Fandom: Friends
Pairing: Joey/Chandler
Rating: NC-17
Archive: Slashcom, other- sure, but ask me first
Series/Sequel: prequel to "Finally"
Spoilers: To "The One Where Joey Moves Out" and "The One Where Mr. Heckles Dies". Set right after "The One Where Eddie Moves In".
Summary: Chandler realizes his feelings toward Joey. Disclaimer: "Friends" belong to the people they belong to and it's not me (*g* now that's shocking ). I'm just fooling around.
Note: Thank You all for encouraging me to do it. Thx to El, who as always did the worst job and betaed. No Chandlers were harm while writing this story.

All by Myself

by Kirke

Chandler sat down on the windowsill and looked outside. It was raining. Nothing unusual at this time of year. So why did he feel so blue?

Oh yes, Joey left him. Ouch, sorry. *Moved out*. Not a big deal. It's not like there were married or anything. Besides, his new apartament was just few blocks away, not in Mexico City.

Chandler sighed heavily. Who was he kidding, it *was* a big deal. For him at least, cause it looked like Joey didn't care much. How could he do this to him? They were buddies, friends, amigos, they lived together for almost two years and he just moved out first second he had enough money to do so.

Chandler felt betrayed and lonely. Sure he had Eddie now but, to tell the truth, that guy freaked him out a little. How could anyone not like foosball or 'Baywatch'?

Strange, strange man.

Joey was strange too of course but in a so-different way. Chandler knew that without him it just wouldn't be the same.

He sighed again and looked through the window. The street below was practically empty. Just like his heart.

Ok. From what tree did *that* thought fall from?

He shook his head in disbelief. He really needed to get out more often. It wasn't the end of the world, just the beginning of a new chapter, a non-Joey one. He needed to stop feeling sorry for himself and move on.

Maybe it was only for the better. Chandler smiled slowly, almost shyly. Without Joey life would be so much simpler. No more pizza under the shower or books in the freezer and his toothbrush would finally be *only* a tootbrush and nothing more (he refused to think what that more was).

Sure, he would be miserable, miss Joey and wish for him to come back like that for few more weeks but sooner or later he would forget about this.

Chandler's smile faded. It was easy for him to lie to others but to himself it was practically impossible. His 'inner-self' knew them and Living without Joey would be hell. They would see each other often but it was like comparing Yani to Sting - *nothing* to compare. For all those years Joey had practically became Chandler's other half and now that half had been brutally cut off. Wounds like that needed a lots of time to heal.

Chandler rolled his eyes a little. He was sounding like a teenage girl after being dumped by her first boyfriend. A little more sappiness and he would start to sing 'All by Myself'.

But he couldn't help it. He loved Joey and wanted him to come back even for the price of his sanity.

Realization of what he had just thought hit him with a force of bullet. He took a deep, calming breath trying to dismiss that ridiculous idea but it came back.

Chandler stood up rapidly and started pacing around his room nervously. Yes, he loved Joey but like a brother, a friend, not *that* way. It wasn't *that* way. True, he wanted him but it was body he craved for, not the essence.

Chandler could feel panic building, so he hugged himself tightly trying to calm the tremors that were now running through his body. He was desperately fighting for control. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Lust was something he could control, justify, he just was like that. Simple. But love?

And now one man, one thought, one feeling and everything he had built with such an effort was falling apart. Chandler couldn't believe that. He had managed to survive almost twenty years; through his parents' divorce, school, college and even that night after Heckles' death when he and Joey...


Chandler’s legs couldn't support him any more. Within a few seconds he found himself kneeling on the floor without the power to stand up. Even so, he found enough strength to swallow the lump that was forming in his throat and blink away the unshed tears.

Why now? Didn't he have enough worries? Memories of having sex with a guy you'd just realized you are in love with and would never have again weren't the best therapy ever. Why couldn't he just forget, pretend that it had never happened? Joey did. Chandler had enough dealing with them normally and now...

Inspite of common sense his thoughts were drawn in that direction.

Maybe... maybe just this one time it would help him if he remembered. Maybe it wouldn't hurt *that* much.

He slowly lifted himself from the floor and sat down on the bed. His body was still shaking and he had to call for all his strength not to start sob.

Lying down he slowly closed his eyes trying to recall every detail again. It was a very easy but rare thing. Normally he would have kicked himself for even going there but not tonight. Tonight he needed comfort like never in his life before and he would get it, even if that meant suffering after.

He remembered well, like it was a day before, not half a year. It was so real, that he could almost feel Joey's soft lips on his own, kissing him with the passion he'd never imagine possible. That memory still sent shivers through his body.

Joey's soothing words were working even now.

/Don't cry, it's going to be ok. You're a great guy, you won't turn into a Heckles./

When Chandler had been drifting to sleep that night he really believed him and he decided to do that now too. He stayed in that 'dream state' for almost an hour playing those memories in his head over and over again. Every time they'd reach the end he just started from the beginning.

It was really working, he felt less tense, relaxed almost. All he had to do was not allow himself the knowlege that it was a one-time thing that would never be repeated again.

And forget that 'the morning after' ever came.

*That* was a very unnecessary thought. Tears started to run down his face, just like then, making his pillow damp. But this time there were no Joey who would chase them away. This time it was Joey who was the main reason for Chandler's little breakdown.

It wasn't the knowledge that he was the one that ended this, that made him so depressed. No, he knew that he didn't have other options. For Joey it was just pure sex, a physical act, something he'd done to make his friend feel better. If Chandler hadn't stopped it the minute it started he wouldn't have enough power later. He would've wanted more and more till one day he would’ve found himself with a broken hart.

Like that didn't happen anyway.

Chandler clenched his teeth tightly to prevent himself from sobbing. Walls were thin and Eddie bursting into his room was the last thing he needed now.

He felt miserable again. That's why he was never thinking about that. Guilt, that he allowed himself to lose control and let Joey 'comfort' him, was always very powerful. Even thinking about that made him weak and soft. He was sure that if Joey came to his room in that moment he would jump his bones without thinking.

That helped him made a final decision. No more mental trips to the 'comfort zone'. Not now, not ever. That chapter of his life was permamently over. If he ever needed to feel better he would get drunk.

Now he understood that Joey's move out was a blessing. He didn't know what he would he do if it was his friend who occupied the next room. He would probably lose his mind trying to pretend that everything was OK or would go in there, beg him for sex and *then* lose his mind.


So maybe after all someone Up There liked him. Joey's absence meant that he wouldn't be spending nights imagining what would happen if he stood up and went to him. He wouldn't have to hide and pretend 24/7.

Maybe he'd even find enough strength to mend the pieces of his broken heart.

He smiled through the tears. He would survive, he would move on.

No more Joey... Never again.


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