Finally, a new chapter. Not very long, but still, new! I'm gonna really get into the deep stuff in the next chap; trying to keep it almost peaceful for this one before things hit the fan, hehe. Once again, I'm completely flabbergasted with the amount of reviews I've received. Thank you so much guys, you're fanbloodytastic! So please read and review, and I'll try to update soon! I love you guys! Whee!
I do not own friends/actors/characters, but...you know the rest.
Rachel really didn't understand.
She knew that the others had never expected her to, but she had. Her daddy was a doctor, for God sakes. She had grown up hearing about the ins and outs of medicine, some things she had rather not be told, others she had vehemently demanded to hear more about.
But when Dr Stephens had started talking shop to Chandler about this, she hadn't understood.
It wasn't like she was upset that she didn't get something – dumb old Rachel doesn't understand – it was just…
If she understood the disease, she thought maybe she would understand why this had happened to Chandler, She thought, maybe…
I don't know.
Rachel pushed her hair behind her ears, knowing she needed it cut but really, was that something to worry about?
If I understood why…maybe I could help…maybe I could fix things. No…I've always clung to false hopes.
"What makes this any different?" she murmured.
"Did you say something?"
Rachel glanced at Ross in surprise, having forgotten he was in the room. And then there was that debacle.
"No, I was just…talking to myself."
Damn him for being so…Ross!
In the two days since Dr Stephens had announced the leukemia, Ross had been nothing if not supportive and sweet.
It almost made her forget about the copier girl.
Rachel rubbed at her forehead, begging her frown lines away as she watched Ross. He was doing work and she wondered just how much concentration he was putting into that. There might be some pissed off co-workers banging down his door soon enough.
"They should be here by now," she said suddenly, surprising herself. Ross glanced up. "I mean, the hospital isn't that far away!"
"We live in New York," Ross said after a bat, as if that was an acceptable answer.
"Well, generally in New York, the traffic can do this thing where it goes really slow, some times even coming to a stop!"
"If I had wanted sarcasm, I would have asked Letterman."
"I never really found him to be all that sarcastic," Ross said after a moments thought. Rachel stared blankly at him.
"Really? Not even when-"
"We're home!" Monica announced as she burst through the door, holding it open for Joey and Chandler. Rachel jumped to her feet, plastering a huge smile on her face.
"Hey Chandler, how're you feeling?"
"Like a monkey's playing me," he said as he walked to the couch, voice still croaky. His answer stopped everyone in their tracks and Chandler merely waved his hand in their direction. "It's a whole accordion thing."
"Okay then. Where's Pheebs?" Ross questioned as he watched Chandler lay down on the couch.
"She had to take the cab back. Her Grandma needed it," Monica answered as she covered Chandler with a blanket, then felt his forehead. Rachel felt on the verge of rolling her eyes and she noticed Joey was already doing so.
Monica was in ultra mothering mode, to the point where Rachel was sure that if Chandler wasn't so tired, he would have slaughtered her.
But Chandler was so tired, almost asleep already, and Rachel knew his slaughtering days were a while away.
That thought made her tear up.
You are not going to cry again, Rach.
Blinking away the tears, Rachel quickly stepped over to the kitchen, where Monica had ventured to with unsurprising speed. Sometimes, she swore Mon had super powers.
"What did Dr Stephens say?" Ross asked as soon as he got within whispering distance. Rachel knew he needed to know all the details, and fast. That was just Ross.
"The results of the lumbar puncture came back negative, thank god."
Rachel and Ross breathed a sigh of relief, although Rachel wished they hadn't had to do the test in the first place. She hadn't been witness to it but Chandler hadn't many kind words to say after.
"So it hasn't manifested into his nervous system?" Ross questioned softly and Monica shook her head.
"Apparently, that's fantastic news. We really did catch it early. She said Chandler has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia."
"W-What does that mean?" Rachel knew the word acute didn't mean anything good, and was amazed that Monica had been able to memorize the name.
"Well, it's not good…of course it's not good, it's cancer." Monica shook her head, cleared her throat and continued. "But the earlier it's detected, the more effective the treatment."
Rachel wanted to beat Ross for even asking that question, but she found her eyes focussed on a nervous Monica, awaiting the answer.
"But it's gonna get treated. Chandler starts chemotherapy tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?" Ross looked horrified and Rachel's hand managed to find his arm. She wasn't sure if he noticed. She barely noticed.
"The sooner he gets started…" Monica didn't bother finishing the sentence. Rachel bit her lip, glancing from Monica to Ross, then behind her. Joey was sitting across from Chandler, simply staring at his sleeping friend, face unreadable. Rachel felt her hand drop from Ross and she walked over to the couch, still looking at Joey.
God, what he must be going through…what Ross must be going through…what Chandler must be going through.
Rachel's eyes flickered from Joey to Chandler, who had a peaceful look on his face. She suddenly realized why Joey was staring. That look was present only when he was asleep.
Maybe not even then. It might disappear soon, replaced with a look of pain.
What with all the chemo…
Rachel found her eyes sweeping Chandler's body, felt a hand appear on her shoulder.
She didn't shrug it away, instead continued to stare and found that the only thought she could focus on was insignificant.
"He's going to lose his hair," she whispered, feeling stupid for speaking her insignificant thought, and perhaps even a little insane. But the hand on her shoulder tightened and Joey nodded.
"Yeah," he said sadly and suddenly, Rachel didn't feel nearly as insane.