Chapter Twelve: Thank You

Woo, last chapter for this fic! YAY! Sorry, I'm always happy when I manage to FINISH a story, it's so good. And thank you, all my faithful reviewers, who always seem to read all my fics-I owe you all everything. 61 reviews so far for this fanfiction-not bad! I'm not going to complain, but could you all do me one tiny little favour... >points to "submit review" button at the bottom of the page. Go on! Get my final tally to seventy... you can do it... Hope this lives up to all expectations.

February 2007

Over the hill they came, six friends, arm in arm, carrying flowers, large smiles on their faces-though inside they felt solemn, and calm. The tall blonde haired lady seemed rather attached to a young man with a cheeky smile and dark hair, thought a man visiting a nearby grave. Another two men, breaking the chain and walking a little in front, seemed content and happy, finding it normal to stroll through the flowers that surrounded the graves around them. And a red haired woman rested her head on another mans shoulder, her face telling her happy story. The man had his arm hooked round her waist, in his other hand, which had been linked with the blonde woman, he carried a bunch of roses.

How happy, young and carefree they looked, thought the man to himself, before standing up and looking sadly at the grave of his late wife. Every year for the past fourteen years he had visited her grave on this day, even though desperate times had made it necessary for him to leave New York and live in Paris with his daughter. But no matter what the weather was like, or what was going on, he always made time for his wife. His friend. His soulmate.

As the six friends passed the old man, Chandler gripped his fiancée tighter, and Phoebe and Mike both smiled sweetly at him. They had seen the man the previous year, and although most of the group did not remember, Phoebe and Mike did. They had noticed him standing over the grave sadly, but with a bittersweet smile creeping on his face, as he remembered the good times. Phoebe and Mike could only hope that, after just over a year of a successful relationship, they could end up being like the couple they imagined in their heads-happy for so many wonderful years.

Ross and Joey walked ahead of the group. "The grave's this way," Joey announced, as if it was everyones first visit. But they had all been before. Even Mike, who had never known Monica, joined in the ceremony that looked to last for many years to come. In a way, they all had her to thank for how their lives had turned out.

If it wasn't for Monica, Chandler thought sadly, he would never have met Rachel. He would never have sought comfort in her, never realised just how lovely a person she was. If it wasn't for Monica, Phoebe would never have had a chance when she was younger-Monica had given her a place to live. Despite Monica's seemingly selfish ways, she had some sort of heart underneath it all, and Phoebe could never forget how kind she had originally been.

Mike also had a lot to thank her for. He would never have met his sweet, yet a little crazy, wife-to-be, if it wasn't for her kindness. If Phoebe had stayed on the streets, there was no chance that the two would have ever met. Both knew that they were meant to be together.

And Ross had realised that, despite what he had ever felt for Rachel, Chandler and her made a wonderful couple. And when Ross had been visiting Monica's grave one day, he had come into contact with a young brunette, mourning over the tragic loss of her brother. Ross had been sympathetic, they had talked, and they had met up a few times since. Things looked promising. Ross smiled to himself. If it wasn't for Monica... they would never have met.

Joey tried hard to think of why he personally had to be thankful to Monica. He was sure there was some reason, but he couldn't quite remember it. She always fed him, he knew, whenever he went to her appartment. Maybe that was it. It seemed enough of a reason for Joey, in any case.

Each friend, except Mike, could remember the bad points of Monica extremely clearly. But each knew that they had a reason to be thankful for all that had happened. Chandler knew that Rachel was the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Rachel knew that she loved Chandler with all her heart, and all her soul, and they were destined to be together. If he had married Monica, he would never have realised the true beauty of Rachel Green-and he didn't mean her physical beauty either. Rachel was a woman with many hidden personalities. She really did know how to be a true friend, and Chandler loved her for it. Before they had fallen in love, they were friends. They completely trusted each other, and they knew that they cared deeply for one another.

Chandler had also not taken over where Emma was concerned. Ross was still Emma's dad, and in a way Emma was a very lucky child. Her dad and her step-dad-to-be were best friends, and everyone got along. Not many children could ask for that, if their parents were not together. She had so many people who loved her-Phoebe, Mike, Joey and Rachel and Ross' parents. Even Nora and Charles Bing felt some sort of responsibility over the child, and when she had met her, Nora had instantly fallen in love with the little blonde-haired child. Now almost five years old, she was a delight to all who met her-yet, as Chandler had joked, she definitely had Rachel's original nose. Rachel didn't speak to him for a whole two hours after he said that, and in the end he had had to apologise very solemnly to her before she would forgive him.

"Monica," Ross said, as he knelt down by the grave, already lined with flowers from her family. "We all forgive you for what you did. No one can harbour anger for too long, and we've all done so well in these past two years. In a way, we have a lot to thank you for."

No one teased Ross for talking to his dead sister. In a strange way, all of them were sure that she could somehow hear him.

"Mon," Phoebe said, feeling tears in her eyes, and she hastily wiped them away. "We do love you... we do have to thank you... without you realising, you've changed our lives for the better. It's a shame you can't be with us to enjoy our lives, but maybe if you were... we wouldn't have them."

Everyone smiled at Phoebe's blunt way of putting things. Chandler turned to Rachel, and she nodded, letting go of his arm and allowing him to say a few words, as he placed the roses on the grave.

"Thank you," he whispered, as he straightened up. "You may not realise it, but not marrying me was probably the best thing you ever did." Rachel smiled at him and kissed him softly on the cheek. No longer feeling hatred for her deceased friend, she too placed a few flowers on her grave and softly murmured "Thank you" under her breath, though everyone heard her.

There was nothing left to say. No one missed her presence to the extent where they felt like breaking down and crying. It was sad how a woman had gone from being amongst her friends to being an outsider, because of selfishness and stupid mistakes. No one could change her true character, but they could forgive and forget. They owed her that much. All their lives seemed so perfect now, it seemed wrong to still hate her. Because of Monica, everyone had something to look forward to in their lives. Even Joey seemed to be settling down-he had had three dates with the same woman. In one week! No one could believe it, and when they met her they were even more astounded. She was beautiful, admittedly, but smart too, and because of her Joey had seemed to become more sensible, and they really seemed to make a good couple. Joey couldn't really thank Monica for the meeting-it had happened outside a McDonalds-but at least everyone was happy.

"Goodbye Monica," Phoebe said quietly, as the six friends linked arms again, and together they walked towards the car to head home, all of them excited about what the future held for them all.

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Finished! I know, I know... soppy, eeshk, but I needed to end it, I needed to show that everything happens for a reason... well, I think it does, maybe you don't agree. Anyway, for the last time on this fanfic, please read and review! I love you all. xXx