Title: Out of My Head
Timeline: Seasons 9/10
Pairings: C/M, Ra/Rs, Ra/J, C/Ra, M/OC, etc.
Summary: A near-fatal car accident throws Chandler into a coma, and into several different realities. But it's the one he wakes up to, 3 years later, that may be the most devastating.
Rating: PG-13, strong language.
AN: Well, I suppose the question had to be asked eventually…why do I always torture Chandler? Why not Joey? Or Rachel? Or Ross?
I torture Chandler, because I relate to his character better than any other. It's not that I don't like the others (actually, I'm not all that fond of Rachel or Ross, but I doubt you all care about that!) it's that as the writer, I project more of myself on the character that I feel the closest connection to.
Perhaps as a writer, I should challenge myself, and torture someone new. Perhaps I should stop torturing people all together. Perhaps I should stop writing fics and do my job. Will any of these things ever happen? Maybe. Will I post this chapter before the end of time? Nope. Should I shut up now? Yep.
Thank you so much for reviewing, and for asking the questions I should be asking myself…
Wow, that is one looooong AN!
"Doctor, he's waking up."
"Mr. Bing? Mr. Bing, can you hear me?"
Chandler groaned, and opened his eyes slowly, as the last remnants of darkness fell away. He was immediately aware of the sharp pain in his leg and chest, and the slightly duller, throbbing pain in his head. As his eyes began to focus, he noted that he was in a stark hospital room, with two strangers standing over him, concern lighting their eyes.
"Mmmph," was all he could manage, as one of the strangers (presumably a doctor) began examining him. The doctor then stepped back, and looked at the other person.
"He seems to be okay. We should go tell his friends that he's awake."
Chandler watched the strangers walk out of the room, and then closed his weary eyes. He struggled to recall what had happened to him, but everything seemed to be fuzzy. He took a deep breath, and heard the door to his room open.
Slowly, he opened his eyes, and smiled slightly at the concern that lit the faces of his closest friends: Ross, Rachel, Joey, Phoebe, Monica, Richard…
What the hell?
"Chandler…how are you feeling, sweetie?" Monica smiled warmly and approached Chandler's bed, but he couldn't seem to tear his eyes away from Richard.
Why was he here?
"Chandler…do you remember what happened?" Ross asked gently, his eyes filled with concern for his friend.
"N-no," Chandler finally stuttered, "I…can't seem to remember much of anything, though…"
Ross brow furrowed, and he bit his bottom lip nervously.
"What's the last thing you remember?"
Chandler opened his mouth to speak, but suddenly, he couldn't recall the distinct memory that had floated into his head. He looked up at Monica, and felt a chill run through him.
And he was struggling to remember why he had been questioning Richard's presence.
"Y-you were hit by a car," Monica frowned, "just after Ross and Rachel's wedding."
"Ross and Rachel got married?" Chandler asked, and looked over at Ross again. Rachel approached the bed, and took Ross' hand in hers.
"I don't remember them getting back together," Chandler muttered softly.
"I don't remember us breaking up," Rachel laughed.
Chandler's head shot up, shock lining his eyes.
"Y-you didn't…what about the copy-machine girl?"
"The who?" Ross and Rachel said simultaneously.
"Then you didn't…so Ross never married Emily…"
"Who the hell is Emily?" Rachel arched her eyebrow, and Ross shrugged.
"And London never happened," Chandler whispered despondently, this time looking directly at Monica.
"I-I've never been to London," Monica replied softly, "A-and as far as I know, neither have you."
Chandler felt a sharp pain course through him, and he closed his eyes, until the pain subsided. Opening his eyes again, he swallowed hard, and nodded silently.
"That must have been one hell of a dream," Ross laughed nervously, trying desperately to break the tension that that formed.
"So…if he's okay, then…we're gonna go," Joey announced suddenly, and he and Phoebe turned to leave.
"Wait, Joe!" Chandler sat up straighter, and strained his neck to look across the room at his best friend, "I…I didn't even get a chance to talk to you."
Joey spun around, his eyes dark, and his mouth set in a tight line. He took one step forward, and folded his arms across his chest stiffly.
"What makes you think I want to talk to you?" he said coldly.
"We have to go," Joey interrupted, and stormed out of the room, with Phoebe on his heels.
Chandler blinked slowly, then looked up at his friends—the friends he had left.
"You don't remember, do you?" Monica asked gravely.
"Remember…what?" Chandler asked shakily, "What did I do to him?"
"Don't you remember Kathy?" Ross asked slowly.
"Kathy…" Chandler repeated distantly.
"You were seeing her…behind Joey's back…for over a month. He walked in on you guys…um…doing it," Ross winced uncomfortably.
"Oh my God," Chandler put his face in his hands.
"We thought he might have forgiven you…because he came with us to the hospital…but I guess…" Rachel sighed.
"We don't see much of him or Phoebe anymore," Monica added, and Chandler was sure that he could hear a hint of bitterness in her voice.
"I…what do I do?" Chandler looked up at Ross hopefully.
"I…I don't know, man. I mean, you've apologized about a thousand times. You even broke up with Kathy for him. But…I dunno," Ross sighed.
Chandler nodded, and swallowed down a lump in his throat.
"I have to do something," he said quietly, "this…this isn't right."
Two Weeks Later
He'd just finished leaving what must have been the 80th message on Joey's machine when he heard a knock at the door. He gathered his crutches and made his way to the front door.
He opened it to reveal a very annoyed-looking former best friend.
"Joey, hey," Chandler smiled brightly, and hopped back to let Joey into the apartment.
"I'm not staying, I just came by to tell you to stop calling me. And to find out who gave you my new phone number," Joey said flatly.
"Joe, please, I just want to—"
"You aren't gonna tell me anything I haven't already heard from you, Chandler!" Joey yelled, and pounded his fist onto the countertop.
"The thing is, Joe, I don't remember anything I told you…I don't even remember doing any of this stuff—"
"Well that's pretty fucking convenient, don't you think?" Joey smiled sardonically.
"You can't even tell me why you did it? Why you saw fit to screw my girlfriend, just because you are too lame to get one of your own? What was it, jealousy?"
"No! I don't know! Look, the only person I'm jealous of is Richard—" Chandler's eyes widened and his mouth clamped shut. Joey's eyes widened as well, though he tried desperately to cover it with a look of indifference.
"Wh-what did I just say?" Chandler whispered hoarsely.
"That you're jealous of Richard," Joey replied flatly.
"Wh-why would I say that?"
"Maybe because you're in love with Monica?" Joey stated, as though it should have been totally obvious.
"But…I don't remember that," Chandler felt his head buzz, and he wavered slightly. He felt Joey grab one of his elbows, and guide him to a chair.
"Dude, are you okay?" Joey asked, genuinely concerned.
"I…I don't know," Chandler whispered softly, "none of this seems right…none of it seems real to me. I just…I don't understand…"
"Maybe you should go back to the hospital," Joey said cautiously.
"No! No…I…it's just…I don't know," Chandler shook his head, and took a deep breath. He looked up at Joey, tears lining his eyes.
"Joey, I'm sorry, I really am," Chandler said softly, "I wish I could remember why I did what I did…I can't imagine why I would ever risk our friendship like that. It…it doesn't make sense to me. I just…I'm so sorry."
Joey nodded silently, and turned to leave. He turned back to Chandler, his expression still unreadable.
"You sure you're gonna be okay?" Joey asked slowly.
"Y-yeah," Chandler smiled slightly, and Joey nodded again.
"Okay. See ya," Joey said, and walked out the door.
Chandler swallowed, and tried to suppress the growing feeling that he would never see Joey again.
Two Weeks Later
"Chandler? Are you okay?" Chandler jolted, and looked at Monica, who was waving her hand at him in concern.
"Sorry," Chandler muttered, and looked back down at his food.
"Honey, I know that this thing with Joey is hard, but you have to eat sometime, okay?"
"How are things with Richard?" Chandler asked abruptly.
"Um…fine…I…why?" Monica stuttered.
"Just wondering," Chandler shrugged, and pushed some food around with his fork.
"What's this about?" Monica placed her hand over Chandler's, to stop him from moving his fork. He looked up at her, his eyes dark and filled with sorrow.
"Are you happy with him?" Chandler asked softly.
"Y-yeah," Monica replied.
"Good," Chandler smiled sadly, and pulled away from Monica.
"You should be happy. Everyone should be happy," Chandler interrupted.
"Are you happy?" Monica asked, as Chandler stood up.
"I don't really deserve to be, do I? Not after everything you guys said I did to Joey—"
"I know," Chandler sighed, "It's my own fault."
"Don't be so hard on yourself, okay? You were really in love with Kathy, and Joey had another girlfriend on the side!"
"Look Mon," Chandler stepped closer to Monica, and took her hand in his, "promise me that the minute you're unhappy with Richard, you'll break it off, and you'll call me, okay?"
"Just…trust me," Chandler smiled sadly, and kissed Monica softly on the lips, before turning and walking out her front door.
"This isn't real," Monica muttered, her head spinning, "it can't be real."