A/N: I decided to try something differnt, (since most all of my other fics are PhoebexJoey) and give ChandlerxPhoebe a try. I know that it's a bit early for winter-themed holidays, but, in my neck of the woods (Canada, which is also the home-country of Matthew Perry;) ) Thanksgiving has already come and gone, and Christmas is just around the corner. I'd like to dedicate this fic to my good friend, findmyway, who's ChanxPhoebe fics have been a huge inspiration for this story! Hope she and whoever else reads this like it, and don't forget to leave a review! :) So this fic takes place mid-November, in one of the early seasons.
Chandler glanced up at the clock above his cubicle, and sighs. He still had two hours of his shift to go. He felt like bashing his head against his desk, but most of his co-workers already found him strange and obnoxious enough as it was. He stared at the spreadsheet document in front of him, until the numbers and words lost all meaning, and he became lost in his thoughts.
Later this evening, he had plans to go to some play, with a boring-sounding name that Joey was staring in, with the rest of the gang. Only problem was, everybody else was bringing a date, except for him. Monica was bringing Richard along, and Ross and Rachel were obviously going together. Normally, he wouldn't feel so bad being the odd man out, if he weren't the only one. But even Phoebe had let him down, by announcing that she was going on a blind date tonight, at some French restaurant and then, because Joey made her promise she'd be there, date or none, coming with her date to the play. None the less, nothing about the evening that lie ahead of him sounded overly appealing, after a long day of work.
"Alright, Bing..." Chandler muttered to himself. "2 more hours of mind-numbing desk work, and then you get to pretend to enjoy low-budget theater, while being sad, pathetic, and alone." He paused, taking a sip of coffee, which was no longer warm, from the mug on his desk. "Lucky you..."
He cracked his knuckles, and with his fingers poised above the keyboard, ready to get back to whatever he was doing, he noticed an odd flicker of light above him. He glanced up at the dim, florescent bulb.
"I told that damn maintenance man to fix this damn light, three DAMN days ago!" he uttered, loud enough to turn a few curious heads of his co-workers. To which he awkwardly smiled.
"Hi..how are you? I'm not a disturbed man. Not at all. I love my job." he assured them, and turned his attention back to the document on his screen, just as it suddenly disappeared, like being sucked into a small black vortex . At the same time, the room simultaneously turned black. Chandler heard the confused murmurs of his co-workers in his neighboring cubicles, discussing the unexpected interruption of what would otherwise be another dull work day.
A part of him was relieved for the sudden interruption, which meant he no longer had to work. Until he also realized that this meant he'd lost an entire day's work, which would have to be made up. He waited a few minutes in the dark, waiting for some kind of explanation. There was a blizzard warning when he left for work this morning. Perhaps that was what knocked the power out. A moment later, he saw the glow of a flashlight, approach the room. Behind it, the voice of his department's supervisor.
"Alright everyone, stay calm. No need to panic, but we've just checked the fuse box, and yes, the power is out. The phone lines are down as well."
An uproar amongst disgruntled office workers began as they all started talking at once.
"Does this mean we get to leave?" Chandler called out, above their voices, asking the question everyone seemed to be thinking.
"I wouldn't advise it. The weather out there is pretty horrid. And most of the roads are blocked off right now for plowing. Unless it's an emergency, I would suggest staying until they can get the roads opened up."
Chandler contemplated his options for a second or two. 'Risk dying out there, in a horrible car accident...or die here, slowly, surrounded by people I loathe, in a building that smells like mildew, and over-bearing perfumes...'
In an instant, he made a bee-line for the exit, bumping into bodies, and muttering apologies. "Sorry...'scuse me. Emergency play to attend. Must leave now! See y'all on Monday!"
Chandler managed to make it about half-way home. His car skidding dangerously on the icy terrain, and the storm, making it it hard to see. The thick flakes were falling faster than his windshield wipers could move. He soon realized that his supervisor wasn't at all exaggerating when he told him that the roads were blocked, as he found that the route he normally took to work, was blocked off with signs, and flashing lights. He begrudgingly drove around to the next few streets, finding them too, blocked off and let out an exasperated groan. He allowed his forehead to hit the steering wheel.
"God, Why...WHY did I think this was a good idea?" He asked himself. With a sigh, he continued, slowly down an unblocked street, which he didn't even recognize. He noticed the name of a restaurant he'd never been to, yet it sounded familiar. Wasn't this the restaurant Phoebe was going to this evening? If it was, he couldn't be far from his street. She had walked there from Central Perk, after all. His apartment building must be just around the corner. Yet, unsurprisingly, the end of the street was blocked. Since it was apparent that, too his annoyance, he wouldn't be able to park on his own street. He decided to pull into the parking lot of the restaurant, and walk the rest of the way. The last thing he needed was for his car to be flattened by a snow plow truck. Besides, it couldn't be more than a 10 minute walk.
However, as soon as he got out of his vehicle, he regretted his decision. The wind whipped at his back, covering him in slush-like snow, as he walked. It wasn't long before his fingers and his ears became numb. Despite the storm warning, he hadn't even thought about putting on a thicker jacket before he left the house.
"Why...WHY did I think this was a good idea!?" He repeated, more irritably. Now, his biggest concern was getting home before he froze to death. That was of course, until he glanced up and saw something moving slowly in front of him, which resembled a yeti. No, it wasn't a yeti. It was a crazy homeless woman, covered in snow, and babbling to herself as she shuffled her way down the sidewalk. 'Poor lady...' he thought. 'I hope she has some place warm to go.' And as he came closer to the woman, he realized that she looked familiar, from behind. In fact, this wasn't a homeless woman, at all. And she wasn't babbling to herself so much as she was shivering, and chattering her teeth. He reached out, and put his hand on her shoulder.
The blonde slowly turned to face him. To his horror, he saw that he clothes were covered in snow, from head to toe. Her hair lay in stiff strands beneath the wool cap she was wearing. Even her eyelashes were crystallized with white. Her lips were turning blue.
"Oh, my God, Phoebe!" he exclaimed, with growing concern. "What happened? And what the hell are you doing out here?"
It took her several seconds, for her to answer, as her teeth were chattering so rapidly.
"D...d-d-d-date...didn't...sh-sh-show up. R-r-r-rest-t-t-taraunt...c-c-c-closed. P-p-plow truck...drove past...and...and..." she slowly lifted her arm, in an attempt at what Chandler assumed was a wave motion.
"Dear God, how long have you been out here?" he asked her, finding himself shouting over the violent wind that whipped at them both. He couldn't imagine how cold she must be. Much like himself, she wasn't dressed for the weather, save for her hat, and a thin pair of gloves. He knew she couldn't be out here much longer.
"Come on. Let's go to my place, it's close by! I'll...I'll carry you!" he suggested, thinking it would be better than her walking any further. He placed one arm behind her back to support, and made an attempt to lift her legs, which remained stiff, as though they were frozen solid. It only took him two steps to realize this plan wasn't going to work.
"Nope...nope..." he grunted, as he lowered her to the ground. "Sorry, Pheebs. It's not that you're a particularly heavy woman. It's just that...well, I'm not a particularly strong man. You see these so-called muscles, consist mainly of butter, and nothingness. Where's Monica when you need her, huh?"
Chandler sighed. He had to think of something else, and fast. He pulled his friend aside, underneath the canvas-shelter of a grocery store, to get her out of the snow. He removed his jacket, and placed it over her shoulders, despite the sharp bite he felt of bitter coldness against his cotton work shirt. She needed it more than he did, right now. He decided to act on the only other idea he had.
"Pheebs? Wait here, ok? Please...just, don't freeze to death. I'll be right back!"
As fast as his freezing legs could carry him, he ran back towards the restaurant where he left his car, and got in. He started it up and backed out of the lot, driving up to where he left Phoebe. Jumping out of the car, he runs around and helps lower her into the passenger side. His plan was for them to seek shelter in his vehicle, at least, but it occurred to him, that this was a bigger emergency than that. For all he knew, she could already have hypothermia.
He presses the throttle and slows down near the end of the blocked off road. Twisting around in his seat, he looks out the back window as he puts his car in reverse. "Don't worry. I know what I'm doing. And by that, I mean, I've seen this done in movies, and have a vague idea of what I'm doing. You might wanna hold onto something, Pheebs."
With that, he gunned the throttle. His tires skid against the icy street before his car took off, full speed towards the blockage of signs, and pylons, sending them flying in all directions. Possibly damaging his car, but that didn't matter to him.
Finally, he pulled up in front of his building, running around to Phoebe's side of the car to help her out, and inside. He managed to slowly and steadily, get her up the staircase, and unlock his door. He guided her inside, and sat her down in his Barcalounger. He then grabbed the thick quilt from off of his bed and wrapped it around her. She was still shivering, and dripping with melting snow, but even in the darkness of his unlit apartment, he could see the colour beginning to return to her face. That had to be a good sign.
In one of the cabinet drawers, Chandler found the few candles he and Joey owned, as replacements for the menorah that was used the last time the power went out, as well as some matches, and flashlight. He lit them, one by one, and placed them in the menorah.
"Just hang tight, Pheebs. We'll get you warm in no time." He told her, giving her sides a vigorous rub beneath the blanket. He went into the bathroom, praying to god that the black-out hadn't effected their water tank, as well. He turned the faucet, and was relieved, as he put his hand underneath and found the water to be hot. He allowed it to begin to fill the bathtub, and returned to the living room to his friend.
"Alright..." he said, as he grasped her by the hands and pulled her to her feet. "Time to get out of those clothes." He paused, rethinking his last sentence. "I realize that that's the first thing a rapist would say in the whole, guy-grabs-girl-off-the-street-and-forcibly-takes-her-to-his-home-scenerio...but, I assure you, that's not what I had in mind!"
With her jaw still chattering, slightly Phoebe forced a smile. "Thanks, Chandler...I think I can handle the clothes thing myself, if you don't mind though."
"Oh. Of course you can. You're over the age of three, after all." Chandler muttered, feeling somewhat embarrassed for not thinking before he spoke. "I just thought that...maybe you were too cold to...here. Take this." He thrust the flashlight into her hand. "Clean towels are in the closet. And, uh...our dryer is probably not working right now, but I'll try to find you something dry to wear, ok?"
"K." Phoebe replied. "Thanks again, Chandler. You really are a life-saver."
Chandler smiled, modestly. "Well, I'm sure you'd do the same for me. I mean, as much as I know you like snowmen, I can't see you actually leaving me outside to turn into one."
While she was in the bathroom, Chandler rummaged through his drawers, as best he could in the dark. He'd never realized how similar all of his clothes were, until now: Work shirts. Sweater vests. Khakis. It was basically all he owned. He decided to check out Joey's room, to see if he could find something more suitable for Phoebe to wear. He settled on a t-shirt he found, along with an old pair of his own shorts, and returned to the bathroom door. He hesitantly rapped against it, not used to having a woman in his bathroom, unless she was one of Joey's one-night stands.
"Pheebs, I've got some clothes for you. Do you want me to just put them outside the door?"
He waited. A few seconds passed, and there was no answer. He began to worry. Even more so when he recalled something he had seen on tv about hypothermia, and how it effected a person's internal organs. Chandler was no doctor, but could it be possible for a person to warm up so fast that it would stop their heart? He began pounding on the door.
"Pheebs!?" His heart rate increased when he heard nothing. 'Oh my God. I've killed her..'
"Pheebs!...I'm coming in!" He found the door unlocked, to his relief, and rushed into the room. He didn't make it very far before he heard the startled gasp of his friend, as she makes a quick move to cover herself with her arms.
"Hey!" Phoebe shrieked, as Chandler promptly threw his hand over his eyes. He turned around and left the room, faster than he'd gone in.
"Gaahh! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I thought you were...having a heart attack!"
"No!" Phoebe said. "Who has a heart attack in the bathtub!?"
He uncovered his eyes to see that she'd gotten out of said bathtub and wrapped a towel around herself.
"Lot's of people do, you'd be surprised! And why didn't you answer me in the first place?"
"I was holding my head under water! I didn't hear you!" she snapped.
"You were...what?" He asked, slightly confused.
"Yeah, I do it all the time! I was trying to remember my past life, where I drowned in a river in Egypt trying to escape Pharoh's wrath!"
"I see..." Chandler mused, feeling embarrassed, despite her ridiculous explanation. It obviously made perfect sense to Phoebe. "Well maybe you could do that when you're...not naked. And in your own house! So you don't scare the living crap out of people!"
Phoebe gave him an irritated glare. "Oh, yeah? Well...maybe YOU could not walk in on your friends when they're naked! What, seeing Rachel naked wasn't enough for you? You needed more flesh to feast your eyes on!?"
"Hey, that was an honest mistake, ok!?" He defensively insisted. "Look...I didn't really see anything! It's dark in there, and I'm not some kind of pervert who just...purposely walks in on naked women in his house for his own sick gratification! Not that...it wasn't kind of gratifying. I mean you're obviously a very attractive woman, from what I DID see..." he shook his head to stop his mouth from running before he could process what he was saying.
"I need to stop talking, now. Here, look! I found you some clothes! Why not put them on, so we can stop all this non-sense!" He thrust the clothes in his hands at her.
"Believe it or not, these are the most feminine things I could find..but they're nice and dry, that's all that matters."
Carefully holding her towel in place, Phoebe unfolded the shirt and held it close to her to read the printing on the front.
"F.B.I. Female Body Instructor..." she read, and looked up at Chandler, with a puzzled expression.
"That would be Joey's shirt. I'm sure he won't mind you borrowing it. And uh..those shorts, use to be mine, back in high school. They don't even fit anymore, so..."
She held up the denim cut-off shorts, looking quite amused. "Oh, wow...Daisy Dukes! I haven't seen those in forever!"
"Hey, they're not...they were very in-style back then, ok!?" Chandler shouted.
"Uh-huh. Sure..." Phoebe said. "Alright, I'm going to go put them on. And I'm locking the door." she adds.
"Fair enough..." Chandler told her. He returned to his living room, to wait, in silence. He wished the TV was working, or something. This was going to be an awkward night, to say the least. Especially after what just happened.
An unexpected sound made him jump, suddenly. It sounded like a phone, but he knew the phone lines were down. That was when he remembered that he owned a cell-phone. He pulled it from his jacket pocket, wondering who it could be..
A/N: More to come soon! Thanks for reading! :)