AN: Had this idea for a while and just had to get it off my chest. Set in the future, but you should remember the conversation Joey and Monica had when he talked her out of going to the sperm bank in season three. He almost got everything right. Very much a CM story.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with FRIENDS, all characters are borrowed and will be returned safely.
Monica laughed as she watched her husband chase the kids around the pool. She had long ago given up trying to tell them it was dangerous, and to be honest Chandler was the only one who had ever fallen down. She sat back on her chair, tilting her face away from the sun so she could keep her eyes on her family. Chandler had aged well, his face looking more mature, except for his eyes, which were as bright and playful as ever. His hair was lighter; having spent the summer by the pool they had installed the year before. Eight-year old Jack and Erika were growing up fast and Monica felt a pain of sadness at the thought. Erika was a good two inches higher than her twin brother and never let him forget that. Monica smiled at the knowledge that he would overtake her in height eventually and would hold that over her forever. Then there was six-year-old Alexis, their miracle child. She had bright blue eyes, and had obviously inherited Chandler's sense of humor, her eyes always bright like she had a secret.
Alexis veered away from the path around the pool and headed towards her mother, hiding behind the chair. Chandler, close on her heels, caught up and Alexis jumped into her mothers lap for protection. Monica wrapped her arms tightly around her daughter.
"You really think that's going to protect you?" Chandler asked.
Alexis squealed and hid her face against her mother. "Mommy, help me."
Monica laughed. "I'll protect you, sweetie."
Chandler reached for his daughter, who Monica held on to tightly. He met his wife's gaze, "it's her or you."
Monica pretended to think about it before she loosened her grip. "I guess I'll have to let you take her, then."
"No!" Alexis screamed animatedly as she was pulled from her mother's arms and thrown into the pool. Jack and Erika cheered and jumped in after her.
Chandler turned his attention to Monica. "Now it's your turn."
Monica grabbed onto the arms of the chair as Chandler reached for her. "No, Chandler, don't do it."
He tried unsuccessfully to pull her out of the chair, before turning a mischievous look her way. Before she had time to realize what he was about to do his fingers found the most ticklish spot on her side and she dropped her hold on the chair. She immediately found herself in his arms as he moved toward the pool and their cheering children. She screamed as he jumped in with her still in his arms.
"Damn you, Bing," she joked when she surfaced. He laughed and tried to dunk her before being attacked by a splashing Jack and Erika. Monica swam towards Alexis, who was floating happily in her purple water wings.
Alexis laughed at her and stuck out her tongue. "Ha ha. Daddy threw you in too."
Monica laughed as she pulled her daughter into her arms, "yeah, but he threw you in first."
They were interrupted when Chandler swam behind them for protection. Alexis shrieked and swam away, leaving her parents alone to take on her older siblings. Monica tried to protest as her husband pulled her in front of him, using her as a shield.
"Okay! Okay, truce!" She yelled out, laughing. Jack and Erika high-fived each other in victory against their parents.
Chandler wrapped his arms tighter around her, placing a kiss the side of her head. "Thanks, Babe."
Monica turned in his embrace, mock-glaring at him. "Well, you're not welcome. First you throw me in the pool, then you use me as a shield…"
She couldn't continue because Chandler's lips had met hers, pulling her into a long kiss. When he eventually pulled away Monica laughed happily as she turned her head to watch her kids attempting to make a human pyramid in the shallow end. Jack and Erika, who were on the bottom, kept dropping their little sister. Monica smiled at the family moment, as she leaned in closer to her husband, her cheek against his as they watched their children silently for a few moments.
"Hey guys!" Her thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice and she turned to see Joey and Alex standing by the pool.
"Uncle Joey!" The kids screamed as they raced out of the water toward their uncle. Joey didn't have a chance to hold off the three wet kids, and ended up almost as wet as they were.
Monica laughed as she and Chandler made their way out of the pool. Joey had been overseas shooting a movie for the past couple months so they hadn't seen him. His flight must have been early, cause they hadn't expected him for another hour at least.
"Hey, Joey," she said she approached him and pulled him into a friendly hug, not caring that she was wet from the pool. Joey didn't seem to care either.
"Hey, I've missed you guys."
Monica pulled away and was handed a towel from Chandler, who was pulled into a friendly hug with his best friend. She greeted Alex warmly.
"We heard screaming from back here, so we let ourselves around," Alex told her.
Monica smiled. "That's fine. I guess the flight got in early."
Alex nodded. "Something about a strong tail-wind."
Monica laughed as she moved to pull shorts and a tank-top on over her wet suit. Joey and Alex took seats beside her, laughing as they watched Chandler try to round up the three kids who had taken off around the pool again.
"I swear, sometimes it's like having four kids." She said.
Joey laughed and nodded his agreement as Chandler finally caught up, scooping all three kids at once, wrapping a single towel around the three of them.
"Oh, I have something for you," Joey said suddenly, pulling a wrapped present out of his suitcase.
"Oh, Joey, you didn't have to." The gift was thin and flat.
Joey smiled. "Yes, I did."
Chandler had given up on the kids and flopped down beside his wife. "What's this?"
"It's from Joey."
"To Monica and Hoyt." He read the label. "Hoyt? You know Joey, after being friends for like twenty years, you'd think you would know my name by now."
Monica laughed, confused. She glanced at Joey who was smiling. "Just open it." She slowly began tearing the paper off. The name Hoyt seemed somehow familiar in her head. She pulled the paper off, revealing a sign. She took in the words quickly and her hand went to her mouth, tears springing to her eyes as the memory came back.
Chandler didn't notice her reaction. He pulled closer to see it. "We don't swim in your toilet, so don't pee in our pool." He read. "That's funny Joe, but I don't think Monica's going to allow it to be hung up…" He trailed off as he noticed the tears running freely down his wife's cheek. "What's the matter?"
Monica sniffed and shook her head. "Nothing." She turned her attention to Joey. "Joey, thank-you. Thank-you so much. I had completely forgotten about this."
Joey smiled and gave his friend a quick hug. "I had too until I saw the sign and just had to buy it for you." He motioned to Chandler and the kids who had come over to see what was going on. "Looks like I got everything right except for the name," he said. "And him having the body of a swimmer," he joked motioning at a confused Chandler.
Monica sat back against her seat, smiling happily at the sign in her arms. She was still crying.
"Mommy, what's the matter?" Erika asked.
Monica laughed and pulled her daughter onto her lap. "Nothings wrong, sweetie, everything is perfect." Erika shrugged and moved over as her brother crawled up to sit beside her. Chandler, with Alexis on his lap, wrapped an arm around his wife's shoulder, knowing she would explain later. Monica smiled as she felt Chandler place a kiss on her temple. "Everything is perfect," she repeated.