The One Where Ross is G - O - N - E

by Starway Man


Date written:  Sun 17 Jan 1999 

Disclaimer:  All the characters belong to David Crane, Marta Kaufmann and Kevin Bright, no infringement of copyright is intended, blah blah. No profit will be earned as a result of this work (although I wish it did!).

Warnings: Second attempt at FRIENDS fan fiction, hope there will be no hate mail due to any unintended mistakes

Summary:  Ross ends up in hospital after a fight with Rachel, and is later reported to Chandler as accidentally deceased. In addition, Monica
has something hard to deal with in her life, and finds it impossible to get Chandlerís attention to tell him.


Chandler Bing was sitting on the couch in the Central Perk coffee shop, reading a newspaper, when his friends Ross Geller and Joey Tribbianni
came in and sat down next to him.

"Hey dude, how you doiní?" said Joey in his broad Italian accent.

"Oh, just fine!" said Chandler, very sarcastically.

"Uh-oh, I recognise that voice," said Joey. "Either heís got problems, or heís been invited as a guest performer on `Viva Las GayGasí!"

"Joey!" said Ross. He turned to face Chandler and said, "Hey buddy, whatís wrong?"

Chandler looked depressed. "A lot of things. Like, I think your sisterís not speaking to me, 'cause sheís mad about something -"

Joey interrupted him, "How come? Whatíd you do this time?"

Chandler glared at him. "This time!?" he said.

Joey shrugged. "Hey, hey, I just assumed. Anyway, if Monicaís mad at you, doesnít matter - you should apologise even if you didnít do anythiní."
Ross stared at him. "Hey, I should know, I read it on one of Chandlerís web sites!"

Ross looked at him strangely. "Is this the same place where you learned geometry is a false theory?"

Chandler glared at both of them now. "Hey, yo, Tom Sawyer? Huck Finn? We were discussing MY problems here?!"

Joey and Ross shrugged. "Yeah, sure, man...", "Go ahead..."

Chandlerís temper subsided. "And apart from that, Rachel is going to want to beat the hell out of me!"

Joey looked puzzled. "What for?"

Chandler gestured discreetly towards the main counter. "Look over there," he said. Their friend Rachel Green and a tall, dark-haired man were
sitting, chatting and laughing on a pair of stools.

Ross looked confused. "Whatís the problem? She looks happy."

Chandler now looked frustrated. "Sheís over there with Eric from work. I mean, I introduced them to each other, sort of set them up! Rachel
asked him to meet her here!"

Joey asked, "So?"

Chandler said agitatedly, "I didnít know he was gay at the time!!"

Joey and Ross both recoiled. They both said at the same time, "Oh boy!"

                                                              ***

Phoebe Bouffay was just finishing the latest rendition of her song `Smelly Catí on-stage at the Central Perk, when Rachel and Eric made their
way to the door and said their good-byes. "Thank you everyone!" she said, as she got up. She then looked as Rachel stood outside the coffee shop
with a happy smile on her face, and watched him go.

Phoebe grabbed her guitar and got off the stage, joining her three friends Joey, Ross and Chandler. "Hey you guys!" she said excitedly. "I think
Rachel is really smitten with her date!"

Chandler groaned. "No, please..."

Phoebe looked confused. "Whatís wrong? They look so cute together!"

Joey agreed with a grin on his face. "Yeah, Chandler, way to go!"

Chandler glared at him. "Iím warning you, Joe -"

Ross cut him off. "Hey, knock it off. We have to decide, whoís going to tell her?"

Phoebe asked, "Tell her what?"

Joey tried to explain. "Pheebs, this canít work out 'cause Ė 'cause theyíre on opposite teams, you know what I mean?"

Phoebe looked insulted. "Joey, what difference does it make if heís a Republican or a Democrat?"

Ross ran his fingers through his hair in exasperation and made a grinding noise with his teeth. "Heís gay, Phoebe!" he said slowly.

Phoebeís eyes went wide. "Oh. OH!!"

Chandler said, "I swear, a lightbulb just appeared in front of me!"

Joey replied, "Come on man! Letís choose who does this already. I think you should be the one to tell her."

Chandler looked scared. "Me?"

Joey shrugged. "You got 'em into this, didnít you?"

Phoebe said, "Wait a minute. It shouldnít be him."

Chandler looked at her in gratitude. "Thanks Pheebs."

Phoebe continued, "Heíd just get Rachel to decide to switch teams."

Chandler muttered in anger, "Last time I clap for `Smelly Catí -"

Phoebe ignored him. "You know, it should be someone who has experience with regards to rejection. Someone whoís been in this sort of
situation before. Someone Rachel will trust and know has her best interests at heart."

There was a moment of silence. Then Phoebe, Joey and Chandler turned their heads and stared at Ross.

"Oh, no!" Ross shook his head violently. "Donít look at ME! No way am I going to get involved in something like this! Besides, that business
with Mark wasnít all that long ago!"

Phoebe pleaded with him. "Come on, Ross! You know Iím right!"

Joey nodded. "She has a point, dude."

Chandler looked desperate. "Iím begging you man! Look, donít do it for me, do it for her! You know her better than any of us. It wonít be as
hard on her coming from you!"

Ross wilted under the barrage of pleas. "Okay! Okay! Just - just stop already will you, Iíll do it!"

Phoebe looked pleased, with a big smile on her face. "Oh, yay! Youíre doing the right thing Ross. Just make sure -"

Ross looked puzzled. "What?"

Phoebe said apologetically, "Well, if Iím wrong, just make sure you leave the door unlocked, 'cause otherwise Rachel really will kick your ass!"

Ross had the exasperated look back on his face. "Thanks a lot for telling me that Pheebs!"

                                                              ***

Later on in Rachel and Monicaís apartment, Monica Geller came out of the bathroom and sat down on the couch. Then she put her face in her
hands, as if in pain.

Rachel came out of her room, and saw her there. "Mon sweetie, whatís wrong?"

Monica straightened up, and looked at her guiltily. "Nothing, Rach, Iím fine."

Rachel looked at her sceptically. "Honey, this is me youíre talking to. Your best friend? You look like I would if somebody told me
Bloomingdales had just burned down!"

Monica smiled briefly. "No, really, I just have to talk to Chandler. About - things."

Rachel looked intrigued. "What things?"

Monica shrugged. "About the future, I guess. Just - stuff I need to sort out."

Rachel shrugged as well. "Okay. So, are you going to work now?"

Monica shook her head. "No, I called in sick. Besides, theyíll miss me like a hole in the head!"

Rachel laughed. "Feeling better?"

Monica smiled again. "Yeah. So tell me, how was your date with Eric?"

Rachel started beaming with happiness. "Oh, it was fantastic! Heís smart, funny, good-looking, and a real gentleman! He even likes the place
where I work. You know, this might be a bit premature, but I - I think -"

Monica looked at her. "What?"

Rachel said hurriedly, "I think he might be the one!"

Monica was stunned. "Really? After just one date?"

Rachel nodded. "I really have this feeling, you know? Heís different from other men! I have to hand it to Chandler, he knows how to introduce
the right sort of guys to me!"

Just then the door opened, and Ross walked in. "Hey," he said.

Monica got up and hugged him. "Hi Ross. Iím glad youíre here."

Ross looked surprised. "You okay?"

Monica nodded. "Yeah, I just have some things to sort out. Listen you guys," she spoke to both of them, "Iíve got to get some more rest, Iíll be in
my room okay?"

Rachel and Ross nodded. "Sure,", "Go ahead Mon," and she walked out of the room, shutting the door behind her.

Ross looked around, suddenly very nervous. "Uh, so Rach, howíve you been?"

Rachel smiled at him. "Iím fine. Life is wonderful, Ross!"

Ross gulped. "Really? Thatís, uh, great. Hey, the guys were just talking about that new man youíre seeing, whatís his name?"

Rachel said, "Eric? Yeah, I know, heís fantastic!"

Ross said even more nervously, "Is that so?"

Rachel, not noticing, bubbled happily, "Yeah heís, like, perfect! Iíve never met anyone like him. You know, I think this could be something
special, Ross."

He muttered to himself, "Thatís for sure!"

She asked, "What?"

Ross said quickly, "Never mind. Look, uh, Rachel, thereís something I have to tell you, itís about Eric -" he stopped, unable to go on.

Rachel looked at him. "What?"

Ross blurted out, "Rach, heís gay!"

Rachel just stared. Then she started laughing. "Ha, thatís a good one Ross!"

Ross just stared at her, with an agonized expression on his face. "Rachel -"

She stopped laughing. "Youíre not serious!?"

Ross didnít say anything. Rachel started walking around, talking partly to herself and partly to Ross. "No, no this canít be happening! I mean,
Chandler would never have..."

Ross interrupted her. "Rachel, Chandler didnít know. Uh, I mean, he found out later, after he - well, you know -"

Rachel sat down and buried her face in her hands briefly. "I DONíT BELIEVE THIS!" she yelled.

Ross tried to comfort her. "Hey, itís all right, youíll meet someone else -"

Rachel interrupted him angrily. "Yeah, right!"

Ross ignored her outburst, sat down next to her and took her hand. "I mean it. Look, youíre smart, youíre beautiful, itís just a matter of time
before -"

Rachel screamed, "TIME?" She made an effort to settle down. "Time? Come on Ross, letís look at my track record, shall we? Just look at the
fiascos Iíve had in my love life! First there was Barry, then Paulo, then there was Joshua, then Danny, and now Eric!"

Ross tried to say, "Well -"

Rachel went on, "And letís not forget YOU!"

Ross said hesitantly, "You know, I - I like to think Iím not exactly one of them, Rach. I mean, at least weíre still close friends."

Rachel looked at her hand clasped in his. She sighed, and leaned back. "Yeah, yeah youíre right. You - youíve been there for me, Ross. Even
when I didnít want you to. Oh, wait till I get my hands on that Chandler -!"

Ross took her other hand, and she came forward. "Uh, Rach, please, he really didnít mean any harm. Yeah, he made a honest mistake, but could
you - you know? Please? As a favour to me?"

Rachel sighed again. "Oh, what the hell. Whatís the point anyway? Wait a minute," she said suspiciously. "He asked you to tell me about this,
didnít he?"

Ross squirmed. "Yeah," he said eventually.

Rachel grimaced. "Huh. I should have known."

Ross said urgently, "Come on Rach, cheer up, please! Iím here for you."

Rachel looked at him. "Yeah, you are, arenít you?"

The two of them continued to look at each other in silence. Rachel leaned forward, and kissed Ross gently on the lips. Then she pulled away
from him, staring at Ross with a look of surprised consternation on her face. Ross stared back at her in silence, an equally surprised expression
on his features. Suddenly Rachel plunged her lips onto his, with great fierceness and passion, wrapping her arms around him and dragging him
down on top of her on the couch.

All of a sudden Ross pulled away from her, getting up and saying, "No, no this isnít right, I canít do this -"

Rachel got up as well, with a hurt expression on her face. "Whatís wrong?" she said.

Ross stammered, "Rachel, donít take this the wrong way, please, but this doesnít feel right -"

Rachel started to look angry. "What?" she said icily.

Ross tried to explain. "Rachel, youíre very upset right now over Eric and all - this is - I mean, I donít want to take advantage of you -"

Rachel interrupted him with an angry, "WHAT?"

Ross started to back away, and gestured nervously. "Rachel please, calm down, this isnít good for your blood pressure you know -"

Rachel made an angry noise, grabbed an ashtray and threw it straight at his head. At the last moment Ross ducked, and a loud BANG was heard
as the missile hit the door. Ross looked at her in amazement and said, "Why did you -?"

Rachel bellowed, "IT FELT RIGHT!"

Ross by now was close to the door. "Look - Iíll talk to you later, when youíve calmed down a bit -"

Rachelís eyes were blazing. "You know what Ross? DROP DEAD!"

Ross turned and looked at her, looking hurt. "You - you donít mean that -"

Rachel shouted, "YOU WANNA BET?"

Ross decided to leave. "See you later, Rachel."

Rachel screamed as he closed the door, "NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST!" Then she sat down on the couch, and started to cry her eyes out.

Monica poked her head out of the bedroom door and said, "Well, if that doesnít get you two back together again, I donít know what will!"

                                                              ***

As Ross stepped out of the apartment, he saw Phoebe, Joey and Chandler quickly backing away as if theyíd been listening at the door. He said
glumly, "You heard, huh?"

Chandler said, "Pal, the entire apartment building must have heard!"

Joey said, "You know, I bet most of the tenants would pay good money to hear you two, if you could arrange to do this more often -"

Phoebe said, "Hey!"

Joey looked hurt, and said, "It was just a suggestion!"

Chandler said to Ross gratefully, "Thanks for doing that for me, buddy. Iíd have been lucky to come out of there in a body bag!"

Ross said, "No - look, that - that was partly my fault anyway. I - Iíve got to get going, okay? You guys, Benís expecting me. I - Iíll see you later."
He turned and strode off towards the stairs.

As he reached the foot of the stairwell, Phoebe saw a wet spot. She called out, "Ross, look out for -"

Ross turned and interrupted, saying "What?", just as his foot slipped and he fell down the stairs with a prolonged yell. "Ahhhhhhhhh!"

Phoebe, Chandler and Joey ran over to the stairs. Joey called out, "Watch out for the last step, youíll get an ass full of splinters!"

Chandler looked at him with equal parts amazement and scorn. "You definitely fell down one of these as a child, didnít you?" he asked.

                                                              ***

The hospital was crowded, and the walls were painted a sickly off-white colour of the kind that was designed to keep the patients docile and
subdued. Ross sat up in one of the few private rooms, his left forearm in plaster and held in a brace above the bed, sipping some orange juice
with a bored expression on his face. All of a sudden Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe came into the room.

Phoebe said "Hi Ross."

"Are you doing okay?" said Monica.

"You had us worried," put in Chandler.

"Yeah, but hey has anybody checked out the nurses in this place?" said Joey excitedly. "Next time Iíve got to go down those stairs with you,
buddy!"

"No doubt about it," said Chandler, "any second now, weíre going to hear him say something like ET PHONE HOME!" he said the last four
words in an alien-like accent.

Ross said, "Hey, thanks for coming, you guys. Mom and Dad were here earlier, but Iím really glad you showed up." He stopped, and looked
around. "Whereís Rachel?"

The four guests looked at each other. Monica said, "Uh, Ross, sheís sorry she couldnít make it, but there was an emergency, someone from work
called -"

"Yeah!" interrupted Joey. "Someone wanted to buy a whole shipment of see-through bikinis!"

"Yeah, right," said Ross morosely, knowing the truth.

"Look, Ross, sheís still upset, okay?" said Monica. "Sheíll calm down, but itíd probably be better if you two didnít start fighting in here!"

Phoebe agreed. "It would really upset all the sick peopleís karma with so many bad vibes!"

Chandler put in, "Besides, I donít think you could duck very well from that position!"

Ross said wearily, "Could we please talk about something else?"

Joey said, "So, when are they lettiní you out of here dude?"

Rossís expression brightened. "Tomorrow, hopefully. I mean itís not bad here and all, but I just want to go home. But they insisted on keeping
me under observation for 24 hours, so -" he shrugged.

Just then a doctor entered the room, looking like a dark-haired version of Gwynneth Paltrow in blue medical operating pajamas and a
stethoscope. "And how is the patient feeling today?" she said to Ross, moving to check his chart.

Ross shrugged. "Okay, I guess."

Joey was standing there with his mouth hanging open. "I think Iím in love," he said softly to the others.

Phoebe nudged him in the ribs with her elbow. "Donít drool on the floor, this is a place for sick people!"

The doctor looked at the visitors and said, "Iím sorry, but Iím afraid Iím going to have to ask you to leave us while I examine my patient."

"Yeah, okay," said Phoebe.

"Ross, weíll see you tomorrow, all right?" said Monica.

"Yeah, Iíll call the hospital, come and pick you up when they release you," promised Chandler.

The group started to move out, but Joey didnít budge. Monica and Phoebe looked at each other briefly at the door, as Chandler had already
vanished into the hall. Looking annoyed, they went back and put one arm through each of Joeyís, and proceeded to pull him along with them out
of the room, heels dragging. Joey paid no attention - he was actually still staring at the doctor open-mouthed.

When they were alone, the doctor took Rossís pulse at the wrist. "Have you been feeling any headaches, nausea, muscle spasms or -"

"No, no and no," interrupted Ross. "Look, doctor -"

"Taylor," she said mildly. "Doctor Sarah Taylor, at your service."

"Doctor Taylor," Ross said firmly. "I feel fine, apart from the arm. I just want to know, how long will it be before Iím completely all right
again?"

She shrugged. "Mr. Geller, the bone was fractured in three places. Do you realise just how lucky you were? Your accident could easily have been
fatal. As it is, itíll be at least six to eight weeks before the arm is fully healed."

"Six weeks?" said Ross in disbelief.

"Or more," she said levelly. "Itíll be at least two weeks before you can lose the plaster cast. No heavy lifting for you for a while, Iím afraid. Iíll
make sure your employer knows your limitations."

"Six weeks," said Ross in misery.

"It beats being six feet under," said Doctor Taylor again in that mild tone. "Now please roll over onto your side, I need to examine your back."

Ross complied, without saying anything. Doctor Taylor came up and examined him, frowning to herself. "Hmm."

"What is it?" asked Ross.

"There are multiple abrasions and contusions, but no permanent damage, luckily," said Doctor Taylor. "You really were fortunate. You mind
telling me how exactly all this came about?"

"Well, uh, itís a long story," said Ross hesitantly.

"Okay, later then," said the doctor trying to be pleasant. Ross flinched under her exam, and she noticed. "Iím going to have to administer
something for the pain now."

"But doc -" Ross tried to argue.

"Donít argue with me," said Doctor Taylor firmly. "Iíve heard it all before from you macho male types anyway. Just co-operate, and I wonít have
to do anything neither of us wants, okay?"

Ross looked at her. "Youíre not going to throw any ashtrays at me are you?"

"What?" the doctor looked at him in confusion.

"Never mind," said Ross, turning away. "Six weeks," he mumbled to himself, as the painkiller the doctor injected into his IV drip made its way
into his system and he fell asleep.

                                                              ***

The next day, Chandler was running around the apartment trying to get himself organised. All of a sudden the duck wandered into the room,
and started flapping its wings. Joey, whoíd been watching TV, started chasing it around the apartment.

"Joe, will you stop that already?! Iím trying to do things here -" started Chandler.

"Iím tryiní, man!" called back Joey. "I think the duck needs to be fed, yíknow, otherwise itíll get cranky!"

All of a sudden, the duck started to quack loudly. "All right already, keep your feathers on!" Joey shouted at it.

Just then the phone rang. Chandler answered it with a frustrated, "What?"

He listened for a few moments, and his attitude immediately changed. "Oh, no no no no sir, nothingís wrong!" he cried out. "Whatís that? The
reports? Uh, yes, they should be on your desk -"

He listened again, and then said, "Well, I have another copy here at home -" he stopped. "Youíll be over when? No, no, thatís fine! Iíll see you
then, no problem!" and he hung up.

Still chasing the duck, Joey said, "What was all that about?"

Chandler grimaced. "Some people from work are coming for a bunch of reports, that got lost somehow."

Joey stopped and looked at him. "Yíknow, if I was still working for your company, you could always blame me. Hey, I got an idea!"

Chandler looked at him in horror. "Whoa - ho - ho! NO WAY, JOSE!"

Joey said pleadingly, "Come on! Itíll be great! I mean, what can they do, fire me?"

Chandler said sarcastically, "No, fire ME for being dumb enough to rehire you in the first place!"

Joey looked hurt. "No, they wouldnít! Please?"

Before Chandler could answer, the duck started quacking with hunger again. "I better feed it, before it starts eatiní somethiní it shouldnít!" said
Joey and started looking through the cupboards.

Chandler sat down and was about to say another sarcastic remark, when he suddenly got a funny look on his face. "Joey, was I supposed to do
something today?"

Joey shrugged. "I dunno, man. Was it important?"

Chandler hesitated. "Yeah, Iím pretty sure."

Joey shrugged again. "Was it about a woman?"

Chandler shook his head uncertainly. "No, I - I donít think so."

Joey said, "Then it canít be all that important. But with chicks, youíve gotta pay a lot of attention, yíknow? You remember Rossís doctor? That
kind of woman, every word out of her mouth is -"

Chandler leaped up. "Oh my God! Ross! I completely forgot! What time is it?" He checked his watch. "Argh! Heís going to kill me!" He dashed
across the room and started to dial furiously on the phone.

All of a sudden, Monica burst into the room. "You guys!" she said. "You have to help us! Now!"

Joey asked, "Whatís the problem?"

Monica said urgently, "Well, itís black, itís huge, it has too many legs, and itís in my bathroom!"

Joey said, puffing up his chest in Superman-type style, "Okay, Iím cominí!", and strode out of the apartment with arms swinging.

Chandler didnít pay any attention. Monica went up to him and said, "Chandler, we need to talk. I have something to tell you, it concerns both
of us -"

"I know Mon, I know." he said urgently.

"You do?" she said in confusion.

"Yeah, look, Iím real sorry I forgot about picking up Ross today, I swear it wonít happen again!" He suddenly paid close attention to the phone.
"Hello? Hello?" Monica just glared at him and walked out without saying goodbye, slamming the door. Chandler glanced back for a moment,
then refocussed on the telephone.

"Mercy Hospital, how can I help you?" said the bored voice of the receptionist at the other end of the line.

"Hi, I was wondering if I could talk to somebody about a patient that was supposed to be released today?" he said hopefully.

"Please hold," and the line was filled with piped music.

"Come on, come on!" Chandler muttered impatiently. All of a sudden the music vanished, and a voice said "Hello?"

"Hi," said Chandler. "Iím calling about a patient admitted yesterday, whether heís been released yet?"

"Certainly," said the nurse who was sitting at her desk in the overcrowded office of the ward. "What name please?"

"Itís - AAH!" yelled Chandler, as the duck began to peck at his legs and he started hopping about in the room. "The duckís trying to eat me!"

"Iím sorry?" said the nurse looking at the mouthpiece in utter confusion.

"Never mind!" Chandler said. "The name is Ross G - Dah! - eller!" as the duck began chasing Chandler around the apartment.

"Excuse me, did you say Ross Dellar?" said the nurse.

"Huh?" said Chandler still trying to avoid the duck, and not paying close attention. "Uh, yeah!"

"Dellar, Dellar," said the nurse tracing a list of names down a sheet of paper, and opening a folder, finally finding the name she wanted. A
strange, sorrowful expression came onto her face. "Oh no," she said to herself. "Hello, are you there?" she said to the mouthpiece.

Chandler finally managed to lure the duck into his room, and then shut the door behind him leaving the starving creature trapped inside. He
sighed, "Yes, Iím here."

The nurse paused. "Are you a member of the immediate family?" she asked.

Chandler said, "Uh, Iím a close friend -"

The nurse said, "And your name is?"

"Chandler Bing. Look, whatís going on?" Chandler was getting worried.

"Mr. Bing, Iím sorry to have to tell you this, but -"

"What?"

"Your friend - he passed away last night."

Chandler froze. "What? You canít mean - Ross died?"

The nurse said sympathetically. "Iím very sorry. Itís a horrible tragedy -"

Chandler interrupted her. "But - but he wasnít critically injured, he - I mean, what happened?"

The nurse said softly, "Three of our patients died last night from exposure to contaminated food. I really am very sorry, Mr. Bing. If you could
hold on, and please give me the next-of-kin for the deceased, perhaps I could -"

Chandler hung up the phone, and just stared into space, still in shock.

                                                              ***

In the meantime in the girlsí apartment across the hall, Joey was emerging triumphantly from the bathroom. "Problem solved!" he stated proudly.

"Yeah, and it only took you, like, six minutes!" said Phoebe.

"What can I say?" shrugged Joey. "You have to be able to think like your opponent! Youíve gotta get inside his head, study his tactics, and beat
him at his own game!"

"Joey, even you are supposed to have more than the intellectual capacity of a spider!" Monica snapped.

Just then Chandler walked in, still in a daze, and came to a stop near the kitchen table. "I - I talked to the hospital," he said vaguely.

"So what did they say?" asked Phoebe.

"They -" Chandler stopped, forced himself to go on. "They said - Ross is gone."

"He didnít wait for you to pick him up?" said Monica in irritation. "I swear, my brother can be the most impatient -"

"No," interrupted Chandler. "Thatís not what I - I mean, heís, heís G - O - N - E, gone," spelling it out, unable to say it plainly.

There was a silence, and remarkably Joey was the first to understand. "Dude, do you mean G - O - N - E as in D - E - A - D?"

"Uh, yeah," Chandler stammered in misery.

Monica stared at him. "Come on, this is crazy! What are you talking about?"

Chandler, still looking shocked, tried to explain, "Uh, it was an accident I guess - food poisoning, two other people died, I didnít get all the
details from the nurse, I guess I was so freaked out I just hung up -"

Phoebe was still trying to wrap her brain around the concept. "So - Ross is dead?"

All of a sudden Monica burst into tears and threw herself into Chandlerís arms. "NO! No, this is not happening!" she screamed. Phoebe and Joey
came over to try and comfort her.

Just then Rachel walked out of her room. "Whatís going on?" she asked the group.

"Rachel, weíve got some bad news -" Joey started.

"Yeah, you better sit down, this is going to be a shock -" said Chandler.

"What is it?" she said.

"Rachel, Ross died," Phoebe said.

Rachel looked at them, and snorted with laughter. "Yeah right, very funny. Now what-"

"Rach, weíre not kiddiní!" cried out Joey.

Rachelís face froze. "Youíre not? But what - how -?"

"There was an accident at the hospital -" Chandler started.

"The hospital?" Rachel sat down the couch, as her legs could no longer support her. "Oh my God, oh my God, this - this is all my fault!"

Monica let go of Chandler, and went over to try to comfort Rachel. "Sweetie, no, it wasnít your fault -"

"Donít you get it?" Rachel almost screamed. "He died after I told him to drop dead! If we hadnít had that fight, he wouldnít have fallen down
the stairs, and he wouldnít have even been in that hospital! And I didnít even visit him! Oh my God -"

"Rach, come on!" Monica urged. "Nobody planned this! You think the hospital deliberately poisoned three people? Itís just, just -" she broke
down then and started to cry, and Rachel joined her.

Eventually, the crying subsided. The five friends congregated around the kitchen table in silence, thinking about the absent Ross Geller. All of a
sudden the door opened and Ross walked in, his left arm in a sling. "Hey everybody," he said absently.

"Hey,", "Hi," said his five friends not really noticing. Then with a start, all of them jumped back in fear and let out a scream or yell, "YAHH!"

"What?" said Ross startled and puzzled.

"You - you -" said Chandler in amazement. "Youíre alive!"

Ross looked at himself. "I seem to be, yeah," he agreed in confusion

"But they told me you were dead!" Chandler cried.

"What?"

"The hospital!"

Rachel screamed "Ross!" and ran over and hugged him fiercely.

"Ow!" Ross cried out. "Watch it Rach, Iím still pretty sore in certain places!"

"Iím sorry, Iím sorry!" she said and started kissing him repeatedly wherever her lips could reach, his neck, his ear, his cheek and chin.

"What the - Rachel, please!" Ross eventually managed to extract himself from Rachelís embrace, only to have Monica and Phoebe immediately
take her place. "Hey, whatís going on here?" he asked Chandler and Joey.

Joey still looked as if he had witnessed something from out of the Bible. "Chandler said you were dead, dude!" he said. "You know, that food
thing at the hospital, three people died -"

Finally Ross understood, as Monica and Phoebe disengaged. "Oh! And you thought I was -"

"Yeah!" all five of them said.

Ross couldnít help himself, he started laughing uncontrollably. "Ross!" Monica smacked him in annoyance. "Will you cut it out? Itís not funny!"

"Iím sorry, Iím sorry," he choked out. "So, did you guys at least have a decent funeral planned for me?"

"ROSS!" they cried out, and the girls started throwing pillows at him, injured arm or not.

                                                              ***

Later on, in the boysí apartment, Chandler and Joey were having a quick meal on the kitchen counter. "Sure is good to have things back to
normal," said Joey.

"Yeah," agreed Chandler. "Man, this day could not have BEEN more freakier!"

Just then Phoebe walked into the apartment. "Hey you guys," she said.

"Hey Pheebs, whatís up?" asked Joey.

"My brother Frank just asked me for help on something, and I could use your advice."

"Shoot," said Chandler.

"He said someone asked him, `What do you do if thereís an awkward situation, and you need a way to distract people from what happened?í.
What do you think is the best answer?"

"Is this some kind of trick question?" asked Chandler.

"No, actually, itís one of his oral exam questions for refrigerator college!" said Phoebe brightly.

Joey shrugged. "Getting someone to talk about the weather always works for me, Pheebs."

"Okay, thanks!" she said with a smile.

Suddenly Rachel and Ross walked in, and Ross said, "Has anyone seen Monica?"

Rachel added quickly, "Sheís been gone for ages, weíve been looking for her everywhere -"

Chandler shrugged. "Sorry guys, sheís not here."

At this precise instant the phone rang, and Chandler answered it. "Hello?"

He listened for a few moments. "Hi, Mr. Treeger, whatís up?"

Just then Monica walked in. "Chandler, I have to talk to you."

"Please Monica, Iím on the phone, just a second."

"But itís important!"

"Iím sure it is -" She noticed he wasnít even paying attention, and her face grew angry. "Chandler!" she said loudly.

Just then the doorbell rang. Chandler said, "Mr. Treeger, could you please hold?" and looked at the door.

Joey answered the summons. "Hello?" he said, opening the door.

A blonde man and a red-haired woman in business clothes were standing outside. "Weíre here to see Chandler Bing," said the man.

"Phil! Amanda! Come in, please!" Chandler beckoned them inside.

"Weíre just here to pick up those reports, Chandler, Doug wants them pronto," said Amanda.

"Chandler, we have something very important to discuss! Can we go somewhere private?" Monica said tugging impatiently at his sleeve.

"Yeah, soon!" he said. To Phil and Amanda he said, "Theyíre right in there, on the nightstand, through that door!" he pointed.

Phil went across the room and opened the door, only to jump back in terror, as he tried to avoid the duck that came charging out of Chandlerís
room making very loud and angry noises.

Joey, who had started preparing some drinks on a tray, shoved the tray into Chandlerís hands and called out, "Itís okay, Iíve got it!" and started
chasing the duck around the room as pandemonium and chaos set in.

All of a sudden Chandlerís attention was diverted back to the phone now scrunched up against his ear, as Mr. Treeger angrily asked, "What are
all those animal noises Iím hearing up there?"

"Uh, itís nothing, weíre just having a little party in here!" Chandler said desperately.

"Chandler!" shouted Monica.

"What?" he shouted back.

"CHANDLER, IíM PREGNANT, YOUíRE GOING TO BE A FATHER!" she screamed.

Stunned, Chandler dropped the drinks tray and the phone and stared at her open-mouthed. Everything landed on the floor with a loud crash, but
nobody noticed.

There was a silence. Then Phoebe said in a panicked voice, "Hey, uh, the duck looks wet, díyou think the window was open and itís raining
outside?"

                                                           THE END

***** Hope you enjoyed it! If you have a spare moment, please e-mail me with feedback at: theop@kew.starway.net.au