AN: New story. Got the idea today and just had to sit down and write it. Hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I am borrowing the characters from FRIENDS and I promise to return them safely.
Summary: Basically the girls vs. the guys (like in TOW the embryos) round 2. Just add in Ross and Phoebe as contestants, Monica and Chandler's secret relationship and some very personal questions and you've got this story. Major M/C.
Chapter One: The Challenge
Phoebe entered the coffeehouse and took her place among her five friends who were already there. "Hey guys, guess what I finally did?"
"Went back to school? Cleaned out your closet? Won the lottery? Happened upon-" Chandler was cut off by Monica's elbow meeting his ribs. "Ow," he muttered quietly, trying to act like it hadn't hurt quite as much as it had. He rubbed the sore spot as nonchalantly as he could manage and mock-glared at his girlfriend.
"Thank-you, Monica," Phoebe said, nodding her head in appreciation. She gave Chandler a look, which reflected back to her, before cracking a wry smile and rolling his eyes in good humor.
"I am sorry, Phoebe." He said, emphasizing every syllable. "What is it that you have finally done?"
"Well," Phoebe continued, not recognizing the sarcasm in his voice. "I finally got that roll of film that was in my camera developed."
"The one that has been in there for, like, years?" Joey asked.
Phoebe nodded emphatically. "Yeah, I don't actually know how old it is, but there are some pretty old pictures," she said, pulling a small stack of pictures from her bag. "Now, the door of the camera was opened a few times, so some of the pictures didn't turn out. These are the only good ones left."
"Wow, these really are old, Pheebs," Rachel said. "These are back from when the boys stole our apartment."
"Stole!" Joey exclaimed.
"Yeah, we never stole nothing. We won it fair and square. You girls are the ones who stole it from us." Chandler said, backing up Joey.
Monica rolled her eyes. "We just took back what was rightfully ours.
"No," Chandler turned to Monica. "You stole it. You lost the game, and then you resorted to stealing, because you couldn't stand the constant reminder of how you lost."
Monica inhaled as she sat up straighter, reacting to Chandler's words even though she knew he was baiting her.
"Oooh, them's fighting words," Phoebe said cheerfully.
Chandler raised an eyebrow, as if challenging her to respond.
Monica felt her teeth clench. She was now locked into Chandler's confident gaze, knowing her exactly how her friends expected her to react, but not to give it to them. She fought an internal battle for something witty to reply to him, however he was the witty member of the group, not her. She continued struggling, knowing she was running out of time. She finally gave up and settled for simply elbowing him in the ribs again, this time a little harder than the first time.
"Ow!" Chandler exclaimed. "Would you stop doing that? It really hurts!"
"Oh, poor Chandler, getting beat up by a girl." Monica piled on the fake sympathy, reaching up to cup his cheek. "Are you going to be okay?"
Chandler glared at her, knowing she had caught him this time. He couldn't take it any further, because they still had massive boundaries around their friends. He turned away, effectively ignoring her. Joey, however was still glaring at her. "What?" She asked him.
"I think you owe us an apology."
"Me and Chandler."
"Stop!" Ross exclaimed. "This could go on for a while."
"She started it." Joey muttered.
Monica gaped at him, but Phoebe cut in before she could respond. "Well, as I remember it, Monica and Rachel lost the apartment in a bet, and then got it back fair and square."
"Fair and square? They switched all of our stuff while we weren't home."
"And then made out in front of you."
"Oh, yeah," Joey said dreamily, remembering.
"They what?" Ross exclaimed.
"What, you didn't know that?" Phoebe asked.
"Dude, you should have been there. It was awesome, right Chandler?"
Chandler nodded to appease his roommate, quite aware of Monica's eyes on him. He discreetly shifted his arms over to cover his side, hoping it would prove effective in preventing any more elbow attacks.
"Girls," Ross said, disgusted by the thought of his sister kissing his ex, "that really wasn't a fair way to get the apartment back."
Rachel shrugged. "It was effective."
"And, we all know still recognize that we know more about the girls than they do about us." Chandler gloated, purposely avoiding eye contact with his girlfriend.
"So not true." Monica retorted.
"Is to." Joey responded.
"Oh, for the love of all that is good, would you two stop doing that!" Phoebe exclaimed. "The way I see it, there is only one way to settle this. There's got to be a rematch."
"Oh, I don't think that's a good idea," Chandler said. "Some people over here," he motioned to Monica, "are to afraid to lose again."
Monica felt her blood boil at his words, however she noticed that in his gloating he had let his arms slip, leaving his side unprotected.
"Oh!" Chandler exclaimed for the third time. "Okay, there's already gonna be a bruise. Do you have to break a rib as well?"
Monica smirked. "I think a rematch is a great idea, Phoebe. Now we can prove once and for all that we know more about the boys, right Rach?"
Rachel hesitated. "I don't know, Mon. You can get kinda scary, and I really don't want to move again."
Monica rolled her eyes. "Just suck it up, Rach, and we're not going to lose."
"That's what you said last time," Rachel mumbled under her breath.
"Hey," Phoebe said. "I want to play this time."
"Fine," Monica said. "We can play the three of us against the three guys."
Rachel looked pained. "Mon, I really don't think this is s good idea."
"Because I don't like being on you team."
"Wait," Phoebe said, cutting off any further conversation. "I have an idea. Why don't we each have one guy to answer questions about. Then we're not really on the same team, but we're still on the same side."
"I like that idea." Rachel said, nodding her agreement.
"Okay," Monica relented. "But how do we decide who gets who?"
Phoebe thought for a moment. "Okay, well it can't be you and Ross, cause you grew up together, so it wouldn't be fair. Oh, and it can't be Ross and Rachel because they dated, so that wouldn't be fair, which means it has to be Ross and me. And I guess it doesn't matter which of you two get which guy, cause there's no other connections like with Ross."
Chandler felt his gut tighten at Phoebe's words, and prayed his expression didn't give anything away.
Joey realized that Phoebe was wrong, but then immediately realized that he was the only one, other than Monica and Chandler, who would know that. "Well, in that case, why don't I pair up with Monica, and Rachel and Chandler can play together."
Monica and Chandler nodded their agreement, but were cut off by Rachel.
"Wait, why do you get to decide? Is there a reason you want Monica? I'll bet there is, I'll bet you know something about her that will make this unfair."
Phoebe was nodding her agreement. "Rachel's right. I think it should be Joey and Rachel, and Monica and Chandler. Then we can be sure that this is fair."
Joey shrugged his defeat. "Okay."
"So, how do we get the questions? Last time Ross made them."
"We can come up with our own for our side."
"And when our we going to do this?"
"Is everyone free on Saturday?" They all nodded. "Good, that'll give us a couple days to come up with questions."
"Do we still win the apartment this time?" Joey ventured.
"No!" Both Monica and Rachel said.
"So what do we win?" Ross asked.
"How about the losers have to take the winners out for a celebratory dinner?" Phoebe asked. Everyone agreed.