The One where Chandler Pines for a Sick Joey
Title: The One where Chandler Pines for a Sick Joey
Ship: Jandler :)
Remote in hand, Chandler was just flicking off Seinfeld when a broad shadow covered the screen.
“Joey?” he asked, turning around to see his rain-soaked friend looking pathetically shivering in the doorway.“What happened to you?”
“They kept doing takes when it started raining,” Joey explained through chattering teeth as he trudged into the apartment and pulled his coat off. “Said it fit the mood.” Chandler shrugged, turning his attention back to the blank TV screen.
“Sucks, man,” he said nonchalantly, pretending not to notice Joey’s soaked-through shirt clinging to his pecks and the cute little tummy he knew he was secretly self-conscious of.
“Yeah. I’m gonna go shower,” Joey announced wearily as he headed off to the bathroom.
Chandler totally wasn’t upset at all that he didn’t get to see him take his shirt off.
The next morning passed pretty normally for Chandler, apart from the fact that Joey was sleeping for most of it. He was just about to turn the TV on when a loud sneeze cut through the silence, and he may have spit out some coffee. Joey stood outside the doorway to his room with his hands cupped around his nose.
“Well, good morning to you, too,” Chandler said with a chuckle, pretending to read his watch, “or should I say good afternoon?”
“Ha-ha,” Joey said in a hoarse voice and sat down next to his roommate. “I guess I must have went bed too late last night.”
Chandler remembered hearing Joey snoring very clearly at just eleven. Come to think of it, Joey never snored. His thought process was interrupted when he noticed Joey doing that cute cat-stretch thing he always did when he woke up.
“So,” he started, trying to focus on anything else, “you going to Phoebe’s friend’s poetry slam?”
“Oh, that’s tonight,” Joey said with a slight scowl. “What was her name again? Something weird like-”
“Euphrasia,” Chandler told him. “I actually think it’s a really pretty name,” Chandler commented, at which Joey shrugged. Then he sneezed again. Twice. “Bless you.”
“Thanks,“ Joey said with a small sniffle, and Chandler couldn’t help but notice his voice was a little stuffed up. “Well, I really don’t feel like going to some chick I don’t know’s poetry slam.”
“Really? I thought you loved poetry slams,” Chandler remarked sarcastically. Joey playfully elbowed him. “But really, everyone’s gonna be there. Why not?”
“I’m still kinda tired,” Joey said with a shrug. “Sorry, man.”
“Eh, it’s no big deal,” Chandler assured him. He chuckled. “No one’s really gonna miss you anyway.”
“Gee, thanks,” Joey said with another sniffle.
‘Observant’ wasn’t exactly a word Chandler would choose to describe himself, but he knew when Joey was coming down with something, even if Joey didn’t.
Chandler wasn’t surprised when he came home to find Joey curled up on the couch with the TV still on. And snoring. Again. He chuckled and shook his head as he turned off the TV and wrapped the throw blanket off the back of the couch around his roommate’s sleeping form. He may or may not have kissed his forehead, too.
The next morning Chandler was surprised to find Joey awake before him- though he wasn’t surprised to find him sitting up on the couch with the waste basket between his legs, hacking into it.
“Oh, morning, Joe,” he greeted with a knowing grin. “My, may I say you are looking great today?” Joey looked up at him with an expression of defeat.
“I have a cold,” he stated flatly.
“Really, how can you tell?” Chandler asked in feigned surprise, then shrugged. “Oh well, it’s not like you have to get anywhere today.”
“I have two auditions today,” Joey said with a groan.
“I have to get there a-” he broke off with a harsh, wet sneeze. “At one,” he finished, sniffling thickly. Chandler rolled his eyes and chucked a box of tissues at his friend, which hit him on the head.
“You’re seriously going to an audition like that,” he said, incredulously. Joey gave his nose a thick blow and shook his head.
“No, two. I just told you.”
Chandler stepped into Central Perk at noon, after a morning of running errands. He wasn’t exactly thrilled to find Joey already there with the rest of the gang, looking not much better. He sat down on the couch next to Phoebe and Ross. Next to them, Rachel reluctantly poured Joey another cup of coffee.
“Go home, Joey,” she pleaded. “Look, you’re scaring off the customers,” she said just as a disgusted old couple left the shop.
“I am not. They were leaving anyway,” he insisted, finishing with a rattling cough that earned a chorus of ‘ew’s’ from three very talkative high school girls with lattes.
“They remind me of Monica,” Phoebe said fondly. “But seriously, Joey, you should really go home.”
“I can’t,” Joey said waspishly. “I told you guys, I have an audition in an hour.”
“Well unless you’re auditioning for a NyQuil commercial, I think you should let this one go,” Ross said, briefly looking at Chandler with a look that asked how he could let his roommate out of the apartment like this. Chandler shrugged. After all, he wasn’t his parent or anything. Joey was a big boy and could make his own decisions. It was his own fault if he overbooked himself, Chandler thought. But then why did he feel so guilty?
Ugh, fuck feelings.
Of course, Chandler felt even guiltier after he left Central Perk and went back out to finish his errands. All he could think about was Joey fumbling his way through an audition- which most likely wasn’t going to be successful, anyway, as he was pretty sure casting directors didn’t prefer leading men with snot dripping down their faces. Ugh, the poor fool. It didn’t help his mind that he knew Joey couldn’t afford the standard “cold supplies” most people took comfort in, and would have to suffer without them. Would it really hurt him to pick his poor, sick friend up some NyQuil? No, it wouldn’t. It looked like another trip to the drugstore was in order for Chandler.
It was already seven when Joey arrived at the apartment, shivering, with his hand pressed firmly to his nose. Chandler didn’t even have the time to greet him before he had run into the bathroom. He had to bite his lip to keep from laughing at his friend’s misfortune.
“You’re dripping, aren’t you?”
Joey coughed loudly in response, barely managing a strained ‘yes’ somewhere in the middle of the fit. Of course, now Chandler felt guilty again for laughing at him.
“Whoa, man, you really don’t sound good,” he commented as Joey left the bathroom, leaning heavily on the wall and taking heavy breaths until he made it to the couch. “Monica made you some of her special soup, do you want me to heat some up for you?”
“Did she remember the hotdog, like Mom’s?” he asked with a sniffle.
“Yes, she remembered the hotdog,” Chandler said with an eye-roll as he started heating the soup up. “Although I’m really not sure why you want the hot dog in it.”
Somehow, after eating the soup, Joey’s cough had gotten even worse. Chandler didn’t wanna say anything, but he was pretty sure it was that stupid hotdog.
“Hey, Joe, I picked up some NyQuil. I think you should really take some,” he told his friend. Joey looked up at him wearily.
“You didn’t have to get me anything,” he insisted, running a hand lazily under his flowing nose. “Us Tribbianis are tough,” he said, barely finishing the phrase before he broke off with a messy, pitiful sneeze. Chandler could barely understand him past the snot and didn’t even pick up on the grammar mistake.
“We have tissues, y’know,” he reminded Joey, waving the tissue box in his face and dropping it on his lap. Joey rolled his eyes, before giving his nose a thick, heavy blow. Chandler cringed at the sound and watched Joey blink in confusion, seeming to be dizzy from the force of blowing his nose. The poor guy had probably spiked a fever by now. “Will you let me feel your forehead?” Joey looked up at him over the tissue held to his nose and nodded tiredly. Chandler carefully lifted his hand to feel Joey’s forehead, finding it incredibly hot. He quickly retrieved the NyQuil from the counter. “Take the NyQuil, Joey. You need it.”
“Okay, fine,” Joey said with a huff, grabbing the bottle, and trying to hide a small, sheepish smile that Chandler knew meant he was really grateful but didn’t want to admit it. Joey cringed after taking a capful and Chandler had to keep from smiling like an idiot at the adorable face he made.
“I forgot how nasty that stuff was,” he said with a sniffle. “Thanks. man.”
“Hey,” Chandler said with a shrug, “it’s just what friends do.” Of course, it was so much more than that, but Joey didn’t have to know that part of the story.
Chandler went to bed at just around eleven, since he had work the next day. Joey had went to bed even earlier, being sick and all, but had taken about an hour to fall asleep- most likely due to his incessant coughing and snot-dripping nose. Thankfully, he must have fallen asleep by then, since the noise had stopped, leaving comfortable silence in its place. Chandler was just drifting off to sleep when a loud groan cut through that silence, followed by a massive sneeze. Oh, well.
“Chandler!” Joey called out hoarsely, practically whining. A twinge of affection hit Chandler’s entire body. Why was that so adorable? “Chandler!” he called again, his voice cracking on the ‘a’ in a way that somehow managed to be cute.
“What, Joey? I’m trying to sleep!” Chandler called back, feigning annoyance.
“I’m cold,” Joey whined. Oh god, why was he doing this to him? “Come cuddle me?” Chandler knew it was just the fever talking. Joey was just cold and looking for warmth, and there was no way Chandler was going to ‘cuddle’ him if he knew he didn’t genuinely want to do it. Also, he had to get a good night’s sleep for work on monday.
“Joey, no,” he responded. “Just go to sleep.”
“No, Chandler,” Joey called back, his voice making everything he said super adorable. “Please cuddle me. I feel icky.” Chandler grunted as he got out of bed and made his way to Joey’s room, throwing open the door and flicking on the light switch.
“Joey, you’re sick. Just go to sleep and-” Chandler stopped short when he noticed the adorable pout on Joey’s face.
“Chandler, I’m really cold. You have to keep me warm,” Joey insisted, sniffling as he lifted the blanket for Chandler to lie down next to him. It was pathetically adorable, and Chandler could tell when he looked up at him that Joey genuinely wanted to cuddle him.
“Joey, it’s late,” Chandler said with a sigh. “I need to get sleep for work tomorrow.”
“Chandler,” Joey whined again, shaking the blanket slightly as if to remind Chandler there was a space there for him. “Please?” he begged- that was just too much. Chandler couldn’t resist anymore.
“Okay, fine- but it’s not gonna be all night, okay? Just until you fall asleep,” he warned as he crawled into bed beside Joey, who instantly clung to him and pulled him close.
“M’kay,” Joey mumbled into Chandler’s neck. “Mmm thank you.” Joey’s fevered body was exceptionally hot, yet somehow Chandler found it comforting.
“Hey, just go to sleep. Okay?” Chandler asked, Joey nodded and sniffled.
“G’night, Chandler,” he said with a small yawn, a burst of hot air against Chandler’s neck. Chandler flicked the light switch off, closing his eyes and settling into Joey’s grasp.