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Title: Third Circle of the Rain
Fandom: Friends
Characters: Chandler Bing and Joey Tribianni
Prompt: #081, How?
Word Count: 568
Rating: er, PG-13ish
Disclaimer: "Friends" is owned by NBC and creators Bright, Kauffman and Crane. No profit, no sue, just fun. The title is from Dante's Inferno, Canto VI, Lines 7-12.
Author's Notes: First fic written for [livejournal.com profile] fanfic100, set after the move-in but before the wedding. Angst with a little h/c. Here's to 99 more...

My prompt table - to the prompt table...

Third Circle of the Rain

It's seven steps from their bedroom to their door, two and a half to cross the hallway and one and a bit more to Joey.

Waiting for him behind the counter because Joey does things like this.

And though Chandler hasn't quite figured out the specifics yet, in some part of the back or maybe the middle of his mind, a part that is all at once so unbearably happy and yet too unbearably sad, he knows that Joey will always be waiting for him.

That Joey will grin at him in that way that makes his mouth dry and his fingers do a nicotine twitch.

That he will stare at Chandler as Chandler looks down at their hands resting in front of each other on the cooled tiles of the counter top before covering Chandler's hand with his larger one and running the pad of his thumb over the skin stretched over the bone protruding from Chandler's wrist.

And Chandler will look up at him, watch him watching.

It seems like he's always been watching.

And Joey will lead him to his bed, to the biggest heart Chandler's ever known.

Joey who Chandler knows would never, not even just the once, ever think less of him for needing this.

Who won't laugh on the outside or the inside but will only breathe slightly faster and heavier as Chandler less-than-whispers, more-than-begs "Please..." as Joey pushes them both down to the matress and presses the entire length of himself to Chandler, running his palm heavily and too roughly down Chandler's side and across his belly.

Chandler thinks of Joey reaching over and finishing off the danish he'd had been eating at the coffee shop this morning. He thinks of the smell of Monica's shampoo and the slightly sticky feel of her lip gloss.

Monica, who has never once failed to smile brightly and kiss him smartly on the cheek after they finish, "That was great honey, I love you."
He makes her pancakes in the morning, takes her out for Chinese for lunch, fixes her a salad for dinner. "That was great honey, I love you."

He makes love to her in the darkness of their bedroom, on and under the sheets she'll change as soon as they're done.

"That was great honey, I love you."

He wants Joey to say so many things to him.

He wants Joey to say everything, he wants Joey to say nothing at all.

And he's so far beyond close now, hands gripping the sheets which haven't been changed since maybe before him and Monica and a bead of sweat rolling down
the side of his forehead.

Joey laps warm and wet at it like the dog Chandler used to pretend he had, slides his own slightly sweaty cheek across Chandler's to whisper "S'ok..." into his ear before Chandler comes too quietly and too soon between their bodies.

He always means to say something to Joey afterwards.

They're sticky and they're damp and almost feverishly warm and Chandler never opens his mouth to even pretend he might have said something.



Joey pulls the comforter over the both of them and rubs his nose against Chandler's temple before immediately launching into a full stereo quality concerto of decidedly Oscar worthy snores.

And Chandler knows he'll have to get up in a few minutes, sleepwalk across the hall and sleep-shower with Monica's soap and his shampoo.. But for now the hall is an ocean away and Joey's hair is tickling his cheek.

He's been thinking about telling Monica about the house he'd thought they'd live in. With a room above the garage for Joey.

He closes the front door softly behind him and leans back against it, contemplates the distance across the hallway, across the ocean.

He thinks maybe he'll use the journey back to figure out how many steps it'll be to that room above their garage.

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