Meanwhile, Joey and Chandler returned to their old apartment and sat down heavily. Joey got an ice pack for Chandler's bruise, and they talked anxiously about their troubles. Would their friends not forgive them? Would Monica decide against joint custody, and cut them out of the twins' lives forever? Could Chandler fight it with a good divorce lawyer, or would that only drag things out interminably and be bad for Jack and Erica?

Chandler got depressed from remembering his parents' divorce, and he feared that his and Monica's divorce would be just as bad, if not worse.

Joey tried to soothe him, but felt foolish and naive for thinking that he could somehow "fix things" with Monica today. Nothing had been fixed, and now all they could do was wait, uselessly.

After a long, exhausting evening of doubt and speculation, the guys finally decided to go to bed. Since Chandler hadn't brought anything with him, he changed into his boxers and t-shirt, while Joey offered to lend him anything else he needed. (Having waited for three months for Chandler to visit him, Joey had an extra toothbrush and other overnight stuff ready.)

So they got ready for bed, then kissed again and softly said goodnight to each other before retiring to their separate bedrooms, as if they were just roommates again.

Joey got undressed and turned off the light in his room. With a sigh, he lay back in bed and wondered whether Chandler was okay. Did he need another ice pack? Did he need more comforting? Should Joey have asked Chandler to spend the night with him? Or was it too soon for them to get that close? Was it selfish? Chandler was still married after all, and the guilt overwhelmed Joey. Maybe Ross had a point when he said that they had only been struggling with their feelings for a week; maybe they should have tried harder to preserve Monica and Chandler's marriage, and maybe Joey shouldn't have let Phoebe talk him out of moving to L.A.

Yet, somehow Joey couldn't help missing Chandler badly and being heartbroken. It was like when Joey had moved out once and got jealous of Chandler's new roommate Eddie, or like when Chandler had commuted to Tulsa for three months, only coming home for the weekends. Living far away from each other, and calling on the phone, just wasn't the same. Joey couldn't take being apart from Chandler for long, let alone thinking that their friendship could be over for good. He had been afraid of being phased out of Chandler's life for years. Sadly, it looked like he and Chandler would both be dropped from their friends' lives now. He hoped he was wrong, though, and that Monica would let the twins would still see their father.

Joey rolled over and tried to get some sleep, ignoring his aching desire to hold and kiss Chandler again. They shouldn't move too fast, and they had many other things to worry about. He should just be grateful that Chandler was here at last, like Joey had wanted for three months. If only it could have happened without hurting Monica and the kids...

In his room, Chandler also lay wide awake and thought about Joey. Joey had left Hugsy in the bed, because he had slept here for the past week, like Chandler had slept in Joey's room at the house in Westchester. Hugsy still smelled like Joey, and that made Chandler miss him more. He was so close--just on the other side of the wall.

Feeling lonely and restless, Chandler finally got up from bed and took Hugsy with him. He walked over to Joey's room and cautiously knocked on the door.


"Chandler?" Joey sat up when he opened the door.

Chandler came in. "Uh, you left Hugsy in my room."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot. Sorry."

"That's okay." Chandler came closer and handed the stuffed penguin to him.


"You're welcome."

Joey put Hugsy between his pillows. "Um, is your bruise still bothering you?"

"No, I'm fine." Chandler hesitated for a moment, just looking at him in the darkness. Then he whispered, "I, um, I thought about you in Westchester too. Especially at night. I'd even--I'd even pick up the little men from the foosball table, you know, and get sad 'cause you said they should always be together, and--and I wished that we were together too."

"Yeah?" Joey was touched, and smiled tenderly at him.


After another awkward pause, Joey leaned near and kissed Chandler lightly. He caressed his face, being careful of the bruise, then let go and murmured goodnight again.

"Uh, goodnight." Chandler began to back away from him reluctantly, but he stopped, and gathered up his courage again. "Joey, can I--can I stay here with you tonight?"

Joey considered it and frowned. "I-I don't know. Are you sure about this?"

"Please? I miss you, Joe, and I can't sleep. I wanna be close to you."

"But we've never done this before--"

"I know. I mean, we--we don't have to do anything, do we? We could just... I mean, like when you napped with Ross, remember? We could sleep."

"Oh." Joey blushed and felt bad for having assumed that Chandler meant sex. He cleared his throat nervously. "Right! Yeah. I'm--I'm sorry. I just got nervous about... about us."

"I know. Me too." Chandler moved nearer and started to kneel on the bed beside him. He asked again, "So, can I stay? It's just, I-I wanna wake up next to you."

Joey sighed and finally agreed with a nod. "Okay."

"Thanks." Chandler sat down and hugged Joey warmly. Then he kissed him again, and also started to pull back the bedcovers so that he could slide in next to Joey.

Joey got nervous and stopped him. "Hey, Chandler!" He gulped. "I'm--I'm naked right now."

"Oh." Chandler belatedly remembered that Joey always slept naked. He had thought Joey was just shirtless.

"Yeah. Let me put something on, okay?" He discreetly got out the other side of the bed and reached for some shorts.

Chandler wondered for a moment whether he ought to go back to his room. Or should he get used to Joey being naked? He ought to be comfortable with it, if he and Joey were going to make love eventually. Chandler did want that, even if he wasn't quite ready now; he had kissed Joey and had dreams about him lately. Joey had told him in the car about having erotic dreams too.

Joey returned to bed and asked, "You okay?"

"Yeah. I'm sorry, Joe. I don't know why I keep forgetting that you sleep naked. I mean, I've been camping with you, and I even came in here once when you were snoring and rolled you over." Perhaps he was subconsciously blanking out such intimate moments in order to repress any homosexual desires that he had about Joey's nakedness, or so Chandler's old therapist might say; they had often discussed his fear of becoming like his dad.

Joey took his hand. "You sure you wanna stay tonight?"

Chandler hugged him and said, "Yeah. Yeah, we can just sleep."

"Right. We can take things slow." They lay down in the bed and snuggled close.

"It'll be like when we shared the fold-out couch," Chandler said.

Joey blushed a bit, and Chandler noticed.


"Um, well," Joey confessed, "I had a dream about that night."

"You did? What happened?"

"We were just talking, you know, about my dad's mistress and whether I could settle down with one girl. Then I hugged you, and we started laughing and wrestling, until we kissed and... you know."

"Really? Even with your dad and Ronni sleeping next door?"

Joey shrugged. "It was a dream."

"Right." Dreams didn't really have to follow any logic, and Chandler had had some odd dreams himself over the years. He whispered sadly, "I wish that, you know, that we got together before me and Monica."

"Me too," Joey answered. "I also had a dream that we hooked up in London, instead of you and Monica."

"That's cutting it close, but I guess it's better than waiting until now, huh?"

Joey nodded and watched his somber face. "You miss your kids already?"

Chandler nodded, and cried against his shoulder. Joey kissed him gently, and they kept talking for a while more, until they got tired and fell asleep.


That night, Chandler dreamed about rolling Joey over while he was snoring, but instead of hiding his eyes and leaving, he openly stared at Joey's body and leaned closer, waking him up. Joey smiled and sat up, kissing him and sending a thrill through his body. Then Joey pulled him into bed and took off his clothes, until they were both naked. They kissed more passionately and sank onto the bed together.

On Sunday morning, of course, Chandler awoke and realized that he had only been dreaming. He enjoyed the warmth of their shared bed, though, and watched Joey sleeping on the other pillow. Chandler didn't mind him snoring anymore and wondered why he had been afraid for so long of being gay.

When Joey woke up, Chandler said good morning and thanked him for letting him stay.

Joey said, "It was nice."

Chandler told him about his dream, adding, "I wish it had really happened, back then."

Joey nodded. "You wouldn't have sent me to a sleep clinic or slept with that screaming girl."

"Or Monica, in London."

They sadly embraced, and worried anew about the divorce. "Do you think we should try to call the gang?" Joey asked.

"I don't know. Maybe they'll only hang up on us."

They fell silent, not sure how to cope with their situation or comfort each other. Not knowing what else to do, they both got up to dress and make the bed. Chandler was still in the bathroom and Joey was making some breakfast, when the telephone rang.

Phoebe said, "Oh good, you're awake."

"Pheebs?" Joey was surprised and glad to hear her voice. "I-I thought nobody was speaking to us."

"Well, everybody else is still mad and shocked. You're gonna have to give them some time, you know?"

"Sure. Um, is Monica doing any better?"

"A little bit. She's still having breakfast at the house and packing some stuff. Ross and Rachel are gonna take her and the twins back to my apartment to stay for awhile."


"Anyway, since they're gonna be back here soon, I thought this would be a good time for you and Chandler to pick up Chick Jr. and Duck Jr."

"Oh, right! You were watching them and Emma last night."

"Yeah, so if you wanna avoid a big ugly fight when Ross and Rachel come home, you better come across the street and get your birds."

"Okay, um, I'm cooking some breakfast now, but I'll send Chandler over soon."

"All right, I'll pack up the birds and stuff in their carrier again."

"Thanks, Phoebe."

"No problem. I'll try to keep you posted about how Monica's doing, but they might not want me to keep in touch, what with the divorce and all."

"Yeah, I understand. Bye."


When Chandler came out of the bathroom, Joey told him about Phoebe's phone call.

Chandler was surprised too. "Wow. That's nice of her. She didn't seem mad at all?"

"No, not really. She didn't even yell about Monica."

"Huh. Well, I'll go get the birds."


At Ross and Rachel's apartment, Phoebe was doing her best to comfort Emma, who was crying because her mommy and daddy were still not home yet. When Chandler knocked on the door, Phoebe called out, "It's open!"

He came in and looked around for the pet carrier, which he found on the coffee table. "Thanks, Phoebe."

"Sure. Hey, wait! Do you think you can hold Emma for a minute?"


"Yeah, well, I can't calm her down, and you've got kids too--"

Chandler winced at the painful reminder, so Phoebe said, "I mean, you were pretty good with Ben when he was little, and Emma is your goddaughter." She came over and handed Emma to him, putting the pet carrier down again.

Chandler gently rocked the toddler and hushed her. "There, there. Your mommy's coming home soon." He sat down and held her on his lap.

Phoebe was relieved when Emma finally calmed after a while. "Well, you're not as quick as Monica is, but she clearly likes her Uncle Chandler more than her Aunt Phoebe."

Chandler sighed sadly. "I'm probably not gonna see her anymore either, huh?"

Phoebe came closer and sympathetically put her hand on his shoulder. "I'll do my best to get them to forgive you, but it's gonna take some time. It won't be overnight."

"I know. I appreciate you trying, though."

"Sure. It's not like you two are the only ones who ever acted stupid and made a mistake, and Ross did forgive Carol and Susan eventually. I'll try to make them see that, but I can't push too hard or too often, or they'll get mad at me too."

"Thanks, Pheebs." He looked at her, bewildered as to why she would take that risk for them. "Can I ask why you're still being nice to us? Don't you hate us too?"

"No, no, I don't hate you guys. I mean, I'm sorry that your timing's so bad, and you've hurt Monica, but I knew that something like this was bound to happen."

"You knew?"

"Yeah, you know all the hints I kept dropping about you being gay? It wasn't just to piss you and Monica off. I saw a vision of the future years ago."

"What? You saw this happening?"

"No! Not exactly this, but close." She sighed and tried to think of how to explain it, knowing that everyone was pretty skeptical about her psychic abilities. "Um, you know David, my scientist guy? Well, he once told me about some physicist theories about strings or something, and they say that there are tons of different universes out there."

She was starting to lose Chandler, so she said, "It's like when we imagined what would have happened if Monica was still fat, and Rachel had married Barry, so on. Every possible reality that could exist, does exist, in parallel universes. That stuff didn't happen in our world, but it happened in an alternate world, see? So I think that sometimes I accidentally get a psychic vision from one of the other universes out there, you know, but I can't tell for sure until it happens--or doesn't happen. I actually kind of like being surprised."

"You're saying you saw me and Joey getting together?"

"Yeah, only it didn't happen now, like this. It happens years later." She explained, "See, the twins are like five years old, and you've just put them to bed one night. Monica is working late at the restaurant, so you go to hang out with Joey--he's living with you in Westchester. You also gave him a second room in your house because he helped you guys so much with money and the twins, and you even bought a new foosball table for the game room. So anyway, you come into his room and want to watch Die Hard with him again, but he says he's got to rehearse a script. It's another gay audition, and he asks you to rehearse the kissing with him. You say he should practice with Ross again, but Joey says you're here, and besides, don't you owe him for everything he's ever done for you? You guys fight, but he finally guilts you into it, and gives you the script to read."

"Then we kiss?"

"Yeah, and you both really like it. You don't wanna admit it at first, but you keep 'practicing' the kiss a lot, until you get carried away and forget all about being married. You drop the script and start making out on his bed."

"We sleep together?"

"No, you guys finally stop and pull apart. Joey feels terrible and says he should move out. You say, yeah, you guys can't go on like this. So you leave the room and wait for Monica to come home, and you try to pretend that nothing happened, that Joey just wants to move to Hollywood to be in more movies. So Joey starts looking for a new apartment, and tries to avoid you, but you still have to talk about who's gonna keep your birds and the foosball table. It already feels like a divorce, and you're both heartbroken about losing each other. You guys realize you're in love and finally confess to Monica, so she kicks you both out. We find out too, and there's a big custody battle, and even some scandal, because Joey's more famous now."

Chandler was getting quite wrapped up in this alternate universe, when the phone rang. It was Joey, wondering what was taking so long.

Phoebe said, "Oh, um, Chandler was helping me calm down Emma, and we got to talking."

"Oh. Well, come over soon. Breakfast is getting cold."

"Yeah, okay." She hung up and told Chandler, "Anyway, it doesn't matter what happened in that universe, 'cause you guys are here now. You better leave with the birds, before Ross and Rachel get back."

She took Emma from him and got up. He grabbed the pet carrier and started to leave, but he hesitated at the door. "Phoebe, do you have any idea how things will turn out here, in this universe? Will Monica forgive us and let us see Jack and Erica?"

She shrugged and shook her head. "Well, I see something, but I'm not sure if it's in this universe, or another. I'll do the best I can, though."

"Okay. Thanks anyway." He sighed and left, trying to hope for the best.