AN: There isn't much plot here…it's mostly just me sprouting off ideas.  To buy this story, you'll have to go with a few scenarios: a) Erica is having the baby in Ohio, therefore, no one but Monica and Chandler are there.  b) Erica is okay with having Monica and Chandler in the delivery room.

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Some Season 10 Spoilers…but I don't know anything about what's happening in the finale.

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Echoes of My Father

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I've been staring at the stark white wall for so long, I'm starting to see large, grey shadows jumping out of it.

I glance up at the clock again, feeling as though hours have passed since I last checked.

To my dismay, eleven minutes have passed.

I sigh heavily, and sink back into the hard, vinyl chair that has been propped up against the wall.

Silently, I curse myself for being exiled to the waiting room.  Had I not started jumping around and asking a million questions, I'd still be in the delivery room, holding onto Monica for dear life, eyes wide with fear, anticipation and happiness.

I want to be there, the moment our child comes into the world.  I want to know immediately whether we have a daughter or a son.

If it's a girl, we are either going to name her Penelope or Sadie (we can't decide).  Her middle name will be Erica—that, we already know.  I imagine she'd grow up to be a lot like Mon, passionate and stubborn.  She'll probably have her mother's impeccable taste and she'll be freakishly strong.

I know, without even meeting her, that she'll be Daddy's Girl.  I'll spoil her rotten; I know it already.  I cave anytime Monica looks at me with her doe eyes and sweet smile, so how could I ignore my daughter?  I imagine me and Mon watching as she learns about the world around her, guiding her to her first steps, and first words; watching from the crowd below, video camera in hand, as she performs in dance recitals and school plays; watching her grow into adulthood, and guiding her as she becomes a beautiful, brilliant young woman.

I imagine she'll be the most beautiful woman in the world.

If it's a boy, we're gonna name him Daniel.  Somehow we both knew that it would fit.  Every time we go out to the new house, Monica sighs, and dreamily says that she can just imagine Daniel and me playing catch in the backyard.  I smile, and decide not to remind her that I'm a 'dropper'.  And then I look out on our sprawling back lawn, and I realize that I can see it too, the image of us together, old, worn mitts on our hands, a bright white ball sailing between us, allowing us to forge a deeper bond.

Sometimes the image make me sad, because I can't help but be reminded of the frayed bond my father and I share.  I've begun to realize just how hard it must have been on him, being rejected by his only son.  I know that if Daniel were ever to reject me, I'd be heartbroken.  For years I only allowed myself to see what he was doing to me—how his eccentricities alienated me.  I realize now, how selfish I've been.  I love my father, more than even I realized, and I now understand—I can see why he's been reaching out for so long.

I vow to myself that I will call my father as soon as the baby is born—I want him to know his grandchild, and I need him to know that I finally understand.

"Chandler?  Your father wants to talk to you," Nora extended her arm and looked down at her teenage son pointedly, as he shoved the last of his dinner into his mouth.

"What dosh-she want?" Chandler asked, mashed potatoes spurting from his lips.

"Manners, Chandler!" Nora scolded, and shoved the phone into her son's hand, "Swallow, then talk."

Chandler shrugged and put the phone to his ear with a roll of his eyes.

"What?" he asked defiantly.

"Ch-Chandler, son?  It's your father."

Silence.

"I, um…I wanted to see how you were doing?"

"I'm fine," Chandler muttered flatly.

"Your mom tells me you got onto the swim team.  Th-that's great, son!"

"Yeah."

"Um…well, maybe I'll come out to your first meet.  That should be fun, huh?"

"Whatever."

"Look, Chandler—"

"Yeah, I gotta go, okay Dad?"

"Yeah…yeah, sure.  I love you, son."

"Bye."

I wipe a renegade tear from my face, and it's only then that I realize that Monica is standing before me, a look of concern lining her beautiful face.

"Honey, are you okay?" she places a comforting hand on my arm, as I stand up to hug her.

"I'm fine.  Everything's fine.  How's Erica?  Is the baby here?"

Monica looks up at me, and her furrowed brow melts away, as she smiles.

"She's fine.  Everything's fine.  Why don't you come back in?"

"Is the baby here?" I ask again, my stomach tightening.

"Not quite…it's on it's way though.  We want you to be there.  I want you to be there," Monica whispers, and takes my hand in hers.

"But the doctor said—"

"That you can come back, as long as you stay quiet.  I promised you would; so don't prove me wrong, okay?  You know how I hate to be wrong," she winks.

"Have you ever been wrong?" I joke, as we make our way toward Erica's delivery room.  We stop just outside the door, and I can hear Erica crying out in pain.  I hesitate, not entirely sure that I want to be a part of this anymore.  Monica squeezes my hand, and I look down at her.  Sensing my anxiety, she winks at me, and kisses me on the lips before dragging me into the room.

Erica is red and sweaty, and her eyes are closed tight.  The doctor is telling her to push, and as she does, I look at my wife.

Monica is wearing her emotions on her face, just like she always does.  I can see that she shares Erica's pain, and that she is hiding away her own longing and envy.  But above all else, I see her anticipation, and her pure joy at the scene before her.  I smile, and let my own anxieties melt away.  I watch Monica, I squeeze her hand, and moments later, a baby's wail fills the room.

For a moment, I can't tear my eyes away from Monica, as she watches our baby come into the world.  Tears prick her eyes, and roll down her cheeks, and instinctively, I brush them away.  She looks up at me, and we share a smile. 

It's the happiest moment of my life.

An hour later, I find myself sitting outside the hospital, on the hard cement curb.  After the chaos of the last hour, I relish this tiny moment of peace.  I sigh heavily, and dig my cell phone out of my jacket pocket.  I scroll down the list of names in my phone book, knowing that I have a lot of people that I need call, but wanting to talk to only one person.  I hit the dial key and put the phone to my ear, as my eyes gaze over the darkening Ohio skyline.

"Dad?  It's me.  Erica had the baby…it's a boy.  Daniel Charles Bing.  She's fine.  He's gorgeous.  Monica won't leave the room…I'm outside the hospital.  Yeah.  Hey, Dad?  I just wanted to say…thanks.  And…I love you."

AN:  For those of you who may be wondering:  The final chapter of Age of Aquarius will be up soon.