Damsel

Author's note: sorry it's been so long. I haven't forgotten this, even if you guys have probably forgotten this series.

Spoilers for The Princess Bride, and Die Hard, and The Terminator. Because Chandler's subconscious is an interesting place.

TOW the Morning After

Monica and Phoebe: Ow! Ow-ow-ow-ow!
(Hearing the screaming Chandler and Joey rush in. Joey has a pan, Chandler has a tea kettle.)
Phoebe: We're all right.
Monica: It's okay, it's okay.
Phoebe: We're all right.
Monica: We were just waxing our legs.
Chandler: Off?

Chandler has an active imagination. He always has – he figures it's the last refuge of the only child. (He prefers that explanation to the disturbing concept that he gets his imagination from his mother, the writer. The idea of inheriting anything from either parent freaks Chandler right the hell out.)

And in that active imagination, he occasionally thinks about what it might be like to be someone's (Monica's) hero.

He makes fun of the girls' love for chick flicks, but there is one thing those movies share with the action movies he and Joey love: there's always a hero, and they always save the day and they usually get the girl, too. In Die Hard Bruce Willis saves the world, and his ex-wife, and everyone else, even if they didn't know they needed to be saved. And in The Princess Bride, Westley saves Buttercup even when he's mostly dead. (Princess Bride is not a chick flick, no matter what Joey says: it has sword fights. And Andre the Giant! Andre the Giant could not be in a chick flick, Chandler is pretty sure there's a law.)

Because that's what heroes do: they save the girl, and then they get the girl. Usually with banter as well as derring-do.

Even Ross saved Rachel – or he tried to, anyway. And action movie and chick flick logic prevailed: he got Rachel when Rachel found that out. Until he blew it by sleeping with Chloe, the most boring hot girl in the world, that is.

So Chandler thinks, sometimes, of what it might be like to save Monica. He's not very brave, and her life seems to be pretty danger-free (except for the parade of jerks she dates, most of whom are bigger than he is and less sarcastic than he is or taller or older or well, you know, just not him, and aren't exactly dangerous to anything except Monica's self esteem). But he wonders sometimes, if he beat up Richard for her, maybe she'd fall into his arms, or at least see him in a new light: as an actual man, and not her pal with stupendously bad luck with women.

When he and Joey heard her screaming, he ran in without even thinking, teakettle in hand, ready to slay whatever dragon needed slaying. It wasn't exactly a sword, or as obviously heroic as John McClain tossing off a "Yippy-ki-yi-yay" and blowing away a few mercenaries, but Chandler knows he'd do anything for her.

Of course, with the spectacular flameout of Ross and Rachel currently playing out on the other side of the door, he's not even sure what he'd do if Monica woke up and saw him as a possible romantic prospect. After all, Chandler can't even sustain a relationship with a drycleaner. So the odds are he'd screw it up in record time, if he somehow managed to change the way Monica looks at him. And then what? She'd be gone. Hasta la vista, baby (ok, so, the Terminator never got the girl. But he was a cyborg, so he didn't want the girl.)

And the truth is that the idea of having no Monica in his life at all is far, far scarier than watching her date other guys.

Lying purveyors of leg wax didn't need to be slain, exactly, but during that long, long night he did offer to print out the letter she drafted telling the Waxene guys off.

Luckily (or sadly, depending on his mood) owning a computer and a printer really didn't qualify as a heroic act.