A/N: So yes, here it is, my very first post series Mondler AU. I've had it in my head for quite some time now, almost since I've started writing Mondler fanfic, and I just hope I haven't worked it to death somehow in all that time. This also is why I had to get it out before it started to fade and die on me. Yet now that it's finally written down it does appear rather shaky, and the beginning seems a bit overdrawn too. Also I didn't research this idea Chandler has in any way, just out of fear to find something that made it impossible right away, which would be bad – or other stories with the same idea which would be worse.
For all those that expect some smut because of the M rating, please bear with me a little longer until the third chapter. There will be a lot of it there. That's a promise.
Chandler Bing had an idea.
As to be expected, it was quite crazy, a joke of an idea really, completely unrealistic, totally unfounded in fact, merely a soap-bubble that would burst eventually, and leave him – well, disappointed at least. Maybe even heartbroken. But there it was, he'd had that idea, the idea that he could get Monica pregnant right now, and he simply couldn't let go of it. It was idiotic and embarrassing how he kept thinking about it, and made him feel more of a fool the longer he kept persisting in it – but it was no use. He could not get rid of the idea anymore. Even after ten days, ten days in which he hadn't been able to stop thinking about it no matter how hard he tried to distract himself. His mind kept coming back to it, as if it was a sore spot in his mouth he couldn't stop tonguing, or something caught in his teeth he couldn't dislodge. It was no use telling himself that worrying about it wouldn't achieve anything, that he should just do it, give it a shot, and if it didn't work, just forget about it. But somehow that just wasn't possible.
He had considered telling someone about it. Not Monica of course - if it didn't work the disappointment would be much harder to bear for her than for him - but a friend or a work colleague. Or even a stranger, in a bar or somewhere, or maybe a doctor or other professional. That should have been his first choice really, but somehow he couldn't bear the thought of his idea getting out into the open, being discussed and weighed and then – in all probability – dismissed. As improbable, foolish and totally unlikely to succeed. No, not that. Also he was quite sure that telling someone would not help him. Quite the contrary.
As a feeble effort to validate the idea at least a little he had tried to research it in the internet, but the results were, as always, vague at best, and he had given up rather soon. It might work. Or it might not. He could really only try and see.
But since talking or researching was out, he had to do something else to clear his brain, if only to avoid getting all worked up about it and prevent his head from exploding. So he remained at his desk during his lunch break, with a pad before him, and made up a list. A list of the consequences he would have to face in the extremely unlikely case he would succeed.
Or tried to make a list. He had gotten as far as the headers for the two columns: Pro and Con. And underlining them, and then dividing the two columns further by a firm line down the middle of the paper.
He did have a laptop sitting on his desk right before him, and a tablet too on which he could have drawn up his list just as easily – and more efficiently, but as soon as he considered typing the list on one of those devices he remembered the last time he had drawn up a list like this – a list of pro and cons – on a computer, and the disaster that had ensued when it had printed just as Rachel had come into the room and got to read it. The list of pros and cons for Ross to help him chose between her and Julie. The memory still stung, especially since it had been his idea. It had taken three months for Rachel to get over that list and forgive Ross (and him too). No, with this subject too it was much better to write it down by hand. With a pencil. On paper that could be torn up. Or burnt. Even eaten if necessary. Or even all three, just to ensure that Monica never ever saw that list. If she ever did - it didn't bear thinking.
Chandler stared at the two still empty columns and groaned. He wasn't even sure that making a list like that would really help, especially since he was quite determined to try it anyhow. But he had to do something to get his thoughts in line. It was driving him crazy.
Finally he put the pencil to the paper and started to fill in the 'Con' column. Just like that first time – could it really be 18 years ago? 18 YEARS? Where did the time go? – when they tried to come up with reasons against a relationship with Rachel.
Hesitatingly he wrote 'Money'. And stopped again, scowling. Then he added a question mark. Actually their financial situation was quite sound. The mortgages on their house would still have to be paid off for another 10 years at least, but although Monica had quit her full time job once the twins were born and now only worked in a consultant capacity for her boss at Javu's, still it brought in enough, together with his own salary, to let them live quite comfortably. Even with two children who seemed determined to eat the very hair off their parents' heads. Any given day. A third child would not really make much of a difference.
No, money was not a good reason. Even considering the cost to get all three of them through college. If they actually all went to college. But they could cross that bridge when they came to it.
Chandler sighed, scowled again and then wrote 'Jack & Erica – feelings'. And stopped again, tapping the pencil against his teeth.
What would the two of them think about a new baby? Would they feel threatened? Insecure? Jealous actually? They were nine now. Dear god, nine years, and he still remembered them as newborn babies that Monica and he had held in their arms – no need to fight, or trade places, because there had been two, one for each of them, thus quite unexpectedly doubling their happiness all at once just when they thought they were already as happy as they could ever be.
Would they really be jealous? He wasn't sure, but thought rather not. On the whole they were quite sensible kids. Not quite a year ago Monica and he had had to tell them that they were adopted. Monica hadn't wanted to tell them so early – he suspected that given the choice she would have opted for never telling them ever – but when the two of them found the photo album from spring 2004 with the photos of Erica's visit in New York in them, the photo album that Monica had thought she'd hidden so well, the questions could not be dodged any longer and the truth came out. It had taken a lot of explaining and reassuring, a crazy amount of tears and anxieties, and an unbelievable lot of cuddling and spoiling, but in the end they had accepted it. And later quite forgotten about it. At least he thought so.
Would a baby change that, jeopardize that hard won equilibrium again? He didn't think so, but how could anyone ever be sure about something like this? The twins had always been unpredictable, from the very day they were born when it turned out that instead of one baby they would get two. He still remembered that shock after the doctor's casual announcement after Jack's birth that it was now his sister's turn. And his panic tantrum and Monica's matter of fact determination that left him feeling quite embarrassed for even daring to voice his concerns.
So, a question mark there too. Two cons and now there was no way around the one he had managed to avoid so far. The hardest one, the one that really could be a deal breaker. Sighing he wrote it on the pad: Health.
Monica's health. And not just physical. Actually, her physical health wasn't really an issue. She was 43 now, well into the dodgy area where pregnancies were concerned, but she was also very fit and still as strong as a horse, much better prepared for a pregnancy than a lot of other women he knew. Even now when she was still recovering from that food poisoning she had contracted last month and that had hospitalized her for two weeks with heavy antibiotics. She was at home again now, still plagued by infrequent attacks of fever, but well on her way to recovery, and her doctor was sure there would be no lasting effects.
But what of her mental, her emotional health? How would she fare if it did work, but something went wrong later? If she had a miscarriage? What if there were birth defects? Would she be able stand this, face it, deal with it? Would it break her heart, make her more miserable than before? Wouldn't it be better to spare her all that?
Alright, so he now had three cons. Try as he might he couldn't think of any more. Time to turn to the pros.
As he stared at the still empty column Chandler remembered the infamous pro and con Rachel list again. How the only thing Ross had been able to find that spoke against Julie was the simple fact that she wasn't Rachel.
Yes, it was as simple as this. It was a baby. And he knew that was the only thing that counted. A baby of their own.
She never mentioned it, never showed it openly, but Chandler knew that Monica still wanted a baby. Even after all this time the need had not diminished in any way. If anything it had grown stronger. She still wanted to have a baby just as much as when they had first started trying. He could see it in the way she looked at babies whenever they encountered them, how her expression changed, her whole demeanor, even her body language. It hadn't been quite so obvious when the twins were still small. Until about the time they got old enough for school, Monica had seemed radiantly happy with them. But the older they got, the more she seemed haunted by her old desperate need for babies, or even one baby, just one tiny small baby of her own.
There had been a lot of incidents over the years that clearly demonstrated to him how desperate her craving still was, even if he hadn't already been aware of it. The one that stood out most, that he remembered most clearly was the day one of his colleagues at work told him he and his wife were expecting twins and had asked him if they could spare some of Jack and Erica's baby things. Monica had kept them of course, every little item, all cleaned and carefully and securely packed away in neatly labeled boxes in the attic. It shouldn't have been a problem really, but of course it was, and he really should have known better than to ask her. He had realized that later of course and vowed never to let anything like that happen again. But there they had been, crawling through the attic opening all what seemed like hundreds of boxes and cartons and suitcases, and looking at all the accumulated stuff, and it hadn't taken even ten minutes for Monica to get close to a nervous breakdown. At first he had been too busy to inventory it all – and marveling at how crazy much of it had accumulated – to pay her much attention, until he had handed her a carton with toys and finally noticed that she had started to cry and furtively tried to hide the tears from him. When the realization hit him, he wanted to kick himself. Instead he had quickly (but also carefully) put everything back into the boxes, shut them up and got Monica out of the attic again as fast as he could. Once he got her back in their kitchen for coffee and cookies she had calmed down again, to his intense relief. And just nodded when he suggested to offer his colleague just the twin carriage, and tell him that everything else had been given away long since. Giving the carriage away was alright, if only just. It sounded crazy, but she didn't seem to care that much for it. Apparently she wanted one baby, not two. Or had settled in her mind for one baby. Or maybe a carriage just did not hold quite the sentimental value for her as, say, a whole suitcase filled to the brim with tiny onesies.
So he really had no choice. If there was a chance – a teeny tiny little chance, a chance in a million, like a win in the lottery, even if it was only pure wishful thinking on his part – he had to take it. And to hell with all the pros and cons. They didn't matter. There was no doubt, no question about it. All that mattered was Monica – and that maybe, with a lot of luck, she maybe, probably, possibly, could get pregnant right now.
And because he had realized that there was that chance, that as strange and unrealistic it seemed that right now - and only now - there just might be a way around the double barrier that had prevented them from having children of their own, he had to do it. There was no way he could hold back, or even hesitate. Even against all the staggering odds, plus all the cons he had listed, he simply had to go through with it. Or live the rest of his life asking himself if it could have worked had he only tried. He had to make the effort – and face living with the disappointment and heartbreak when it should turn out that it hadn't worked, even though he had known from the start that the chance to succeed was almost negligible.
He realized now that another reason he wanted to keep it to himself was a kind of possessiveness. It was his idea, his theory, his own project that he had put together himself, a scheme that had suddenly come together in his mind on a long and boring afternoon he had spent in the hospital sitting at Monica's bedside and watching TV while she slept. While he had flipped through the channels that all seemed to show soap reruns and dreary reality TV shows, he had come across a rerun of L. A. Law and remained with it until the ending. And suddenly something in his head had clicked.
Yes, that was it, the rather brittle foundation his theory was based on. The one thing he had going for it. The episode of 'L.A. Law' where Ann Kelsey finally got pregnant that had got him to remember a story that his assistant in Tulsa had once told him, more than 10 years ago.