can u write one from josh's pov where he is madly in love with y/n but she's already got a boyfriend and he can't help but feel heartbroken knowing that josh is just always going to be y/n's best friend
authors note: all i could think when reading this prompt was Jim and Pam, so that’s kind of what I loosely based this off from. This is a longerish fic, hopefully what you were looking for. Enjoy!
JOSH DUN IMAGINE
“Square up, Y/L/N, you’re going down.”
Josh hovered over your shoulder like a bug that just wouldn’t go away, muttering discouraging words into your ear, trying to distract you from the task at hand. You had to admit he was doing a good job, because all you wanted to do was turn around and smack him, but you had to stay focused. A bag of chips was on the line here.
You took a deep breath and pulled your arm back, nothing but sheer determination in your vision, and you let your paper airplane sail. You watched as it flew through the air, coasting past the copier and fax machine, past the cluster of desks, past Josh’s airplane resting on the floor, until it hit the door to the break room and finally landed.
“Yes!” you shrieked, throwing your hands up in victory. “I beat you by like four feet!”
Josh stares, stunned at how you managed to sail your paper airplane all the way across the office, but nonetheless, hands you over a dollar to get your bag of chips from the vending machines.
“You really should stop betting on things with me, I always win—“ you gloat, as you both make your way into the break room.
Josh leans against the vending machine, watching you select your favorite bag from the top row. “No way, you can’t get rid of me that easily.”
You laugh, shaking your head at Josh’s remark before opening your bag of chips and heading back to your desk.
Josh watches you go, that familiar sinking feeling becoming prevalent in his stomach, just like every other time you walk away. He takes a deep breath, trying to regain his right state of mind. He loved the friendship you two shared, but sometimes he needed a minute to contain all the thoughts running through his head, otherwise his undying love for you might just slip out one of these days.
The hardest part of Josh’s day was at five o’clock, when your boyfriend would meet you at the door and walk out to the parking lot with you. Josh would smile and wave goodbye, pretending like it didn’t burn every fiber of his being watching you lace your fingers with his and smile into his side as you exited the building. Then, he’d slowly gather his things and head to his own car, wishing you were at his side.
You and Josh had been friends ever since you started working in Columbus two years ago. Two entire years, and Josh still swears it was the minute you walked in on your first day, a spot of dried toothpaste on your chin, that he fell completely in love with you.
He spent that entire first week getting to know you, and the next planning out ways he could ask you out. He’d never been more sure that he’d finally met the person he was meant to be with. His soulmate, if you will. Josh had been waiting in his car for your gray SUV to pull in one morning. He planned on exiting at the same time as you, playing it off as a harmless coincidence, and then walking with you up to the third floor. It was a cold December morning when he saw Lucas for the first time. Then of course he didn’t know his name. He knew the man as someone driving you to work, with broad shoulders and a trimmed beard. He leaned over the center console and planted a kiss right on your lips before making a U-turn and exiting the parking lot. Josh had let his head drop and made a beeline for the door, trying his best to ignore you calling his name and the gut-wrenching dread he felt.
That was two years ago, and Josh still hadn’t moved on. How could he when you sat only feet away from him? Spreading your infectious laugh and always there to make him smile? No, Josh hadn’t moved on. Instead, he’d just learned to live with it. He swallowed his feelings and instead focused on the friendship that you two shared, no matter how much it killed him inside. It was always about more than friendship, and he knew it from the start. Even though that is what he loved most about you. Falling in love was quick, easy, inevitable. You would talk and laugh and be happy. If life is a series of moments, then it was those innocent instances that defined Josh for the longest time.
But falling also hurt. You were his everything. And you were his best friend. You told each other everything, but he had to keep his biggest secret hidden from you. On that first day, even if she didn’t remember it, he could see a future. Your future together. And for that split second he wanted nothing more than to kiss you, to forget about the rest of the world and focus on you. But there were no messing this up. This was you, and it was really just complicated.
Josh sat in his car in the parking lot the next morning eating his breakfast and occasionally warming up his hands in front of the air vents. Just as he was finishing off his bagel, there was a soft knock on his window. It took him half a second to realize it was you; your coat was zipped up to your chin and your beige scarf covered most of your face. Josh quickly got out of his car and you both exchanged hellos in the still-dark parking lot.
“What are you doing here so early?” he asks, shivering a little in the cold winter air.
“Lucas and I kind of had another spat last night and I wanted to get out before he woke up…" you trail off. Josh’s jaw clenches at the mention of his name. ”What about you?“
“One of my biggest clients is a morning person, if I don’t call him by 8am sharp, his account is as good as closed, so I wanted to get here early and go over his file.”
“So you got here before the sunrise?”
“It’s a big file,” Josh says with a smile.
You chuckle and then looked over to the far end of the parking lot, “Hey, come with me.”
It was one of those commands Josh didn’t have to hear twice. He followed you, his hand in his pockets and his nose buried in his own scarf. You both walked over to the edge of the lot, and you stepped up on the curb, standing on your tip-toes. Josh furrowed his eyebrows.
“Come on, Josh,” you say playfully.
He laughed nervously before following your actions. He faced the direction you were facing and saw that through the fence there was a perfect view of the distance hills on the east side of town. The sky was thick and dark blue and the hills looked outlined with gold. The sun began to peek over the horizon and the buildings of Columbus went from grays to a bright mixture of yellows and oranges.
Josh glanced over at you as you looked at the view, smiling wide, the sun hitting your eyes. Josh could never quite tell, your eyes always looked hazel and sadly dull in the florescent light of the office, but for the first time his saw their true color: a brilliant green with splashes of brown near the center.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” you asked.
“Yeah, really is,” Josh says, still looking straight at you.
“We should go inside,” you said quietly, noticing his insistent stare from your corner view. “I’m freezing.”
Josh nods, eyes lingering on the view a moment longer before he trails behind you inside the building.
It’s habit, more than anything else, that has Josh lingering in the break room when he sees the tired lines in your face three days later. It’s instinct, to ask you if you want to talk. To take a seat at the table before he has a chance to consider the implications of what he’s just offered.
Besides, first and foremost, he’s your friend.
More than anything, he wants you to be happy. And if there’s something he can do to ease the tension in your shoulders, to watch the frustrated crease in your brow fade back into familiar calm, then he will. Of course he will.
Being the one to elicit a smile from you is worth the cost of his own discomfort.
Patiently, he listens to your perspective on the misunderstanding between yourself and Lucas, he tries to detach himself from the situation enough to give you the sort of sincere and thoughtful advice he’d extend to anyone in that position. But he doesn’t want your thanks — your gratitude that much worse because it’s genuine.
Josh had served as the backboard for you since he met you. He was always around to listen. Maybe he was imagining it, but it seemed like you and Lucas had been fighting more and more lately. He hated seeing you upset on a daily basis in the break room and he tried to ignore the sliver of hope he felt inside.
Apparently last night had been bad. Josh can tell the minute he sees your puffy eyes and quivering lip.
“What happened?” he asks, concern evident in his voice.
You shrug, trying to be brave, but the tears fall anyway. “He threw a glass at the wall next to me last night. He was drunk… muttering about how he thought I was cheating on him.”
“Oh my god—“ Josh said, gut dropping as he imagined how scared you must have been in that moment.
“I don’t think he’d ever hurt me or anything. But I was scared.”
“What’d you do?” he asks, taking the seat at the table across from you.
You curled your hands around your mug of coffee, “I left. Went to my moms. I think it’s over. I mean, it has to be, right?”
Josh wants to blurt out a gigantic yes, but instead he empathetically furrows his brows and nods softly, “I definitely don’t like the idea of you being scared.” And without thinking, he reaches his hand across the table and touches yours softly.
Your eyes shoot down to where your hands touch, all of a sudden you feel so nervous. You pull back and drag your coffee mug to your chest.
“I should get back to work.”
Josh has a hard time focusing the rest of the day. It was over. You said that. It was over and maybe, just maybe, Josh had a chance here. He’d be your friend first, of course. Just like it’d always had been. He wouldn’t rush you. But now he had a chance to prove how much you truly meant to him. He was elated. Lighter and more hopeful than he’d felt in months.
It all comes crashing down with the sound of the office door opening and closing. Josh’s fists clench at his side the minute he sees Lucas walk through the doors. He’s ready to get up and ward him off if necessary; the idea of him yelling at you makes his blood boil. But he watches from his desk instead, as Lucas makes his way to you, gently tapping your shoulder and whispering something in your ear.
Your initial reaction is wide eyes, filled with what is that? Fear? It fades quickly, morphs into anger. Then sympathy. Josh watches as you grab your coat from the back of your chair and willingly follow him up to reception. You mutter something to the secretary before continuing out the door without looking back.
“He apologized, and he really was just so sincere. I think he really meant it.”
Josh nods and takes another swig of coffee, which was lukewarm by now. He cringes.
“Sounds it,” he says dully. Not even he can fake enhance the amount of enthusiasm in his voice.
“What’s that?” you ask, offended by his dull tone.
He looks at you and raises an eyebrow. Disappointment and anger and frustration all boiling under the surface of his skin after seeing you and Lucas kissing in the parking lot again this morning, so he decides for the first time in a long time; to be honest.
“No, it’s just I’ve heard all of this before. It gets a bit old is all.”
“It gets a bit old?” you repeat, stunned by his response.
“Yeah you and Lucas. He does something nasty, you break up or contemplate breaking up, then he apologizes with roses or chocolates or what was it this time? Perfume? Same story, different version. Can’t blame me for getting bored with it.”
And then Josh walks straight out of the break room and back to his desk, where there’s a light flashing on his phone. He presses the button and pulls up a chair to listen to the voicemail.
“Hey Josh, it’s Craig from Corporate. Meant to catch you before lunch, but I wanted to talk to you about a job opening here in Detroit. It’d be a promotion for you. More pay, more duties, all that. Give me a call back with the details if you’re interested. Thanks.”
It ended in the parking lot, the blooming seed of happiness that lived deep in his chest was fading, right next to his heart. It was his best friend, his sole support, the girl of his life who made everything just a little bit better. It was you standing there, your jaw dropping with surprise and Josh with his entire heart and soul on the line.
It was Josh that changed the game. This game of yours, the little dance of just barely something more than friends. He had nothing left to lose, because he couldn’t do it anymore. So he gave himself an ultimatum. Tell her you love her. Tell her and if she turns you down, you can accept the job. Tell her you love her. Tell her and if she loves you back, you can live happily ever after.
The words hang thickly in the air. “I love you, Y/N. I’ve loved you since the day I met you.”
You stand still in your spot, eyes watering and eyebrows furrowed with confusion and surprise. And for a quick second, Josh thinks you might say it back. But then you drop your clenched fist to your side and you let out a loud, inconvenient sigh and it’s amazing how quick his gut picks up on the rejection. It drops as you start muttering about how “you can’t” and “you have a boyfriend.”
But that’s all. Because Josh clearly doesn’t want to listen. His hands wrap around you and Lucas has never held you like you’re this precious. It’s gentle and firm, warm and large, pulling you softly towards him, gathering you, even as his mouth falls against yours, just as lightly, just a hint of pressure and you feel so small against him, against this unspoken message that he loves you. And it’s powerful.
“Josh—“ you say, finally pulling back.
He freezes, jerks away, his hands still gentle, even as his eyes are screaming, those big brown eyes that love you. “You’re really going to be with him?”
Your ‘yes’ is locked into your throat and tears fill your eyes, but somehow you can’t look away as you destroys your best friend from the inside out. There are a million reasons to stay with Lucas and only one to leave him, because you maybe love Josh, but you maybe don’t love Josh, and it’s that thought that makes you nod.
You can’t blame him when he walks away, when he holds on to your hands for as long as possible, even as he can’t look you in the eyes. You want him to look at you. You want him to fight for you, but you know that’s unfair to ask him. But you don’t want to lose him and you somehow know you’re going to and you need him to understand, but before you know it… he’s gone.
It’s not as if you’ve never seen his desk without him sitting there, because of course you have. He’s stayed home sick, made occasional use of his vacation days, gone on client calls — you know what the office looks like when the shape of him is missing, it’s the permanence of it that hurts.
As you settle in that first day of Josh’s absence, you hang your coat up and take a seat, You let yourself miss him as a coworker and as a best friend and that’s it. Work will be work, with or without Josh Dun.
But that’s a lie, because of course it hurts like hell.
Each day it’s harder, when it starts to sink in that this doesn’t mean a handful of days out recovering from the flu or visiting his family, but that there is a new and permanent Josh-sized hole in the fabric of you. So you play sudoku to avoid noticing the absence of his voice and
you doodle in notebook margins during conference room meetings to ignore all the jokes he can’t whisper in your ear.
As the day goes on, regret floods deeper within you. You always knew Josh was your best friend. But you probably always always knew he was more than that too. You just wished you’d been brave enough to see that.
That night you break up with Lucas. This time, there’s no yelling or screaming or wine glasses thrown against the wall. It’s respectable and understood that they are just not meant to be. You thought there’d be a Lucas-sized hole inside of you now too, but there’s not. Instead, it just makes room for Josh’s hole to grow bigger.
It’s twenty past five and you’ve got your coat on and bag in hand when the phone rings.
You debate for a moment about answering it — after all, technically you shouldn’t even still be here.
But, well, you are still there, so it’s equal parts obligation and impulse that has you reaching for the handset and saying, “Hello?” with a slightly tired edge in your tone.
And — oh, oh.
“Oh my god.”
Witty. Clever. Exactly the kind of thing you’d imagined herself saying to Josh when you finally reconnected after too-many-weeks of silence.
“Sorry, I needed a number from Mark. It’s a co-client thing—”
“—and I was just gonna leave a voicemail, because I didn’t think anyone would be there.”
It’s hard not to wonder if Josh had been making an open effort to avoid you on purpose, if he’d waited to call until twenty past five because you were supposed to be gone and he’s supposed to get an machine instead.
“Why are you still there?”
“I had to work late.” And then, because that sounds flimsy, goes on. “Well I didn’t have to, but there were just some open files I wanted to finish up.”
“Wow,” he says, the faint tone of amusement in his voice. “Wow, they’ve really changed you Y/L/N. Going above and beyond, that’s not you.”
And you’re smiling—because it’s Josh and you aren’t sure your face is capable of behaving any other way around him—but there’s something nervous and careful in the lines of your expression that isn’t usually there. You’ve missed him, but knows that a subtle shift occurred in their relationship that can’t be undone, that things might never be as easy as they once were.
“Everything else is pretty much the same here.” Except—god, no—of course it isn’t.
You change up your previous statement. “A little different.” Because you need him to understand that even though the routines of the office cycle on, no part of that environment could ever be the same to you without him there. Then you ask, “what time is it there?”
“…What time is it here?” He pauses, something uncertain and unsure in his tone. “Um, we’re in the same time zone.”
“Oh, yeah, right.”
“How far apart did you think we were?”
“I don’t know,” you mutter, embarrassed. “It feels really far.” And you can hear his thoughtful, quiet agreement that suggests it’s more than just the miles dividing Columbus and Detroit that’s currently between them.
It took you until the next morning to get your act together. You were walking into the building, the sun rising across the lot, and you felt it. A crumpled up piece of paper in your pocket. You gripped it in your fist before pulling it out, unwrapping the paper and trying to make out the scrubbed words.
“You can’t get rid of me that easy.” It was a note from Josh. One from back before the airplane competition, where they’d bet on how many green M&M’s were in the jar resting on reception. You’d beat him easily, leaving time to gloat on how he should just give up on betting against you, cause you always won, just like you did every other time you two bet on something. Josh had left the note on your desk with the soda you’d won.
You could feel the tears surfacing, blurring your vision as you turned in your spot and starting walking all the way back to your car. You opened the note up again after you’d sat in the driver’s seat, unfolding the paper and running your hands over Josh’s scratchy scrawl and letting yourself feel what was long overdue. It all floods in at once. The despair, the guilt, the regret. But also the love and admiration and memories of laughing, smiling, feeling lighter than ever around him.
You didn’t think twice as you flicked your blinker on to turn onto the highway headed towards Detroit.
The city was so close down the road, you could see the outline of hazy buildings out of the window. You stared diligently ahead, running through what you were going to exactly say to Josh when the time came. But before you knew it, you were pulling into the parking lot of the Detroit branch, sliding into the spot beside Josh’s car as an automatic reflex, and you still had no idea what you were doing, what you would say. Yet your feet trudged up to the front door, almost like a little girl who knew that you had to admit to your mother that you’d smashed her favorite vase, because it had to be done, you just weren’t quite ready for the aftermath. There were no obstacles now. No Lucas or unacknowledged feelings and you were sure that’s what scared you the most. What if, after all this time, Josh had just had enough? What if you just weren’t meant to be?
You walked right up to reception, waiting until the woman hung up the phone before telling her you were here to see Josh.
“Y/N?” his familiar voice rings through the air and when you look over, you can see him taking off his headset and standing up from his desk. “What are you doing here?” There’s a hint of curiosity and surprise and maybe even a little excitement in his voice.
You couldn’t tell him here. You had to go somewhere more private.
“Could we um, talk?” you say quietly, offering him the slightest smile even amidst your nerves.
“Yeah,” he says, “let me just grab my coat—“ he motions back towards his desk with his thumb, where you see his familiar dark blue fabric hanging off from the back of his chair. You wait patiently with your arms crossed across your chest, bouncing on the backs of your heels.
“All set?” he says, hand buried deep within his pockets.
You walk down to the parking lot in silence, still pondering what you were going to say to Josh in your head.
“How’s Detroit?” you asked after thanking him for holding the door open for you. You wanted to stall as long as possible.
Josh chuckles, “Common, Y/N. You didn’t drive three and a half hours to Detroit to ask me how the city is.”
You blush, of course you didn’t. But you still didn’t know what to say to him. To Josh. The man you loved, completely and wholly, with everything inside of you.
You could feel your cheeks growing hot as you thought about what you were about to admit. You’d had so much courage built up inside of you before, but now, it was quickly draining. You had to say it before you were completely empty.
“I miss you.”
Your heart’s still thumping like crazy, banging against your ribs, and you’re not entirely sure what you just said.
And Josh didn’t say anything back to you, but it wasn’t like you said all the stuff that you were thinking to him.
“I didn’t mean to hurt you,” you continue, your voice wavering.
Josh shakes his head. “I’m okay.“
You nod. There’s a silence, long enough that you worry you’re not going to be able to say it all and nothing will happen and you’ll go back to being scared and afraid. You want to be someone who says what they feel.
“It’s just— the office isn’t the same and… I miss you. I miss you a lot, Josh. I miss my best friend.”
“It can’t be that way again, Y/N,” he says. “I wasn’t your best friend. I was in love with you.”
“We could be friends now. Just go back to the way things were—“ you weren’t sure why you were burying your feelings again, but it was instinctual.
"No,” he says. He’s standing so still, arms at his sides. ”What you miss – that wasn’t friends. That was us… that was me being something more. All the time. And I can’t do that anymore. It hurt too much.”
You feel kind of sick, but a little voice in the back of your head says you should be grateful for whatever happened, because it was better than being endlessly, endlessly quiet.
“Then I’m really sorry,” you say at last. “Because I miss that.”
“What do you think that means?” he asks, and there’s a little heat in his voice. “What do you think you’re really missing?”
This morning you would have undoubtedly ducked your head and avoided the question, or flat-out lied. Now though, you had driven three and a half hours and you’re standing in front of Josh, far enough away that you have to speak up for him to hear.
“I know what it means,” you say quietly. “And you know.”
He shakes his head, “I don’t. You’ve made it clear you only wanted to be friends.”
“I don’t think I’ve made anything clear,” you say, and for the first time you have the urge to move closer, speak more softly, because this is the hard part, the thing you couldn’t say in front of everyone else. “I should have been honest a long time ago, and I know that, but I couldn’t until I knew what I wanted.”
“Do you?” he asks after a moment, his voice low. “Know?”
You take a big breath, letting the oxygen go to your head, willing back the feeling you had just before you ran up to the third floor. “I want to feel the way I did when I was with you, back before you moved to Detroit. I don’t want to be lonely, and I want to redo the past two years except it made me figure out a lot of things about myself, so I don’t know. I want stuff to be easy, Josh, and it isn’t, and I thought that maybe if we could be friends again I could have one thing in my life that made me happy, even if it wasn’t what I really wanted.”
He’s quiet for a long time. The wind whips against you, making you shiver.
“Why can’t you say it?” he asks.
“Would anything change if I did?”
“I don’t know, everything changed when I said it.”
“Fuck it,” you say, the cold air filling your lungs, “I love you. I have loved you but I was with Lucas and I was afraid and I didn’t know it. And I’m still afraid, but I know it now.”
You stare and wait for his reaction, hoping with everything inside of you that you weren’t too late. But the look on Josh’s face, the sad, almost pitiful stare, gave you reason to believe that you were.
And your courage drained for good.
“I’m sorry,” you said, wiping a tear falling down your cheek, “I shouldn’t have come. I’m gonna get going. It was nice to see you,” you mumble before turning away and heading towards your car.
When Josh saw you turn away, it was as if lightning struck him. All he could see was your back, stiff and tense, walking back towards your car, parked near his, and suddenly he didn’t know what he was doing. He didn’t know how it had come to this. The last several months had turned you both into people he didn’t even recognize anymore, and he blamed himself.
You were all he ever wanted. You were the one he saw in his dreams and imagined in his fantasies for years on end, and he had you. It was supposed to be forever, but all he seemed to do anymore was hurt you. The Josh from six weeks ago would absolutely kill him for that. The Josh from six weeks ago would feel about him like he used to feel about Lucas. Lucas took you for granted, and didn’t consider your feelings.
Like Josh was doing now.
He sprinted toward you, his long legs reaching yours in just a couple of long strides, and he grabbed your arm to turn you around. You had no idea what was happening, but he didn’t stop to explain. He simply wrapped his arms all the way around you, and held you close. You didn’t resist, but you didn’t reciprocate immediately. He pulled you closer. He buried his face in your hair, nuzzled into your neck, and tried to breathe you in. He remembered the electric shock of when you first met (for him, anyway), how it felt to love you and not be able to have you. He couldn’t let himself let it slip away.
You finally wrapped your arms around him, and he felt a small shudder go through you. You pulled back and he could see your face crumple just before you took his face in both hands and kissed him. When you parted, you were both smiling as said, “I love you” in unison. He hugged her so tightly he almost picked you up off from the ground.