about that,” he says lamely.
“Whatever,” she responds, shrugging. She doesn’t seem to notice that it bugged him at all. Not that it did. “You haven’t killed anybody yet, so it’s okay, I guess.”
“Um,” he says, “thanks.”
She somehow manages to lift up both corners of her mouth without smiling.
“You should come out,” he suggests as brightly as he can, reaching over and tapping her on the shoulder. “Hang with the gang. Dwight’s trying to get Michael to drink his spit. I mean, that’s hilarious, right?”
“Not really,” she responds, wrinkling her nose. “Just gross.”
“Huh,” Andy says, a little dejected. He doesn’t really like the idea of just leaving her in here all by herself. He is a gentleman, after all, and she’s totally the second hottest lady in the office now that Karen’s gone. It’s his chivalric duty. “Well . . . wanna come anyway?”
“No thanks,” Kelly responds, kind of tiredly. “I’m good here.”
He stands reluctantly, grabbing the orange soda off the table. “Okey dokey. If you’re sure—”
“I’m sure,” she cuts in. She sounds like twenty times more serious than he’s ever heard her before; she kind of reminds him of Angela, but he thinks he’ll maybe just keep that to himself.
“Ooookay,” he says, and bows. “Then fair lady, I shall bid you adieu.”
“Later,” she responds unenthusiastically.
He makes it three steps forward before realizing he can’t keep going. He’s gotta say something. He can’t not. His back is turned to her and it would be really easy to just leave before Michael faints from orange soda deprivation, or something lame – and by lame, he means understandable – like that, but that doesn’t mean it would be right. He doesn’t punch this company’s walls anymore, literally or figuratively. That’s not how the new and improved Andrew Bernard operates.
“Man,” he says sympathetically, and shakes his head in disgust. “Big Turkey is a jerk. He’s jerky. Big Jerky. Yup, I’m going to call him Big Jerky from now on. I’ve never even seen him eat jerky, but you know, I don’t even care. It’s just . . . what has to be done.”
Which was . . . lots more words than he meant to say.
He breathes in awkwardly, then turns around. She’s looking at him weird. For a second, it’s just quiet.
“Why do you always do that?” she asks all of a sudden.
“The stupid Big Lunchmeat thing.”
“It’s a nickname,” he responds, a little taken aback. Isn’t everybody supposed to get that sort of thing? “It’s funny. It’s what guys do. Buddies, givin’ each other a hard time.”
“Oh,” she answers. She still doesn’t sound like she quite gets it. “Right.”
“So, I’ll catch you later, Little Snapple,” he says brightly, and raps his knuckles twice against the doorframe.
“Bye,” she says. This time, her mouth-corner-lifting seems a little bit like a smile.
When he turns back around and walks out the door, he almost immediately runs right into Pete the camera guy. Andy’s usually totally cool with the documentary dudes – because, hi, if they’re going to make him famous, he’s not really gonna complain. He’s got this theory that a capella’s going to become a lot more popular once this documentary airs. Like how J.T. is bringing sexy back, only about twelve times hotter.
But the thing is, right now, he kinda doesn’t like the idea of them just barging in on Kelly and capturing her depressing Snapple drinking for the whole world to see. It seems like the kind of thing that someone should get to do alone.
Sure enough, Pete asks, “Is Kelly in there?”
“Yeah, but she’s just drinking a Snapple,” Andy responds, trying to sound all casual. “Totally boring.”
“She’s not crying?” Pete says, surprised.
“Didn’t she say anything to you about Ryan?” Pete presses. “Scream? Throw something? Talk about drowning herself? Start warbling that angry Carrie Underwood song again?”
“Nope,” Andy responds briskly. “Ya know, just between you and me, I don’t think she cares. It’s weird.”
Pete frowns. He’s just about to say something when Michael’s voice comes spilling through the air from the main office.
“Andy!” he shouts. “Get back in here with my soda, or I am going to punch you in the heart. Like you have done to me.” He pauses thoughtfully. “Only for real.”
“Yikes,” Andy says, and sneakily conceals the (totally orange) soda can behind his hand, “would you look at that – this is grape, not orange!” He shakes his head, laughing. “I sure hope Michael won’t actually try to punch me in the heart or something. Man, that would suck. Who would wanna see something like that, right?”
Sure enough, Pete totally takes the bait, following him back out into the office and leaving the breakroom undisturbed.
You are most heartily welcome, Miss Kapoor, Andy thinks, and smiles to himself as he soldiers forth.