Thanks for the reviews folks. I really really appreciate it!!
Here is the next part. I own no one. And no one owns me. I am my own Windkeeper, dammit!
heehee.


Don't Leave Me On My Own

Chandler stared blankly out his apartment window. It was raining again. Which was fine with him,
it fit his mood. He had been in Seattle for 3 weeks, and they were 3 of the longest weeks of his
life. He had no friends, no life, and most importantly, no Monica. All he had was his job,
and that did little to inspire him. He watched the droplets of rain trickle down his window,
and wondered what how he had managed to end up so utterly alone.

*

Rachel knocked softly on Monica's door, still uncomfortable with just walking into the apartment.
Monica opened the door, and silently let Rachel in.
"How are you, Mon?" Rachel asked slowly.
"I've been better," Monica smiled weakly. "Thanks for coming over."
"Well, we need to talk," Rachel said, sitting down on the sofa. It was so strange. She used
to feel so comfortable here. Even on her wedding day, the day she ran out on Barry, and back
into Monica's life, Monica and the others had managed to make her feel right at home.
But now there was a wall between her and Monica, and it was strange. On the one hand, she wanted
to hate Monica for doing what she did. But on the other, she felt so bad for her, and felt like
she'd been punished enough. It was quite clear that she was devastated over losing Chandler,
and that made it difficult for Rachel to stay mad at her.
"Mon, I don't think things will ever be the same between us, but I don't want to lose our
friendship over this. It's going to take some time, and a lot of work for you to gain my
trust again."

Monica nodded, but didn't look at Rachel.
"I know. I can't even begin to tell you how sorry I am, and how bad I feel."
Monica sniffed, and wiped a tear from her cheek, and continued.
"But I will do whatever it takes to prove to you that I love you, and that I am sorry."

Rachel stood up, and pulled Monica into a hug.
"Okay. Look Mon, I have a lot of feelings to work out, and I am not promising anything."
"Okay."
"But if you need me, I will be there. I know that you are going through hell right now Mon,
and me and Ross, and Joey and Pheobe want to help you get Chandler back. But I think we need
to give him some more time. Who knows? Maybe he'll come around on his own."
"Maybe."
"Okay, I am going to go. I finally agreed to go to dinner with your brother. He has been
pestering me for weeks. My office is completely full of flowers."
Monica smiled, happy to see that Ross and Rachel were going to give it another try.
"Good Luck," Monica said, as Rachel walked towards the door.
"Thanks."
Monica shut the door behind Rachel and sighed. "One step at a time," she said to herself, and
walked back to her room.

*

Ross sat at the restaurant bar, half-expecting Rachel to pull a no-show. He ordered another
Jack and Coke and prepared himself to be let down.
"Is this seat taken?"
Ross turned his head slowly and found it hard to hide his excitement. Rachel took a seat
next to him, and ordered a cosmopolitan. She was wearing a simple black cocktail dress with
beaded straps. Ross was amazed that, after all that they had been through, he still found
it difficult to breathe when she walked into a room.
"Are you shocked that I showed up?" Rachel said, as Ross continued to stare.
"I am shocked, and very pleased." Ross finally said.
"What is it about you, Ross? You have put me through more hell than all of my other boyfriends
combined. And yet I still have faith in you. I just don't get it."
"Maybe there is a force that keeps us together. You know, a force stronger than both of us."
"You are starting to sound like Pheobe," Rachel laughed.
"Yeah, well, when it comes to you, I am willing to believe anything."
Rachel was silent for a minute. She played with her glass absently, deep in thought.
"Ross, do you think Monica and Chandler have that?"
"Have what?"
"Do you think that there are unseen forces that will bring them back together?"
Ross sighed. "I hope so. I think there are, but...time and distance do crazy things."
"Yeah."
"I'm very happy you came tonight."
"Me too."

Ross and Rachel spent much of the evening talking. After a short walk through Central Park,
Ross walked Rachel to her new apartment, just blocks from where she used to live.
"Wow, this is a nice area. I've never been here before."
"Yeah," Rachel replied, "There is a familiar air here, ya know?"
Ross nodded as they passed a small coffee shop. He peered through the window, and saw
six friends, in their mid-twenties, lounging in the corner of the shop.
"Rach, look at this." Ross pointed to the group.
"Wow," Rachel replied, and sighed. She tried to remember the last time the six of them had
hung out at Central Perk together. The last time she was there, it was with Chandler and
Joey, the night of the "incident". She'd found it hard to stay, and so vowed never to go back.
"I guess time changes everything," Ross said, as if reading Rachel's thoughts.
"I guess it does."

Ross walked Rachel to her door, and leaned in to kiss her goodnight. She pulled away suddenly.
"Ross, you have to understand, that I need more time."
"Of course," Ross replied.
"I had a really nice time."
"So did I."
"Okay then," Rachel said, opening her apartment door, "I'll see you soon."
"Okay. Sweet dreams, Rachel."
"You too."

*

Chandler fidgeted with the locks on his door, trying to get inside to catch the phone before
it stopped ringing.
"Hello," he said breathlessly.
"Dude, where have you been?"
"Hello to you too, Joey," Chandler said flatly.
"Are you just getting home?"
"Yeah, well, I gotta pay rent somehow," Chandler said, throwing his keys on the counter.
"You were at work? It's like, 11:30!"
"It's only 8:30 here, Joe."
"Whoa! I forgot! So, then, that means that you don't know who won the Knicks game!"
"Well, it is played live, so..."
"Man, it's like time travel!"
Chandler sighed. He really didn't feel like explaining the concept of time zones to Joey.
"Anyway...What's up, Joe?"
"Hey, I am coming out there to shoot a commercial and thought maybe we could hang out."
"Cool. When will you be here?"
"Next Thursday."
"Great!"
Chandler talked to Joey for another 30 minutes, but he could tell that Joey was getting tired.
He hung up the phone, and for the first time since his move, Chandler smiled. He was really
looking forward to seeing Joey. But he also knew that seeing him would only remind him of
Monica. Not that he needed an excuse to think about her. She was on his mind contantly.
He sighed and opened his refidgerator. As was usually the case, he had no food, except a week
old Chinese food carton, a piece of cheese, beer, and orange juice that he couldn't remember buying.
He grabbed a bottle of beer from the door and sank down into his barcalounger. It was going
to be another long night.

*

Two weeks later, Ross took Rachel out on what would be considered, by normal standards, their
third date. Towards the end of the evening, they made their way back to Central Perk.
As they walked in, Rachel hesitated.
"Rach, what's wrong?"
"It feels so weird...being back here."
"We can go somewhere else."
"Don't be silly," she replied, making her way to the ratty orange sofa in the corner.
Ross ordered their drinks and headed to the sofa.
A few minutes later, Phoebe and Joey came in. They immediatly joined Ross and Rachel, and
the foursome spent the next hour re-living old times.
"You know, all we need is Chandler and Monica, and it'd be perfect," Pheobe sighed.
"Yeah," Joey agreed.
"Joe, Ross told me you went to see Chandler."
"Yeah, but I didn't see much of him. He was always working."
"Are you sure it was Chandler?" Rachel joked, eluding to Chandler's past work ethic.
"It was him...but it wasn't, ya know?"
"What do you mean?" Rachel asked, honestly curious. She knew that she had changed, and she
wondered how much Chandler had changed.
"He's just more serious, and he isn't really...I dunno..." Joey scratched his head, looking
for the right words. "Remember how, if you were talking to him, and it was serious, you could
tell he was really listening. Even if it was just to find something to joke about...you could
tell he was interested. Now...it's like his mind is wandering all the time. Like he can't
really focus. I dunno, it's weird, ya know?"
The group nodded in agreement, and sat in silence for a minute. Suddenly, Pheobe stood up.
"Joey, we're gonna be late for our movie," she said.
"Oh, yeah. See you guys."
"Bye," Ross and Rachel said in unison.
After Joey and Pheobe left, Ross and Rachel sat on the sofa, thinking about what Joey had said.
"Ross," Rachel finally said, "Do you think I have changed a lot too?"
"Yeah," Ross replied, "a little bit."
"For better or worse?"
"Neither. I mean, you are more guarded, but then why shouldn't you be? You have every reason
not to trust us, right?" Ross looked at his hands.
"Yeah," Rachel sighed, "but I think it's more than cynacism. I think it's...I don't know.
I feel like I need to start making some serious decisions about my life. I'm not 24 years
old anymore. It's time to re-evaluate what I need to do for *me*."
"What are you saying, Rach?" Ross said, afraid that Rachel was trying to break it off. Maybe
she didn't think their relationship was worth the effort after all.
"I don't know," Rachel replied, "I really don't."

45 minutes later, Ross walked Rachel back to her apartment. He stood at the door awkwardly,
unsure of what he should do. Finally, he kissed her quickly on the cheek, said a good
night, and made a quick departure. Rachel touched her cheek and smiled. Maybe things were
going to be okay after all.

*

Monica was walking in a giant, open field. It was dark, very dark, and it was foggy. She
wasn't sure which way to walk, so she just walked straight ahead. She could hear whispering,
but she couldn't tell who it was or where it was coming from. Suddenly, she felt the ground
soften, and she began to sink into the earth below. She screamed for help, but nothing came
out. She turned her head and saw a figure walking toward her. She recognized the silhouette
immediately.
"Rachel! Rachel help me!"
Rachel turned her head to look at Monica, but continued to walk past her, as if she couldn't
hear her.
"Rachel!!"
Monica continued to sink into the ground. She was now chest-deep, and the earth was constricting
her lungs, making it difficult to breathe.
"Monica?" A voice came from behind her.
"Chandler, please help me."
Chandler walked around her and looked at her sadly, but didn't move to help her.
"Chandler, please..." Monica continued sinking.

The sound of the telephone woke Monica from her nightmare. She shook her head, and reached for
the phone.
"Hello?" she said groggily.
"Oh, sorry, Mon, did I wake you?"
"Chandler, hi. No, it's okay, I was having a horrible dream."
Monica's first instinct was to tell Chandler every detail of her nightmare, something that
she used to do all the time, even before they'd started dating. But she knew that he wasn't
calling to make small talk. After a short, uncomfortable silence, Chandler finally cleared
his throat and started to talk.
"Mon, the reason I'm calling is...well, I left a few things at the apartment that I kinda need."
"Oh. Yeah, just tell me where they are, and I'll send them to you."
"Great, thanks. Um, there is a disk in the desk drawer...the right drawer I think. I need that.
Also, uh, there is a notebook in the nightstand that I'd like."
Monica finished writing down Chandler's requests.
"Anything else?"
"No, that...that's it."
"Okay."
"Thanks Monica."
"You're welcome. Um, Chandler?"
"Yeah."
"How...how are you?"
Chandler sighed. "I'm okay. It's raining here again. It always rains here."
"Yeah, that's what I hear."
"How are you?"
"Miserable. But then that's my own damn fault, isn't it?"
"Mon," Chandler started.
"Look, I had better go. I'm sure you are very busy...and I..."
"Monica," Chandler interrupted, "I am sorry that you are miserable. If it helps, I am miserable
too."
"Then why don't you come back, Chandler? We can fix this!"
"I...I don't know Monica."
"Chandler...please."
Monica suddenly remembered the look on Chandler's face in her dream. He was lost. He wasn't
sure whether he should take her hand, or walk away. She closed her eyes, and prayed that he
would come back to her.
"Mon, I need to...I need to think about some stuff. I'll talk to you later."
"Okay."
"Thanks for sending that stuff."
"Sure."
Monica's heart sank. He still wanted her to send the stuff, so maybe he wasn't coming back.
But he said he had to think, so she held out hope. It was all she had left.

*

Two weeks later, Rachel sat in her favourite reading chair, listening to the sound of the rain
hitting the window. She was thinking about her relationship with Ross. They had come so far
in such a short time. She was beginning to realize that Ross was right. There were invisible
forces keeping them together. All of them. Even her relationship with Monica was improving,
though at a slightly slower pace. Monica was consumed with guilt and sorrow over losing Chandler,
so it was difficult reaching her at times. But Rachel truly believed that Chandler would be
back, and that everything would be okay. Someday, anyway. Her thoughts were interrupted
by her telephone.

"Hello?" she chirped.
"Rachel, it's Monica."
"Hi Monica," Rachel said, not at all liking the tone of Monica's voice.
"Rach, you need to come down to Beth Israel Hospital. Ross has been hit by a car."
Rachel sat down, and let Monica's word's sink in.
"Is he okay?" she croaked.
Monica fought to keep control. She swallowed hard and concentrated only on saying the
next few words she needed to say.
"No, Rach, he isn't. You'd better hurry."



Review, or I am gonna make Chandler marry Janice! (Like I'd ever do that!!)
But please let me know what you think...or you may never know their fates........;-)