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09 April 2009 @ 08:07 am
Fic: The Slow Decline Into Gayness (Oscar/Andy)  
Title: The Slow Decline Into Gayness
Fandom: The Office
Pairing/Characters: Oscar/Andy with a cameo by Kevin
Rating: PG-13ish
Word Count: 2,780+
Spoilers: Here and there for season 5
Summary: Andy goes on his honeymoons, comes back, and Oscar finds himself the next accountant for fall for his charms
Thanks To: anxietygrrl for great beta, includin suggestion to go all super fancy nonlinear...
I researched Steamtown shops...: ...but not whether or not my representation of My Best Friend's Girl was accurate. That movie can suck it.


“I guess I thought you’d be a little different.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know. Maybe…maybe like Angela.”

Oscar paused, unsure where to begin. “Okay.”

Andy’s hand landed somewhere between his shoulder blade and his pectoral. “Not…okay, let me start over. I thought maybe you didn’t…you know, put out right away.”

It was like Oscar could hear the futile scrape of Andy’s metaphoric shovel as he moved spadefuls of dirt.

“This was great? Awesome?” There was a mixture of placation and exhaustion in Andy’s voice.

“Yes. I agree with that.”

“Good… know what my favorite part was?”

“Maybe we should sleep for a little while, Andy.”

“I get to stay overnight too?”

“Yes. Yes, you can stay overnight if you want.” Oscar was saddened by the awe in Andy’s voice. Also tempted to point out, “See? I’m not even remotely like Angela.”

Andy draped a proprietary arm across Oscar. “Okay.”

Then “But my favorite part was seeing you in your underwear for the first time. You look amazing.”

“…Thanks.”


Months earlier...

The first e-mail from abb15@cornell.edu arrived at 9:05, approximately five minutes after Andy arrived in the airport to check his bags. The subject was blank, and the body of the text read:

This seems like a bad idea.

Oscar stared at the words for what seemed like an eternity (in actuality, it was only long enough for Michael to pop out of his office, excitedly tell the office that Dane Cook and Kate Hudson do get together at the end of My Best Friend’s Girl, animatedly recount a scene that involved American Pie Kid doing something, then return to his office to watch the director’s cut).

The brevity gave Oscar a cold jolt in the pit of his stomach. Andy’s e-mails at work were usually endless paragraphs with very little punctuation, rambling missives that made sense only if read once for content, then once again, imagining Andy reading, for subtext, inflection, and an attempt to understand the more stream-of-consciousness sections.

Oscar clicked Reply in Outlook, stared at the quoted text a little longer, then typed.

After reviewing his response, he clicked Send.

Angela has installed a webcam for her cats; it’s for the best.


The next e-mail was a virtual postcard from a bed and breakfast in Napa Valley.

Oscar,

Have you seen the movie
Sideways? The b&b owner claimed it was about wine, but it really seems to be about one guy cheating on his fiancée and another guy who sort of reminded me of a short, hairy Toby.

I’m tired of wine. My parents keep sending me requests for their friends. I’m going hot-air ballooning today, but not before my couples’ massage.

Wish you were here, bro,

Andy


Oscar tried not to read too much into how the last two sentences flowed together.


Hello, Andy. I hope you are having a good time snorkeling today.

Michael has “discovered” Jeff Dunham. This means that Michael is trying to force Jim to be his ventriloquist dummy. According to him, Jim has “Woozle hair.”

Thanks for the bottle of wine. It arrived at the office today.

Oscar



Oscarino!

Walt Disney World is the
best! I spent ALL DAY in Epcot Center and I must have eaten at every booth in this place and the food is TOTALLY awesome. I bought a beret and a sombrero and had Mickey Mouse ears made (but they had to custom-stitch Nard Dog on them) . The parade was AWESOME and then I got to sing with a barbershop quartet. I felt pretty inadequate about my ‘burns—read: sideburns—but I think I’m just as good as Joel, Mike, Other Joel, and Randy. I think I might try to hit Sea World to see Shamu and the penguins tomorrow but…

“Oscar. What is wrong with you?”

“What are you talking about, Kevin?”

“You’ve been smiling at your computer screen for, like, fifteen minutes.

“…Mind your own business.”

“…

…You sound like Angela.


When Andy returned, he and Andy started hanging around at work more: sitting next to each other at the inevitable “15 minutes…everybody in the conference room” gatherings.

Angela noticed. Oscar could tell by the way she looked annoyed yet guilty any time she walked into the breakroom and found Oscar and Andy talking.

Kevin noticed too. Eventually.

“Andy’s, like, always around. Even sometimes when you’re not at your desk.” Kevin paused. “Does he have a crush on you or something?”

Oscar almost said no, but something stopped him. He let his studious silence while he stared at the month-end financial speak for him

Kevin snickered.


"Hey! Where are you guys going?"

Oscar didn't know why, but he found himself looking to Andy. It wasn't as though Kevin would be intruding on anything in particular. He and Andy rarely talked about work during their lunches outside the business park.

Still...

Andy's look back at him was--for Andy--surprisingly expressionless.

Oscar felt this may be Andy’s way of telling him “Hell no. Kevin is not invited.”

“We’re going to the new salad place.”

Kevin looked from Oscar to Andy, back to Oscar, then at the ground, then at the sky, then at Oscar again.

“Salad place?”

Oscar nodded; Andy nodded in tandem.

Kevin pondered, his mouth bowed in a thoughtful squinch. “Okay, but…can we go through the drive-through at Wendy’s and then go to the salad place?”

No shared look with Andy was necessary to answer that question. “No, Kevin. I told you: bringing fast food into a sit-down restaurant is tacky.”

You’re tacky” was Kevin’s not-entirely-surprising retort as he stormed off to his car.

They waited until Kevin had accelerated angrily out of the parking lot, then turned to each other.

“Want to go to Wendy’s?” Andy asked.

“Sure. We’ll give him a 15-minute head start.”

“Man, Frostys are the best.


Andy seemed to be managing working with Angela and Dwight.

Some days were better than others. On the bad days, they went out after work for beers.

Well, for drinks. Not beers. It seemed that although Andy indicated he would be drinking beer by saying the phrase “let’s go out for a beer,” Andy primarily drank overly complicated mixed drinks.

One had Frangelico in it.

Oscar nearly said something worthy of Michael Scott when Andy ordered a Brazilian Monk. The thought that Michael may say or think it was what stopped Oscar.


“Okay, I’m done with the first disc.”

Andy had started Deadwood.

Oscar reminded himself to scale his expectations. “What did you think?”

Andy produced a small notebook, flipped open the cover, and sat down on the corner of Oscar’s desk.

“Okay, so when Al Swearengen said…”

Andy had taken notes.

Oscar folded his hands and took a deep breath.

“…what did that mean, exactly?”

More than the question or the notes? Andy’s determined-yet-confused expression made Oscar feel…

Nothing. That wasn’t… it couldn’t be.

Oscar realized he’d been silent for too long. “Who was Al talking to when he said that?”


Oscar cringed when he saw the bartender at Poor Richard’s. He was sure that he’d waited long enough to return. He was convinced the guy would’ve quit or been fired by now.

“What are you doing? You look like someone is going to punch you.” Andy was unsubtly looking from Oscar to the general direction of the bar.

“It’s nothing. Just…can we get a booth in the back?”

“Sure. I guess that means I’ll be making the trek to the popcorn machine.”

Oscar nearly snapped he didn’t care about the damn popcorn and simply wanted to get out of the vicinity of the bar, but he remained silent while slinking to the back of the pub.

Andy slid into the booth, then leaned forward and said, “Sooooooo…hooked up with the bartender, did ye? Boy, that never works out for anybody.

Oscar tried to modulate his reaction, or say something sarcastic about the knowing-but-probably-put-on tone in Andy’s voice.

But cringing, then burying his face was more honest and called for.

“He looks like he’s 25. Nice.

Oscar groaned. Andy was actually giving the bartender (what was his name? Ethan? Emmett?) an extra two years.

“You could bounce a quarter off his rear. Is that something you dig? I suppose.”

Oscar almost wished Jim or maybe--maybe--Michael were around to crack a joke about Andy’s limited understanding of sex between two men.

Andy was laughing. “Does he have a nose ring? Lame city!”

Frustrated, Oscar finally removed his face from behind his hands. “Would you go and get popcorn please?

Taking on an air of decided superiority, Andy rose and said, “All right, all right.” But before he left, he looked from the too-young, entirely-too-stupid no-name bartender, then back to Oscar. “That’s almost disappointing. Really, Oscar.”

In his heart, Oscar had to agree.


After slamming the car door, Andy inhaled sharply. “You smell like a dryer sheet.”

Oscar leaned over to check his pant legs for an errant Bounce fugitive.

Sounding mildly annoyed, Andy blurted, “What are you doing?”

“I’m looking for…”

“Oscar, it’s the way you smell every day.

Surprised, Oscar met Andy’s eye. Then he found himself scrambling to resist the urge to say “thank you.” Or to ask Andy how long he’d been studying his smell. Or to ponder what it meant that his mouth had suddenly gone very dry as he considered how long he’d known what Andy smelled like.

“It isn’t a bad thing. Sheesh.

Too quickly, Oscar said, “I know.”

He started the car and began resisting anew.


He and Andy went to a movie together--Watchmen, which Oscar found gory, misogynistic, and creepy. Andy declared it “not as good as Fantastic Four,” a statement about which Oscar felt deeply ambivalent.

After the movie, they took an aimless walk around the mall, talking about the new boss. Andy bought two pounds of Skittles at Abby’s Candy. Oscar looked at espresso machines in Boscov’s.

They both bought shirts at Abercrombie and Fitch.

When Andy said, “See you tomorrow” and grinned his sunny, genial, harmless smile, Oscar returned his wave.

Then he felt something shadowy and pleasant pass down his spine.

God.


Oscar brooded over it all night Saturday. He watched almost an entire House marathon on USA before flipping over to the Animal Channel.

He stayed up until 2:00 a.m. watching Meerkat Manor, sulking, alternately hating himself and the narrator of Meerkat Manor.

When Oscar awoke on Sunday, his first thought was: oh, no…I’m still in love with my coworker.


On Monday, when Andy strolled jauntily up to his desk (after Angela walked away to make copies) and said, “Want to go to Chili’s tonight? It’s half-price margarita night,” Oscar felt nauseated. Without making eye contact, he said, “We’ll see. I might stay late tonight.”

Unruffled, Andy began to tell him (and, by extension, Kevin) about his Sunday, which seemed to consist largely of installing iTunes and learning how to use an iPod (as well as singing a dab of The Ting Tings and a riff on the Batman theme that went "Nano Nano Nano Nano, Nano Nano Nano Nano iPod!" that was impossible to not repeat mentally while balancing a spreadsheet).

Oscar interrupted. “Andy, I’m really busy. End of month.”

Andy furrowed a bit and took a step back. “Sure. Sure, man. Whatever.”


Oscar wasn’t prepared for Andy’s determination.

Andy masked his lollygagging as work, then as cleaning his desk. Two empty compressed air cans lay like fallen soldiers. Finally, at 6:00, Oscar began to pack up.

“So looks like we’re walkin’ out the door at the same time after all,” Andy said, not at all slyly. Which he then followed with a few scat-heavy lyrics from both “Time After Time” and “After All.”

The two of them cleared the doors into the parking lot in stride. “Not tonight, Andy.”

Andy’s response was a defensive scoff that aimed for dismissive but was ragged around the edges with wounded confusion. “Fine. I’ve got plenty of other things to do. The 15-year reunion for Cornell business school grads is right around the corner, and the planning committee is probably sitting on their hands…”

Oscar stopped walking, trying to ignore how loud his pulse was in his ears. “Don’t be mad.”

“Mad? Pfft. Why would I be mad?”

Frustrated, Oscar folded his arms against his chest and started, “I think that maybe…it’s that…I just want to keep my work life and personal life separate. I always have. And you’re a nice guy. I’m…I just…that’s what I want.”

Andy opened his mouth to begin another protest, but something that terrifyingly resembled comprehension started a slow creep over his features.

Turning on his heel, Oscar started to walk towards his car. “I have to go. See you tomorrow.”

“Oscar!”

Though Oscar heard Andy hurrying after him, the hand on his elbow caught him by surprise. He barely had time to compose what he hoped was an expression of impassive indifference.

When Oscar turned around and saw Andy looking at him with gentle wonderment, his stomach turned to stone.

This was going to be terrible.

“Look, Andy…”

“Oscar…”

“Don’t…”

“You like me.” Andy paused. “You like me like me.”

“I think that’s an oversimpl…you know what? Never mind. Okay. I…I think it’s that I’ve been out of the dating pool for a while, and you and I started spending a lot of social time together, and I got confused. So we can be friends at work, but I think it’s best if…”

Andy grabbed him by the upper arm. Startled, Oscar stepped forward rather than back as he’d intended.

Andy leaned forward, then hesitated. Oscar put a hand at Andy’s waistline.

Then Andy kissed him, tentative yet lingering. After a second or two, Oscar shook off the initial surprise and leaned into it.

Then the questions began forming somewhere in the back of Oscar’s mind. He stepped back and bumped into his car door. “What?” was all he could manage. There were so many possibilities to follow the “What?” that Oscar couldn’t decide.

Andy’s response was “What?,” followed by an equally open-ended shrug.

Oscar found common sense taking over: what if someone from the staff saw them? Or, God forbid, the camera crew?

“Let’s…do you want to go…not here?”

Andy pointed his thumb over his shoulder at his Prius. “I’ll…”

Oscar opened his own car door. “Okay.”



They remained near Oscar’s front door for nearly ten minutes, frantically paced over-the-clothes making out. Oscar was particularly delighted by the sensitivity of Andy’s earlobes and set to unlocking all the various masculine feline noises Andy could make.

At one point, Andy gasped “Oscar!” in a way that made Oscar fear Andy had suddenly remembered he was straight. He stopped, placing his hands in the air in the manner of a surrendering criminal.

Andy’s eyes went cartoonishly wide, his chest straining against his sweater vest. “What are you doing?

“I thought maybe you wanted to stop?”

Andy flailed his hands, silent frustration written on his face.

“My mistake.”


A few moments later, ties, dress shirts, and one sweater vest in a heap by Oscar’s umbrella rack, Andy said “Oscar” again, but emphasized it with a panted question mark.

Oscar kept his hands in place, but lifted his eyes to Andy’s.

“It’s been… it’s been a while since I’ve had…” Andy leaned in to whisper “a b.j.

There was something endearing about the quaintness of Andy’s overdramatized admission-slash-request.

With a very straight face, Oscar removed his shoes, put a hand on Andy’s belt and said, “We’ll see what happens.”


The first time Andy’s fingers touched his bare skin, Oscar was reminded that Andy played several stringed instruments.

Calluses. Moving leisurely down his torso.

It brought Oscar back to age 19 and his first boyfriend, a guitarist who looked (and acted) like Simon Le Bon.

It had been a while since Oscar had felt young and vain and stupid.

It wasn’t bad.


Oscar was trying not to think so much about it. But he had to admit he was surprised at how unhesitant Andy was.

After the first kiss and the shrug, Oscar had…well, maybe “come to terms with” wasn’t the right phrase…

Adjusted to Andy’s not-entirely straightness.

It was still a big leap. Perhaps it was some kind of vestigal machismo that made him think he was Andy’s first gay experience.

Long-standing b.j. drought or not, it was the same Andrew Bernard who had pressed into him, confidently proclaiming, “Dude, this is gonna be so hot.

It wasn’t so much the words as the intent.

And Andy was right: it was hot. In its way.
 
 
 
Meredith: this is love; bromancegladdecease on April 9th, 2009 02:45 pm (UTC)
I

I...



*dies incoherently*
jesshelga on April 9th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you for enjoying so much that you died ;-)
(Deleted comment)
jesshelga on April 9th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
I used this fic mainly as a tool to rip on movies I have not seen (Fantastic Four, My Best Friend's Girl...)

Thank you!
M.: Flippin' Fairy of the Forestmorganaus on April 9th, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC)
the futile scrape of Andy’s metaphoric shovel as he moved spadefuls of dirt.

and

he felt something shadowy and pleasant pass down his spine

It's phrases like these that made this entry so juicy. And the "b.j."!

jesshelga on April 9th, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
I actually had an internal debate on whether b.j. was capped and/or had periods.

Maybe I should go back to school with you.
healingmirth: rattlehealingmirth on April 9th, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
I don't know why I haven't been reading Oscar/Andy fic.

Maybe I worried it wouldn't live up to my hopes for their epic (or what passes for epic in Scranton) love. I am so glad this caught my attention though. God, so perfectly them.
jesshelga on April 9th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I keep waiting for the reveal on the show, even though I know it won't happen (but maybe it will!).
This isn't anything.: teh gay cowboys iconanxietygrrl on April 9th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
Nano Nano Nano Nano iPod!

HEE!

I love the new stuff! The bartender (haha, 'Emmett'), Deadwood, Simon LeBon, and especially:

Kevin looked from Oscar to Andy, back to Oscar, then at the ground, then at the sky, then at Oscar again.

“Salad place?”


Classic.

And I think the last line works well as a last line. You know what I mean.
jesshelga on April 9th, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, Brokeback icon...I've missed you
See, you're the bestlyiest (besteriest?) beta ever. The minute I moved sexytime to the beginning and I saw the last line become the last line, I was so much happier. And then I wrote the Batman riff and the calluses stuff and gave my nod to crappy stupid Queer as Folk US and Deadwood and then hooray!

Plus: more Kevin. Because seriously, I'm with Kevin. Why can't I bring my Big Bacon Classic into the new salad place?
weehobbit: STOCK -- daffodilsweehobbit on April 10th, 2009 04:51 am (UTC)
Your Kevin voice is so IC I could hear him, hee! :D It makes me sad to think of Andy alone at Disney World like... maybe his e-mail was way more enthusiastic than it really was. Oh and this made me squee and want to hug Oscar, hehe:
It had been a while since Oscar had felt young and vain and stupid. It wasn’t bad.
jesshelga on April 10th, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC)
I don't know; I think Andy would have loved Epcot regardless.

Thanks for the feedback. I loved writing Kevin.
I Am Not Herbert!katiemariie on April 10th, 2009 07:57 am (UTC)
AWESOME. This is what I need after being deprived of the internet for 24 hours. Manlove.
jesshelga on April 10th, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
meganhideisgod on April 10th, 2009 10:06 pm (UTC)
OMG, I LOVE THIS!! ♥
jesshelga on April 11th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Anoel: office andy/oscar plane smilesanoel on April 11th, 2009 05:33 am (UTC)
Awww I love this! First of all, the title is absolutely perfect (and on this show they definitely mean thew slow part). I love Andy's letters and Oscar trying to pull back and Andy being Andy and the bj haha. Very delightful :)
jesshelga on April 11th, 2009 01:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much!
June: {eh} touch my bodywaxpapervillain on April 11th, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
The first time Andy’s fingers touched his bare skin, Oscar was reminded that Andy played several stringed instruments.

Calluses. Moving leisurely down his torso.


THIS.
jesshelga on April 11th, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
Hee!
the infamous Midwestern subterrainean Explodebear.hkath on April 11th, 2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
Totally. AMAZING. I've been aware that people shipped them for a while but this is the first time I've wanted to!
jesshelga on April 12th, 2009 02:27 am (UTC)
Hooray! I love when people come over to the dark side!
Jimmy Petstore: office | bromance!snoopypez on April 12th, 2009 12:54 am (UTC)
This is made of AMAZING. jkhsfjklsjfhg

Seriously. Yeah.
jesshelga on April 12th, 2009 02:28 am (UTC)
Hee! Thanks so much!
JENSEN PADALECKI.: dean // oral fixationwebsofseaweed on April 12th, 2009 10:04 am (UTC)
This is MAGNIFICENT. The characterization is...is...I can't even say it. The line about Fantastic Four just about killed me. ♥
JENSEN PADALECKI.: karen // amusement is an art formwebsofseaweed on April 12th, 2009 10:05 am (UTC)
By "I can't even say it," I mean I can't put it into words because it's that good. Sorry if that sounded confusing. I haven't spoken or written anything but Japanese for about three weeks, so my English is a little off right now.
(no subject) - jesshelga on April 12th, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
stephen@charleneforever.com: 30 rock: jack/liz & distancemichellek on April 12th, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
Ah, this was wonderful. (Also, "Dane Cook and Kate Hudson get together" and "the American Pie kid does something" is a fair representation of My Best Friend's Girl.)
jesshelga on April 12th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC)
Heeeeeeeeeeee! Oh, poor poor michellek. The things you do for Alec. I saw a trailer for some Brooklyn mob movie before The Ten that featured Scary Alec, Scott Caan (he's tiny but threatening!), and Freddie Prinz Jr. That looks like...something.

Fantastic Four is on FX right now. I now realize, in my heart, that making Andy Bernard love this film was a sound decision.
(no subject) - michellek on April 13th, 2009 05:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jesshelga on April 13th, 2009 01:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - michellek on April 14th, 2009 03:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
Leslielz1982 on April 13th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
I can't get enough of these fics! Like some other commenters, I loved Kevin. Also loved Andy's impromptu "Time After Time"/"After All" medley.

I think the structure worked really well for this fic.

At one point, Andy gasped “Oscar!” in a way that made Oscar fear Andy has suddenly remembered he was straight.

Should be "had suddenly remembered."
jesshelga on April 13th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you very, very much and for the catch on my errant has/had.
(no subject) - lz1982 on April 13th, 2009 05:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)