[This Joey/Chandler story refers back to various season two episodes, such as TOW The List, and TO After The Superbowl.]
Ross and Rachel kissed for a long time after Monica switched off the prom video, but then they felt the eyes of the whole gang upon them and retreated to the balcony to talk in private. The other four found it all very sweet and wonderful, hugging each other and dancing around in celebration.

When Joey and Chandler returned to their apartment that night, they still carried that warm and fuzzy feeling with them.

"How great is that?" Joey asked.

"I know, man!" Chandler smiled, clapping Joey's shoulder excitedly.

"I can't believe that a year ago we were telling Ross it was never gonna happen."

"Yeah, stupid me! If I had just told Ross it *could* happen, then he wouldn't have pursued Julie in China, and Ross and Rachel could have been together as soon as he got back from the airport."

"Wow, that would've been great!"

"And, and if I had just deleted that stupid list of pros and cons from my computer as soon as we were done typing it, then Ross and Rachel would've been together right after Ross broke up with Julie."

"Oh yeah. That was you too."

"Yep, but it's not me anymore!" Chandler did a little dance around the living room and almost lost the gold bracelet on his wrist, but he quickly caught it, knowing how much it meant to Joey. "Whew! I am so glad that it finally worked out where even I couldn't wreck it! They must really be meant to be or something."

"Yeah." Joey smiled, thinking of Phoebe's expression. "Lobsters."

"Go, lobsters!" he cheered ridiculously. "Oh, I could just--I could hug you again!"

Joey extended his arms. "Hug me."

"Okay!" Chandler hugged him, then sat down on a chair and laughed at his silly behavior. "I don't know why I'm so happy. It's almost like I had a new girlfriend or something, but I don't. Maybe my life's really sad if I'm living vicariously through my friends."

"Nah, it can't be that. *My* life isn't sad, and I'm all happy too." He didn't even notice the insult embedded in his words, and Chandler just let it go with a smile.

Joey stood next to Chandler and put his arm around his shoulders. "Just so you know, it wasn't all your fault about Ross and Rachel taking so long. Ross should've made his move way sooner, before you accidentally revealed his feelings at Rachel's birthday party."

Chandler pondered that with amusement. "Huh! So in some way, he owes it all to me, for letting it slip out. Cool!"

Joey nodded and fondly brushed his fingers through Chandler's hair.

"Hey!" Chandler protested mildly. "You think I need a new do or something?"

"No, I just..." He sighed and trailed off. Then, deciding to seize the moment, he pulled up a chair near Chandler and sat down. "Hey, listen, I was just wondering something. You know how Ross and Rachel started out as friends and now, finally, they're together?"

"Uh-huh. What about it?"

"Well, do you think that, you know, dating a friend can really work out? I mean, when you're friends for so long, don't you kinda get comfortable that way and settled?"

"How do you mean, Joe?"

"Well, um, wouldn't it feel weird to suddenly be, you know, kissing your friend and getting naked with them and everything?"

Chandler shrugged. "I don't know. I never had a friendship turn into a relationship. But it seems to me that whatever gets you out of the friend zone and into some serious lovin' can only be a good thing."

Joey smiled, feeling encouraged. "So it wouldn't ruin the friendship?"

"Friendship, schmendship! Once you start having the feelings, you can't just sit there and swallow them. Just ask Ross how miserable he was being 'just friends' with Rachel!"

Joey laughed a little, and decided to go ahead. "So then, maybe it would be okay if you and me, um..." He raised his eyebrows and touched Chandler's hand softly.

Chandler's face changed as he realized that Joey was leaning in for a kiss. He suddenly jumped to his feet and backed away, almost tripping over himself in his panic. "What! Hey! I'm--I'm not gay!" He laughed in a jittery, uneasy way. "I know it might seem like I am sometimes, but I'm not. I'm not gay!"

Joey stared at him a moment, then shrugged and laughed loudly. "I was only joking."


"You know, to freak you out." He pointed at Chandler. "Gotcha!"

Chandler looked more relieved than angry. "Oh! Oh, good one. That's--that's... Oh my God, you scared me there. Don't--don't do that again." He quickly said good night and retreated inside his bedroom.

As Chandler shut the door, Joey stopped laughing and frowned to himself. In the silence, he got up and stood just outside the door, staring at it and touching it sadly with his fingers. He wasn't joking.

Finally, Joey walked away and headed for his own room. As he did so, he glanced at the gold bracelet on his wrist, a matching one that Chandler had bought for him today. Suddenly, the engraving "to my best bud" didn't feel so great and meaningful as it had before. He ached to be more than just a buddy, but realized now that it wasn't going to happen, not ever. Joey took off the bracelet and shoved it inside a desk drawer, then went to bed.