Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from FRIENDS in this story. They belong to the creators of the hit comedy series.

Living Without You

The alarm woke Rachel Geller from her sleep on Friday morning. She had the day off, and she was going to sped it wisely. She rolled over to wrap her arms around her husband, but he wasn't there. His side of the bed was cold. Rachel was automatically concerned. The last time Rachel woke up alone was the time Ross had fallen asleep on the couch. He rarely did that, so that presented an element of worry in Rachel's heart.

She slipped out of bed and a warm breeze fluttered through the open window to greet her. The sun was shining brightly, and New York's busy streets and walkways were already alive with the bustling business people and taxi cabs. Everything seemed cheery and perfect. But where was Ross?

Rachel waddled out of her bedroom wearing nothing but one of Ross' shirts and a pair of his boxers. (It turned him on when she wore his clothes to bed.) She poked her head into the room across the hall where she saw her two-year-old daughter sleeping in her bed. She walked into the living room and saw that Ross wasn't there. She checked the kitchen and the bathroom. There were no signs of him. Worry had her heart pounding in her chest.

"Ross?" she asked quickly, not expecting an answer. She wondered if he had gone in to work early. He usually woke her or left a note before he did that. She walked over to pick up the phone. She dialed his office number and waited for him to answer. She was relieved when she heard his voice.

"Dr. Ross Geller," he announced.

"Ross! Thank God!" Rachel exclaimed. "Did you go in early?"

"Yeah. I'm sorry I didn't wake you. You looked so peaceful in your sleep. I must have forgotten to leave a note. I'm sorry."

"Yeah," Rachel answered. "It's okay."

"How are you feeling?"

"Better now," Rachel said. She sat down on the couch and ran her fingers through her hair. "The baby's kicking a lot." She rubbed her stomach and felt her child kick as if to tell his mother that everything was alright.

"I'll try to finish up by noon, sweetie. If anything happens and you need me, just call me."

"I will," Rachel promised. "Love you." She hung up the phone and walked into the bathroom to take her morning shower. She was finding it harder and harder to shower each morning because she felt even bigger in the front. She was full-term with her and Ross' second child.

Everything had gone so fast since she and Ross got back together. It wasn't even two weeks after they got back together that they were married. Rachel got pregnant in July, and it was April now. Emma was two and she was excited to be getting a new baby to play with.

Ross and Rachel had waited to find out the sex of the baby. They wanted to be surprised this time around.

After Rachel's shower, she dressed in a pair of black shorts and a white tank-top. She pulled her hair into a loose bun and walked into Emma's room. Emma's room had been split in half, almost. It was decorated on one side for the baby. Rachel hoped that it would be a girl so that Emma wouldn't have to have boy colors in the room that she absolutely adored.

"Time to get up, sleepyhead," Rachel chirped, straining to lift her two-year-old onto her hip. Emma whined but woke up anyway. Rachel smiled at her daughter. She loved Emma so much. She was so happy that she and Ross had created her. But there was something special about this pregnancy. She and Ross had planned it. They hadn't had to plan for very long, but they did plan it.

Rachel had dubbed herself the most fertile of her friends. Mike and Phoebe were still trying to have a baby, and she knew that Monica couldn't have children of her own. She felt guilty sometimes because Monica would look at Rachel's belly with envy. She knew Monica wanted to know what it was like to be pregnant, but she also knew Monica wouldn't enjoy the back pain and the constant need to use the bathroom.

Emma was getting hungry, so Rachel fixed her a bowl of cereal and put her in her high chair. While the girl was eating, she took time to rest and sat down on the couch. She propped her feet up on the other side of the couch and leaned back. She wasn't sure if she would ever be able to get up again, but the phone ran and she figured she had better answer it. She struggled to get back up, grunting and moaning all the way. She yelled at the phone for the people not to hang up, but she figured it was pointless because they couldn't hear her.

She got to the phone and picked it up.

"Hello?" she asked with exasperation.

"Hey Rach," came the sweet voice of Phoebe.

"Hey Pheebs, what's up?"

"The sky," Phoebe said pointedly. Rachel sighed. "Do you want to go to the movies?"

"I would, but the doctor wants me off of my feet as much as possible," Rachel replied.

"Oh yeah. The baby thing . . ." Phoebe remembered.

"Yep," Rachel answered.

"Well, do you need somebody to hang out with? I know what it's like to be pregnant. Do you need help with Emma?" Phoebe asked.

"That would be so great," Rachel said with a sigh. "Thank you so much."

"No problem. I made Mike go to the health food store. I'm making him a baby-making shake. We need to get his swimmers into high-gear."

"I see . . ." Rachel commented slowly. "Well, come on over whenever you want. I'll be here all day. Ross said he'll try to be home around noon."

"Alright. I'm on my way," Phoebe announced. Rachel hung up the phone and she groaned as a pain surged through her lower back.

"Ugh," she grunted. She sat down on the couch. "Not yet, little one. You need to wait until daddy gets here . . ." A knock came to the door and Monica walked in with a smile on her face. She was carrying the eleven-month-old twins on both hips. She put them down so they could toddle around.

"Hey!" Monica exclaimed.

"Hey Monica," Rachel said with a look of exhaustion in her eyes.

"What's the matter?" Monica asked, seeing the pitiful look on her best friend's face.

"I think the baby's gonna come soon," she said with a glint of worry in her eyes.

"What?!" Monica asked, her eyes bugging widely.

"I think I had a contraction a minute ago. I haven't felt it again, so I think I'm okay."

"Do you want me to take you to the hospital?" Monica asked.

"Monica, I'm the woman with the longest labors ever. I don't think the baby will be here for three more days," Rachel said with a laugh. "Oh, besides, Phoebe's on her way over. We were gonna have a girl's day hanging out here. So the three of us can hang out with the kids. It'll be nice. Ross will be here around noon."

"Alright," Monica said with a smile.

"Mama!" echoed Emma's voice from the kitchen. Rachel started to get up.

"No no. Let me get her. You rest," Monica replied. She energetically hurried into the kitchen to get her niece. Rachel sprawled out on the couch again and she watched Jack and Erica sit down on the floor and pass a ball back and forth to each other. They were so sweet together. Rachel realized that those two were very lucky to have parents like Chandler and Monica.

"Joey!" Jack exclaimed out of the blue. "Joey!" Little Erica chimed in as well.

"Mon!" Rachel exclaimed as Monica came out of the kitchen with Emma.

"What?" Monica asked.

"Why are your children chanting Joey's name?"

"Oh . . . it's time for Days of Our Lives. I keep telling them that he's one of our friends and that they'll get to see him some day." Monica turned the television on and the kids grinned when they saw Joey.

"It's amazing how he can balance his time between Days of Our Lives, his new show, food, and sex."

"Yeah. It's a miracle I think," Monica said. Phoebe came walking in and she sighed.

"What's wrong, Pheebs?" Monica asked.

"I don't know. I'm just not getting anywhere with Mike. I am ovulating and he isn't . . . sperminating!"

"I can see how that could be difficult," Rachel responded slowly.

"Well, I'm sure you guys will work it out soon," Monica said. "Hey, Rachel's in labor!"

"What?!" Phoebe asked.

"I am not!" Rachel exclaimed. "Don't make such a big deal out of it. I just had a contraction."

"Oh my God!" Phoebe exclaimed.

"It's not that big of a deal. Come on . . . both of you just sit down and relax."

"This is huge!" Phoebe exclaimed. "We have to get you to the hospital."

"Stop freaking out," Rachel demanded.

"Why are you so calm?" Monica asked.

"Because I know that everything is going to be okay," Rachel replied instinctively. She felt another pain and she screamed out. "Sweet mother of Jesus!"

"Ready to go to the hospital?" Monica asked.

"Yeah, let's."

"I'll call Ross," Phoebe said. She grabbed the phone and called Ross' office while Monica took the children down the hall to a nice little old lady who baby-sat Emma every once in awhile. When she arrived back, Phoebe was helping Rachel out into the hall.

"The kids are playing at Mrs. North's apartment," Monica said with a smile.

"Ross is meeting us at the hospital," Phoebe said.

"I'll go get the car," Monica offered. Phoebe helped Rachel out of the apartment and down to the car.

Rachel was lying in a hospital bed while Dr. Long was checking her status.

"You're at seven centimeters. You've still got three more to go," Dr. Long replied. "You must have been dilating for a day or so."

"Well, that's good to know," Rachel replied sarcastically. Dr. Long left the room. The labor pains were starting to become more intense and closer together. Ross wasn't there yet, probably because of the traffic, and Rachel was growing anxious. Monica had called Chandler and told him to pick the children up from Mrs. North's when he got off of work, so he could bring them straight to the hospital.

"How are you feeling?" Phoebe asked as she brought in some ice chips for Rachel.

"Like a stretch limousine is trying to pass through the tip of an ink pin," Rachel replied flatly. She gripped the side of the bed as another pain whizzed through her.

"Try multiplying that by three and you'll know how miserable I was when I had the triplets."

"Yeah, but the triplets were three small babies. I'm having one gigantic baby," Rachel pointed out.

"You've got a point there. Well, here's your ice." Rachel took the cup from her friend graciously and downed a few cold pieces of ice. She suddenly began to wonder where Ross was. She was starting to get very worried again until Ross came hurrying into the room.

"You're here!" Rachel exclaimed! Rachel wrapped her arms around Ross' neck and gave him a soft kiss.

"I'm glad I made it," Ross whispered. He put his hand on Rachel's belly. Monica and Phoebe left the room to give them a few minutes together.

"I'm not ready to deliver yet," Rachel replied. "God, I'm so glad you're here. I've been getting these bad feelings all day . . . I think I'm picking it up from Phoebe. She must be giving me her psychic powers."

"Nah. Nothing bad is going to happen today, sweetie. Our baby is going to be born and we're going to get to take him . . . or her home in a couple of days. It's going to be great, Rach. We'll get to watch Emma and the new baby bond and grow up together. It'll be amazing . . ." Ross predicted. Rachel gave him a beaming smile and he kissed her again. She took his hand and squeezed it as another contraction ripped through her, promising more pain to come.

"Push, honey! Push! You can do it baby!" Ross urged as Rachel bore down, her feet in the stirrups. "It has dark hair like Emma had . . . it's coming!"

"AHHHH!" Rachel screamed in a guttural groan.

"One more push, Rachel, and your baby will be here," Dr. Long urged. Rachel pushed once more and the baby slid into the world. Ross' eyes went wide and he stared at his child.

"What is it?" Rachel asked with exasperation as Dr. Long handed Ross the scissors to cut the cord.

"We have a son," Ross whispered. Rachel's began to bawl as she took her son into her arms. He was perfect.

"Look at him," she whispered. "Look how perfect . . . look . . ."

"He's amazing," Ross replied. "You did it baby. I'm so proud of you . . ." He kissed the side of Rachel's head and he took he looked at the doctor.

"Thank you for taking care of my family."

"It was my pleasure," the doctor replied. Ross looked at Rachel.

"We have a son . . . a son, Rach," Ross whispered.

"What should we name him?" Rachel asked.

"Ross Jr. is out of the question because Ben was the first boy," Ross replied.

"What will go with Geller?" Rachel asked with a laugh. Ross smiled.

"How about . . . Luke?" Ross asked.

"No . . . no," Rachel said, shaking her head quickly, trying to dry the tears from her eyes as she held her crying newborn son.

"What about . . . Michael?" Ross asked.

"Michael Geller," Rachel pondered. "Michael Ross Geller. I like it." Ross' eyes lit up with pride at the sound of his name in his son's name.

"It fits," Ross replied.

"Hello Michael," Rachel whispered to her son. The baby seemed to recognize his name, and he opened his eyes to look up at his parents.

"We're going to love you so much," Ross said softly. "We already do."

That night, Rachel was lying in her hospital bed with Michael in her arms. Emma was sitting up on the bed. Chandler had brought her to the hospital hours ago. He and Monica had left with the twins awhile ago. Phoebe was also gone. Ross had called Joey in California to leave a message that Michael Ross Geller was born at 3:32 p.m. weighing in at 8 pounds 6 ounces.

Flowers and balloons filled the room and little Michael was sleeping snugly in his mother's arms.

"I can't believe how perfect he is."

"Of course he's perfect. He came out of me," Rachel said with a laugh. Ross grinned.

"I love you so much," he proclaimed.

"I love you too, honey," Rachel replied. She looked at Emma who was dozing off to sleep. "Sweetie, why don't you take her home? She must be very tired."

"She's had a big day," Ross replied. "Do you want me to get a couple of cots so we can stay with you?"

"You should go home and get your rest. I'll be fine here. Michael and I will be fine."

"Sweetie, are you sure? I don't mind sleeping on a cot. I don't want you to be alone."

"I'm not alone," Rachel replied. "Plus, it's just one night. We've got the rest of our lives, honey."

"You're right," Ross answered. He leaned down to kiss Rachel. Their lips lingered on one another's for a moment before he pulled away and picked up Emma. "Kiss mommy and Michael goodnight. It's time to go home." Emma kissed her mother and brother and Ross headed for the door. "Goodnight. I love you both."

"We love you too," Rachel replied. Ross stared at her for a moment with a look of absolute love and adoration in his eyes before he turned and left with Emma in tow.

At midnight, Rachel was awakened by a nurse.

"Mrs. Geller. Mrs. Geller!" Rachel woke up suddenly.

"Michael!" she exclaimed, automatically assuming that something was wrong with her son. She had a horrible feeling in her gut and she knew that something serious had happened. "What's wrong with my baby?"

"Michael's fine," the nurse replied.

"Then why the hell did you wake me up?" Rachel asked.

"I figured you would want to know. An ambulance just brought . . . just brought your husband and daughter into the hospital."

"What?!" Rachel asked, sitting up in bed and flipping her light on. "What happened?"

"They were hit by a drunk driver on the way home."

"Oh my God," Rachel cried. "How long ago."

"Not long after they left the hospital. It was about forty five minutes ago."

"God. Are they alright?" she asked with tears in her eyes.

"Emma's in stable condition," the nurse replied. "She was in her car seat and it was strapped in safely in the back seat."

"And Ross?" Rachel asked frantically. The nurse grew silent. "What about Ross?!"

"Your husband was pinned between his seat and the wheel. His ribs were broken and they punctured . . ."

"Is he alive?" Rachel asked.

"I'm . . . I'm sorry. Your husband is dead," the nurse replied. Those words echoed in Rachel's head. Ross was dead. Dead. Gone.

"NO!" Rachel screamed out. "You're lying! You're . . . you're lying!"

"I'm sorry Mrs. Geller," the nurse replied.

"I need to see him!"

"Mrs. . ."

"Let me see my husband, damn it! Let me see my husband!"

Rachel was wheeled into a very cold room. There were silver tables all around, and on one of the tables was a covered body. She broke down into tears before she got over to it. The doctor uncovered the body with the sheets.

"That's Ross," Rachel whispered softly. He looked like he was sleeping. He looked like he was going to wake up at any moment. But he wouldn't. He would never wake up again."

"I'm very sorry for your loss."

"Can I have a moment with him?" Rachel asked.

"Of course," the doctor murmured. He stepped out of the room and Rachel shook uncontrollably.

"You hate to be cold. Why do they put you in here when you hate the cold?" Rachel asked. "God, why did I send you home, Ross? Why? You wanted to stay with me and the baby. But I had to send you home. If I hadn't . . . if I hadn't told you to go, this wouldn't have happened. They say Emma's doing okay. I'm gonna go see her in a few minutes. You have to wake up. They said you're dead. You have to prove them wrong. You're too young to die. You're too young to . . . to be taken away from me. We just got settled down into our new life together. We have a new son. Come on Ross. Please wake up." Rachel's tears flowed fresh and she shook her head.

She wanted Ross to prove her wrong. She wanted him to tell her she was dreaming. She had to be dreaming. She had to be.

"I want you here with me. You have to wake up, Ross! Please wake up!"

Rachel stood at Ross' grave with her son and daughter, Ben, Monica, Chandler, Jack, Erica, Phoebe, Mike, their new daughter, and Joey. It had been a year since Ross died. Michael was one. Emma was going to be four soon. Emma had survived. She was fine, but Ross had died.

A drunk driver had killed Ross, killing him on impact. He didn't suffer, or at least that's what Rachel liked to think.

Rachel had faced the man that killed her husband. He was seventeen and driving home from prom. He had killed his girlfriend who was in the passenger's seat. Not only did he kill a stranger to Rachel, but he killed the love of her life. Ross was never coming back.

They had buried him on a warm afternoon. It was the kind of afternoon he would have loved. Emma and Ben let white balloons go and Michael watched in amazement because he was too young to understand.

But it was all over now. Rachel was a singer mother living with Monica and Chandler with the children. She couldn't bear to live in Ross' apartment anymore. She couldn't stay there. They had adjusted and now she was depending on her friends for more support than ever.

Everybody was having a hard time with Ross' absence. The boy who had killed him and the girl was facing life in prison for vehicular manslaughter. But that sentence was never going to bring Ross back. It was never going to bring his smile and his quirkiness back. Rachel would never hear him rehearsing one of his lectures in front of a mirror anymore. Now every Saturday morning was dull. Ross used to make Rachel breakfast in bed on Saturday mornings. Every Saturday morning, Rachel would walk through Central Park with the children, and she would think about Ross.

He was gone now, but his memory would live forever in the hearts of his friends. Rachel swore to tell Michael and Emma about how wonderful and amazing their father was. She never wanted them to wonder who he was. She was going to let them know. She felt it was her choice. She was always going to blame herself for what had happened to him, but she knew that if she thought about it too much, she would go crazy with guilt and grief. She had to stay strong for her children somehow. She was going to survive . . . survive without Ross. She wasn't sure if it was possible, but she was going to try.