Chandler lies with Joey in his bed, spent and sated, his head on his shoulder as Joey's arm locks their bodies together. One of his hands lays splayed over the heat of Joey's stomach. They've been entangled like this for almost an hour, with Joey's intermittent sighs and shifts rousing Chandler from his sleep. The way Joey threads his fingers through Chandler's hair certainly isn't helping either.
Joey slides his legs in the sheets, exhaling in a long drag. Chandler rolls his eyes through the privacy of his closed lids. "Hey, Chan'," Joey mumbles, "d'you think snails have feelings?"
"Oh my God, I will set you on fire."
"I can't sleep," Joey whines, stretching his legs out and flopping impossibly further into the pillows.
Chandler groans. His heavy eyelids protest the idea of conversation right now. "I don't care." He's got his eyes closed, but he just knows Joey's pouting at that. He lets his fingers drag lazily through the thin hairs over Joey's chest. Joey takes this as an invitation and walks his fingers along the angle of Chandler's hip. Chandler feels the heat from his palm hovering over his cock. "Joe." Joey wraps his fingers around him, and Chandler squirms at his touch. "Joey, no." He turns his body so he's tucked neatly against Joey's side, protected from his lusty hands.
"How else am I supposed to wake you up?" Joey whines.
Joey sits up; Chandler mourns the loss of his pillow. "You want some ice cream?"
"I wanna sleep," Chandler grumbles as Joey slides out of the bed.
"Fine." Joey steals Chandler's robe from the hook on the door. "You don't get any sprinkles then."
"We don't have any sprinkles," Chandler mumbles into the sheets as Joey pads out into the living room. He pries his eyes open to glance at the clock behind his bed; the glowing red numbers read 3:43 a.m. He sighs and settles back into the cushion of the mattress. Tonight feels like one of those nights where he's going to be up forever, where he'll watch the dark violet sky morph into the autumn hues of morning over a mellow soundtrack on the radio. He used to have a lot of nights like these where he'd lie awake wondering what was wrong with him and why he couldn't stop thinking about the stupid Italian with the goofy smile in the next room.
And now he's telling Joey to fuck off and let him sleep; Chandler's come a long way.
Joey shuffles into the bedroom with a pouty frown on his face. "We don't have any ice cream," he says, like the world has actually ended.
"Tragic. Now get in this bed and sleep with me, damn it."
"Not with that attitude." Chandler sighs, taking extra care to be loud and put out about Joey's existence. "I'm gonna make some hot chocolate. You want any?"
Chandler makes an aggrieved noise and forces himself to sit up. It doesn't look like he's going to sleep tonight; no use in fighting it. He pushes a hand through his hair and searches for his sweatshirt on the floor. "Fine. You win. I'm up." Joey practically skips into the kitchen while Chandler gets dressed.
"You get extra marshmallows in yours for bein' such a good sport," Joey says. Chandler drags himself out of the bedroom and sits at the bar. He feels a twitch of a smile at Joey's enthusiasm, and also the temptation to throw a marshmallow at him for being so goddamn cheerful at ass-o'clock in the morning. "Your hair looks really hot like that, by the way."
Damn it, Chandler actually smiles at that one. "Admiring your handiwork?"
Joey grins. "Well, yeah." He fixes up a mug and heats it up in comfortable near-silence, eating a handful of marshmallows while he waits.
Chandler feels his eyelids protest. In a struggle to stay awake, he asks, "Is something bothering you, Joe?"
"No, why?" Joey answers a little too quickly.
Chandler shrugs, trying to seem casual. "Well, you had a busy day today, er, yesterday, and sex usually knocks you out pretty quick. I just thought maybe you had something on your mind."
Joey shakes his head and slides the newly-warmed mug over to Chandler. He hesitates a bit while preparing his own, as if his hands have forgotten how to perform the simple task of pouring milk. "Nah, I just can't sleep. I dunno, maybe I ate too much."
"That's never been a problem before," Chandler quips, adding a spritz of whipped cream to the top of his mug. "Also, whoa"—he freezes—"how do you know those words?"
Joey breathes out irritation and leans his hands on the countertop. The slivers of moonlight knifing through the blinds frame the planes of his face extraordinarily well, Chandler notices. But Chandler could write sonnets about Joey's bone structure regardless of lighting. "Alright, maybe there is somethin' buggin' me."
"I knew it," Chandler gloats around a sip of hot chocolate. The warmth feels good on his tongue.
"If you're gonna brag about it, I'm not gonna tell you."
"Alright, I'm sorry. Talk to me."
Joey heats up his mug and comes over to sit on the empty stool beside Chandler. "You gotta promise not to laugh."
"I can't promise that, Joe, but I'll try." Chandler gives him a cheeky smile.
Joey looks left and right, as if reassessing his moment of honesty here. "You saw Days of Our Lives today, right?"
"Joey, we watched it together. You know I saw it." Chandler's seen better acting in Plan 9 from Outer Space, but he's going to keep that to himself.
"Well, you remember when I had to kiss Sabrina?"
Chandler just nods. Of course he remembers. He also remembers the wave of irrational jealousy he'd felt watching Joey kiss someone who wasn't him.
"I guess I feel guilty about it," Joey admits, rubbing the back of his neck and keeping his eyes averted from Chandler. "I know it was just a role and it wasn't really me, but..."
"You don't have to feel bad for enjoying it. She wasn't exactly bad-looking."
"I know, but that's not... I'm not feelin' the way I'm feelin' 'cause of that." The microwave beeps, and he takes his mug out, dropping a handful of marshmallows inside the cup. "I feel guilty 'cause, well, she wasn't you."
Chandler startles, his eyes wide. "I think you might be delirious from a lack of sleep, Joe." He lets out a little terrified chuckle.
Joey pulls back at Chandler's reaction. "I know, it's weird, but I've never felt like this before. I had to redo that scene a bunch of times 'cause I just felt weird kissin' somebody else."
"Aw, c'mon, we haven't been doing this that long. I'm sure you remember; it's like riding a bike, isn't it?" Chandler says, trying humor. He doesn't know how to handle this at all.
Joey watches him for a moment before glancing down at his mug. "Yeah, well, maybe I don't wanna kiss other people."
Chandler feels a squeeze of panic in his throat. He takes another sip to buy some time. "Now, see, that isn't exactly fair, because we don't know what this"—he gestures between them in a way that's supposed to mean something—"is. I mean, we never said that we're exclusive or anything."
"You mean I could'a been datin' other people this whole time?" Joey asks, his eyes wide. Chandler just glares at him over the rim of his mug; Joey laughs at his expression. "Hey, I can make jokes too."
"Is this whole conversation a joke?" It feels like it might be, because they've only been doing this—whatever it is—for about two weeks, and Joey's never been the type to settle down. The steadiest relationship Chandler's ever seen Joey have is with food—and, well, with Chandler himself. They've lived together about two years; that's longer than Chandler's ever seen Joey with one person.
"No, why would I..." Joey trails off, looking hurt. "I guess this is why I couldn't sleep, 'cause I knew if I told you how I was feelin' you'd freak out."
"I'm not freaking out," Chandler says sort of defensively.
"Maybe not on the outside," Joey grumbles.
Chandler just frowns, because Joey's not wrong. "Okay, but shouldn't I get some points for that?"
Joey takes a gulp of his cocoa. "Chandler, do you wanna date me or not?"
Chandler blanches at Joey's forwardness. "Aren't we already dating?"
"You know what I mean," Joey says around a sigh. He looks tired now, like enduring Chandler's deflective humor is wearing him out.
"Yeah, I do," Chandler hears himself say. "I know I'm gonna regret telling you this, but you make me stupidly happy."
Joey grins, glances down in that way of his when he's embarrassed. "Aww, thanks, man."
Chandler just smiles; he doesn't know what he was afraid of.
Later that morning, Monica sneaks into their apartment to borrow some milk from the fridge. But the first thing she notices when she steps inside is Chandler lying on top of Joey on the couch, their limbs entangled together in a sleepy embrace. Joey's got his nose buried in Chandler's hair, one arm dangling off the side of the couch and the other stuck inside Chandler's sweatshirt. This might be the cutest goddamn thing she's ever seen.
Monica tiptoes out of the room and across the hall, because Rachel absolutely has to see this. Rachel's rubbing her eyes, still trying to wake up when Monica practically drags her out of their kitchen and into Chandler and Joey's apartment. "Rachel, look!" Monica says in an excited whisper. "Look at them! Aren't they adorable?"
Rachel yawns. "Aw, yeah. And, hey, they've got clothes on this time."
Monica's poor volume control startles Joey and Chandler awake. Chandler flails his way off of Joey and onto the floor with a thud. Joey sees the girls standing there and adjusts his robe accordingly. "Mon, what're you doin' here?"
Chandler makes a grunt of pain, pushes himself up onto his elbows.
"I was just getting some milk," Monica says, chagrined as she grabs the carton from the fridge.
Rachel yawns again and heads for the door. "I'm going back to bed, Mon. Next time just take a picture."
"Were you watching us sleep?" Chandler asks. She sort of nods. "Because that's not creepy at all!"
"What would Richard say?" Joey adds.
Monica rolls her eyes. "Is it my fault you two are ridiculously perfect together?"
"Y'know, one of these days you're gonna barge in here and we'll be naked," Joey threatens. "And then who's gonna be embarrassed?"
"Still us, Joe," Chandler mutters under his breath as he stands up.
"I'm sorry, you guys, I didn't mean to wake you," Monica apologizes, moving for the door. "But now you know how it feels to have people prancing in unannounced!"
"I do not prance!" Chandler says sort of defensively as Monica shuts the door behind her.
"You sorta do," Joey says, because he just has to add fuel to the fire.
Chandler narrows his eyes. "We really need to start locking this door."