Title: Whatever It Is
Summary: "Because I love him." Rachel's never thought Monica and Chandler were a 'great romance.' Now she's reconsidering that. Mondler. Hints of Ross/Rachel. Takes place in Season 7, after 'The One with Rachel's Book'.
Disclaimer: Yeah, you've got me, I'm a Friends writer. After 10 award winning seasons, I decided to branch out and try fan fiction.
A/N: I was inspired by a conversation comparing the Ross/Rachel relationship to Chandler/Monica. It always annoys me how R/R are considered the 'It' couple when, I personally feel C/M have a much better relationship. This kind of explains that.
Rachel admires Monica and Chandler's relationship. She thinks it's cute how they fit together. Nice and sweet and convenient.
But she doesn't think they're a great romance. Not like she's read about in books, or seen on TV. They haven't pined after each other or battled through endless miscommunications. They've just fallen together, and stayed there. Eh.
She knows it's vain, but Rachel thinks' she and Ross make a much more romantic couple than Monica and Chandler. Ok, it all went to hell after a bit, but still, they had a spark. Fire, excitement and all of that. They're Lobsters. Ross would do anything for her and their relationship was fuelled by big romantic gestures. Somehow she can't see Chandler being that romantic with Monica.
All this runs through Rachel's mind when she listens to Monica rant about Chandler's refusal to pay for 'The Perfect Wedding'. She nods and coo's like any sympathetic friend, but deep down there's a nugget of smugness. She may not be engaged, but at least her love life has had romance in it. She hasn't settled for less. (A neurotic, awkward, snarky less).
Later that day she asks Monica about the wedding issue, and if Chandler has finally cracked. (As he should).
"Oh that," Monica says absently, "We agreed to have the cheaper wedding."
Rachel is shocked; this doesn't fit with the stubborn, competitive Monica she knows.
"Why – why would you agree to that?" She splutters. "You wanted that perfect wedding!"
Monica shrugs. "Chandler talked to me about it, and I realized he was right. We might need the money later."
Rachel splutters some more. "He talked to you? That's it?"
"But, but..." She waves her hands despairingly. "That's not right! You shouldn't have backed down! Or if you did, you should have made him pay for it. Prove his love for you! Drink a jar of fat, take you to Prom or something!"
Monica smiles dryly. "Are we talking about me and Chandler, or you and Ross?" She tucks her hair behind her ear. "It's fine Rach. He offered to pay in the end, but I knew it wasn't right. I needed to compromise. We talked about it, and moved on, end of story."
Rachel stares at her best friend in disbelief. "But why?" she says weakly. "You wanted it to be perfect, that was your right. Why compromise?
Monica looks at her oddly. "Because I love him."
Because I love him.
Monica's words echo in Rachel's head for the remainder of the day. Because I love him.
Rachel knows all about love. She knows about men striving to please her, and doting gestures under moonlight and feeling adored.
...But she hasn't thought about love from this perspective before. That even the most difficult, controlling people can back down, and that sometimes being happy is more important than being right.
Suddenly she finds herself reconsidering a lot of things. Like the way Chandler teases Monica about her obsessive cleanliness while simultaneously clearing away his mess. Or how, when he makes a self-deprecating joke, she'll slip her fingers through his and squeeze his hand. Or how their faces light up when they see each other, no matter how disgusting they look.
Rachel thinks how none of their fights – over high speed chases, toe-cutting, bad massages or ex-boyfriends – have lasted over a day, and how neither of them have ever considered 'taking a break'. Monica's never written an 18 page letter (front and back), making demands of Chandler. She's never worried about him sleeping with copy girls or flirting with other women. She hasn't needed to.
That night Rachel watches Chandler. She sees how he watches Monica subtly, and how at the first sign of stress he's there with a joke underpinned with advice making her laugh and relax all at once.
Suddenly she starts wondering things. Like maybe she and Ross aren't such an amazing romance after all. Maybe the real romance has been going on quietly – without flourish – between Monica and Chandler. After all, they've stayed together, they're happy, they work.
Maybe, she wonders, that's what love is really about. Not big, flashy gestures: Understanding, talking, compromise.
So Chandler's never drunk a jar of fat for Monica, or taken her to prom. Big deal. Maybe romance is bigger than that.
Rachel hopes she can find that someday.