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Friends Don't Keep Secrets

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"Oh my god!" Chandler stared at the video playing on his computer in complete and utter shock. Joey, his Joey was on the screen fucking some guy. Joey, his Joey, was starring in some gay internet porno. And Fuck if it wasn't making him hard.

It was another Saturday night and Chandler was home alone again while Joey went out with another girl whose name he probably wouldn't remember in the morning. In fact, all of their friends had dates. So Chandler began looking for something to do to take his mind off being alone.

He'd decided to play around on the internet. He hadn't intended to go looking for porn. He hadn't even realized that was what he was doing until he saw the site. He had just thought it would be fun to Google his friends and see what popped up. Monica had a couple restaurant reviews. Phoebe was all over the place with everything from the strange birth announcement after the triplets were born to mention on a police blotter for pick pocketing. Ross was all about his academic stuff. There really wasn't anything about Rachel. But he figured Joey would be interesting. He would have his acting stuff at the very least.

Turned out he was sort of right. There had been acting credits and reviews. But there had also been the link to . As soon as he clicked on the link, Chandler had known he was someplace he didn't want to be. At the same time, he really couldn't make himself leave the site. It required a credit card for a pay as you view account, so Chandler entered the information and did a search for Joey. What he got was a list more than a dozen videos, all recorded before he and Chandler lived together.

Chandler clicked on one entitled Italian Studs, totally disregarding the $5 fee, and watched in fascinated horror. He'd watched plenty of bad porn in his day, but this was just… wow. There wasn't even a story. The scene just started and Joey and another dark haired guy started making out. They quickly moved from that to blowing each other. Then the dark haired guy started licking at Joey's ass. God, that was disturbing and… hot. Chandler picked up a file folder and began to fan himself to try to cool down a bit.

When he looked back at the screen, Joey was thrusting his cock into the dark haired man. Their bodies moved together, sweaty and all slapping flesh and moans. Chandler had often heard Joey fucking one of his many girlfriends. He knew the noises Joey was making as well as he knew his own hand, which had now dropped to his own erection.

The scene ended entirely too soon for Chandler, so he clicked back to the list of titles and selected another. This one was titled Switch Hitters. Chandler expected a cheesy baseball story, but what he got was something else entirely. This time Joey was with a tall lean blond man. The first minutes of the video went much like the other: hand jobs, blow jobs, ass play, and fucking. Only this time, just as Chandler began to recognize the sounds Joey made right before he came, the two men switched positions.

"Oh my god!" Chandler said again. Joey was…on the bottom…and he was enjoying it. Chandler knew he was enjoying it; Joey wasn't that good of an actor. And then he heard Joey making those breathy "hah, ah" noises, the ones Chandler had memorized over the years. Chandler, without really realizing he was stroking himself in time with Joey's hand on the video, erupted just as his friend did the same.

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It shouldn't have stuck in Chandler's mind the way it did. Those videos should have just been a one time thing, something he could bring up and tease Joey about. Ask him if he still got royalty checks. It should not have made Chandler hard every time he thought of them. It should not have called him back to that site over and over again in the weeks that followed. And when his credit card bill came in, he was deeply disturbed to realize that he had spent hundreds of dollars watching videos of Joey having sex with men. Chandler knew that there was something very wrong with him. That didn't stop him from switching to a more economical monthly membership.

"Chandler, have you been smoking?" Joey asked as Chandler walked into the apartment after work one evening. He was making a sandwich and quickly pulled out another plate to make one for Chandler.

Chandler lifted the collar of his shirt and smelled it. "Maybe."

"Jeez Chandler!" Joey complained as he handed Chandler a sandwich and went to the recliner to eat. "Are you trying to kill yourself? Don't you remember how hard it was to quit last time? Why would you start smoking again?"

Chandler shrugged as he went to the other recliner with his plate. There was no way he was telling Joey that it was because he had become obsessed with watching him in gay porn. "I hate my job," Chandler muttered. It wasn't a lie. He really did hate his job, but that wasn't why he was smoking.

Joey sighed. "Chandler, if you hate your job, why don't you just quit? What do you want to do?"

Chandler frowned. What did he want to do? He'd been an analyst since college, and he'd just sort of fallen into the job. He'd never really thought about what he wanted to do, just that this wasn't it. "I don't really know. I don't think I'm cut out for the corporate world. I think I want to do something more creative. But I can't draw or paint or write. I just don't have a clue. I feel like I should be passionate about what I do, but I'm just not passionate about anything." Except those damn videos, Chandler's mind added silently.

Joey chewed on his sandwich while he thought. "Well, you could take some classes at the adult school and see if there's something that sparks your passion."

"I don't know…"

"Come on, Chan," Joey pleaded. "It'll be fun! I'll even go with you!"

"Alright, we'll try a couple classes," Chandler said. At least it would get him out of the house and away from those damn videos.

"And maybe you should see a therapist about quitting smoking," Joey suggested. "The hypnosis seemed to work last time, but I don't think I can stand another round of you being a 'strong confident woman.'"

Chandler laughed uneasily. He was positive he didn't want that either.

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"Look at this one," Joey said. "It sounds like fun."

"I'm not taking a home decorating course with you Joey," Chandler sighed. "Enough people already think we're a couple."

"But it would be fun!" Joey insisted. "We could redecorate the apartment! Oh! And we could get some of those cool doily things!"

"I like the apartment the way it is," Chandler insisted. "And doilies are NOT cool. Doilies are little old lady decorations."

"What are you two doing?" Phoebe asked. They were sitting on the sofa at Central Perk huddled over the adult school brochure.

"We're picking classes to take at the adult school," Joey said. "Chandler needs to find something he can be passionate about. Like I am with acting and you are with your music."

Phoebe nodded sagely. "I think you should look for something where you can use your hands and get dirty. Oo! Oo! Pottery!"

"Look, they have a beginning pottery class on Tuesday nights," Joey said and gave Chandler his puppy dog eyes.

"Alright, I can handle pottery," Chandler said. There wasn't really anything too gay about pottery. He'd never seen his father or any of his boy toys doing pottery.

"And I think we should do something that involves food, too," Joey said. "That way we can eat whatever we make."

Chandler looked through the booklet and found the cooking classes. "The only one that doesn't conflict with the pottery class or my therapy sessions is the cake baking class."

"Mmmm cake," Joey groaned. "I like cake."

"You like any food," Phoebe teased. "How's the therapy going, Chandler? Have you quit smoking yet?"

Chandler shook his head and rolled his eyes. "Not yet. We're still 'examining all the underlying issues' which make me want to smoke. Actually, we're supposed to start hypnosis in two weeks."

"I think taking these classes will help, too," Joey said encouragingly. "It'll take your mind off work and stress, and trying to quit smoking."

"We'll have a great time," Chandler smiled at his friend.

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The pottery class was more fun than Chandler had expected. It was like being a kid again, playing in the mud. He and Joey had a couple incidences of throwing clay at each other the first night, which had gotten them a firm scolding from the instructor, who reminded Chandler a bit of an older Monica. Once they settled down and paid attention, however, they both really liked the class. Joey was a natural. The vase he made that first night had looked better than any other student's. Chandler's vase was a bit crooked, but not bad for his first attempt, and soon their apartment was filled with their efforts.

It was in cake class, however, that Chandler excelled. The first class they baked a chocolate cake from scratch. Joey left out the baking powder, so his cake never rose. It was a rather large gooey mess. But Chandler's turned out perfectly. Then they made the icing and decorated the cakes. Since Joey didn't really have a cake, Chandler let him help with his. As they were working, Chandler asked all kinds of questions. What would happen if you added this ingredient? How would these flavors taste together? How would you do it if you wanted to make thinner layers?

They brought home Chandler's cake and ate it that night in celebration.

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Chandler was relaxed with his eyes closed as the therapist quietly talked him into a hypnotic trance. This was the first time he had actually been put under. The tape he had used the last time worked while he slept, which was not quite the same thing. This time, Chandler was awake and aware of what was happening, but he was so relaxed that it all seemed dreamlike.

"Chandler, how do you feel?"

"Fine."

"Chandler, do you know why you smoke?"

Chandler paused. "Yes."

"Why?"

"Because it calms me when I feel panicked."

"Do you feel panicked now?"

"No."

"What was the catalyst for you to start smoking again this time?"

"I want to have sex with Joey." Even as he said those words, a part of Chandler began to panic, though he didn't come out of the trance. "Can I have a cigarette?"

"You're okay Chandler. You don't need a cigarette. There's no reason to feel anxious here. You're safe here."

Chandler nodded slowly. "I don't need a cigarette."

"That's right. Chandler, I want you to stay calm and remember that thoughts and ideas can't hurt you. You are safe here. Can you do that?"

"I'm safe here."

"That's right. Now, can you tell me why wanting to have sex with Joey makes you want to smoke?"

"Because that means I'm like my father."

"And you don't want to be like your father?"

"No. He dresses up like a woman and sleeps around."

"Do you want to dress up like a woman?"

"No."

"Do you know any gay men who don't dress up like women?"

"Yes. A lot."

"So even if someone prefers having sex with his own gender, it doesn't mean he wants to dress up as a woman, does it?"

"No."

"Do you think all gay men sleep around?"

Chandler paused again. "No. Just some."

"So even if you were gay, you wouldn't have to be like your father. Have you ever had sexual urges for a man before?"

Chandler paused again. "Yes."

"Can you tell me about that?"

"I was in high school. An all-boys school. A friend wanted to learn how to kiss so we practiced on each other."

"And how did that make you feel?"

"I wanted to do more than kiss."

"And did you?"

"No. We stopped and neither of us ever mentioned it again."

"Did you feel ashamed for enjoying those kisses?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Because my mother was right and my father had turned me into a faggot."

"Okay Chandler, I'm going to wake you up in just a minute. After I do, I want you to remember this calm feeling. I want you to remember this calm feeling anytime you feel the need to smoke. I want you to remember this calm feeling any time you start to panic about wanting to have sex with Joey. Can you do that?"

"Yes. Calm."

"Okay, Chandler, I'm going to count backwards from ten and when I reach one you will be awake. You will remember everything we spoke about you will feel refreshed and calm. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1."

Chandler sat up straight in his chair. Holy shit. He felt that same strange mixture of panic and calm again.

"Alright, Chandler, are you ready to talk about what we just learned?"

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Chandler threw himself into the cake class. He liked making pottery with Joey—he enjoyed spending any time with Joey—but he looked forward to going to the cake class all week. He had moved beyond the basic recipes and was beginning to experiment with new flavors and combinations. Besides the cake he brought home from class each week, Chandler usually spent time on the weekends experimenting with new recipes.

When he was baking, Chandler could forget all about his problems. His therapist was forcing him to face up to some very hard truths about himself and his sexuality. He came home from those sessions wrung out emotionally, but Joey was always there on those nights to cheer and comfort him, usually with beer and pizza and reruns of Baywatch on the TV. He hadn't had a cigarette since that first session using hypnosis, though it wasn't always easy. And it wasn't easy staying away from the porn site. But his therapist thought that he was just using the porn for a substitute for what he really wanted, and it wasn't fair to Joey. So Chandler used baking to keep himself busy on those nights when Joey wasn't around.

"Chandler!" Monica yelled as she stormed across the hall. Joey had just taken Chandler's latest creation—piña colada cupcakes with butter rum glaze—over to the girls' apartment. Joey had learned that there was such a thing as too much cake, and had wanted to share. Chandler was already mixing up a new batter for another cake that he'd take to work with him in the morning when Monica invaded.

"What's the matter, Mon?" Chandler asked distractedly. He was busy reducing coffee and sugar in a sauce pan to make a syrup that he would use in the mocha-fudge frosting for his almond cake.

Monica stared at Chandler. "What are you doing?" So Chandler explained. "Actually that sounds really good. But that's not what I'm talking about! What are you doing with all this cake stuff? I'm the chef. I'm the one whose food people are supposed to ooh and ah over. You aren't allowed to steal my thunder!"

Chandler took the sauce pan off of the heat and finally looked at Monica. He looked a little lost and a lot disappointed. "Oh. But I really like making cakes. And I'm pretty good at it, too. We're learning tortes this week and flourless cakes next week."

Monica deflated. "You really like all this?"

"Yeah," Chandler shrugged embarrassed. "I think I might have found something I can be passionate about."

"I can't believe I'm going to suggest this." Monica shook her head. "If you really want to pursue this, you should go to culinary school and become a pastry chef."

Chandler shook his head. "No. I don't want to make all that other stuff. I don't want to work in a restaurant. I just want to bake cakes."

Monica sighed. "At least take a few courses at the culinary school. If you ever want to do this for a living, you'll need to know more than just cakes. Even a baker has to make more than cakes."

"You think I could make a living at this?" Chandler asked with excitement. "Because I just thought I'd have to keep making cakes for Joey forever."

"Your cakes are really good," Monica admitted. "Better than mine when I was in culinary school, though I wasn't interested in being a pastry chef. Think about it. They have evening classes."

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When the adult school classes ended, Chandler began attending culinary school classes three nights a week. He still went to the therapist, though he didn't really like to talk about it to his friends. They all knew he wasn't smoking any more, the original reason for the sessions, but they didn't ask him about why kept going either.

When the adult school started back up again, Chandler and Joey signed up for another course, this time learning to knit. Joey had insisted it was a sufficiently masculine occupation, since his grandfather knitted—Chandler wondered if that was the same grandfather who had the tailor who felt up his clients—and Chandler agreed since he was becoming less concerned with how things like that appeared. The knitting class had been followed by ceramics, where they had been the youngest students by about two decades. After that, they took decorative wood-burning followed by first aid class—the need for the later had been made apparent by the former. And finally Chandler agreed to attend the home decorating course. Their apartment had never looked better after spending a few Saturdays putting their newfound knowledge to work.

Joey seemed oblivious to the fact that everyone at the adult school seemed to just assume they were a couple. Why shouldn't they? They lived together, took classes together, and spent most of their time together. Chandler actually saw more of Joey now than he had before all of this began. They had class night together, Joey still stayed home the nights Chandler had therapy, and on weekends, Joey made a point to be around to try all the new desserts Chandler was learning for pastry school.

It was on one such Saturday evening, as Chandler practiced making a French pear tart while Joey went back and forth from watching Chandler to watching Baywatch in Spanish, that Joey got a call from his agent telling him that he had gotten a regular part on one of the many long-running cop shows produced in New York.

"I'm gonna play the coroner," Joey said excitedly. "Which means I gotta learn a lot of complicated lines. But the pay is way better than Days and I got a contract for at least two seasons! They're thinking of romantically pairing my character with one of the detectives."

"Wow! Joey, that's great!" Chandler grinned. He dropped the pear he was slicing and gave his roommate a big hug. "We need to celebrate!"

Joey grinned but shrugged bashfully. "Well, I was thinking I could take you out to dinner. You know, now that I can afford it."

"I'd love that, Joe," Chandler said. "When do you want to go?"

"After I hung with my agent, I kind of made reservations for tomorrow night," Joey said. "At Molina's."

"Whoa, swanky," Chandler teased. "All right, it's a date." Joey's eyebrows rose at that and Chandler quickly back pedaled. "I mean, you know, we'll go then."

"I knew what you meant," Joey teased with his crooked smile. "I thought you were getting over your aversion to all gay references?"

"I was, I am," Chandler said nervously. "Sorry. I should just go back to slicing my pear. You like pear tarts, don't you? I don't think these will keep until Monday, so we'll have to eat them this weekend. So if you don't like them, I'll just take them over to Monica and Rachel. Though they've been complaining about gaining weight lately and—"

"Chandler!" Joey shouted. Once he had Chandler's attention, he said, "You're rambling. And I like pretty much anything you make. But if there is enough, we can bring some over to the girls. They told me they've been cutting calories so that they can try out your pastries on the weekends."

Chandler shook his head and went back to work. "Since when are you the stable one?"

Joey laughed. "I'm not. We just take turns. It'll be my turn to freak out over something stupid next week."

"I'll hold you to that," Chandler smirked as he carefully arranged the pear slices into the single serving pastry shells and carefully dusted them with a mixture of sugar, cinnamon and ginger. "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure," Joey said. He went to the fridge and grabbed two bottles of beer.

Chandler wiped his hands on a towel and took a swig of beer. "How come you don't go out as much lately? I mean, you spend most Saturdays home with me."

Joey shrugged and sat on a stool by the counter. "Just haven't felt like it. Girls are complicated. They don't get me at all. They either think I'm an idiot and just want my body, or they want to get married after the first date. And they don't feed me awesome pastries."

"I know what you mean," Chandler said. "Not the just want my body part, but the wanting to get married thing. Even Janice was pushing for a commitment and she was still married to Gary the Mattress King."

Joey nodded in commiseration. "It's not that I don't want to settle down some day. Just not with them."

"Exactly," Chandler said. Chick and Duck came over and Chandler bent down to feed them scraps of pear. "Well, at least we have each other."

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Chandler was ready for their dinner out early the next evening and went over to the girls' apartment to drop off the left over tarts.

"You look really good, Chandler," Rachel told him. "That's a great suit. And it looks great on you. I think you've lost a little weight, even with baking all the time. I would have thought that you would put on weight, not lose it."

Chandler shrugged. "I spend a lot more time on my feet these days, and after spending all that time baking something, I just don't feel like eating it."

"You're lucky," Monica told him. "I had to learn not to eat everything I make."

"Yeah well, Joey's going to have to start watching how often he tests my pastries," Chandler said. "He got a job with a two year contract. That's why we're going out to celebrate."

"You two have been spending a lot of time together lately," Monica commented too casually to be truly casual.

Chandler rolled his eyes. "We always spend a lot of time together. We're roommates and best friends."

Rachael piped up, "No, this is different. I mean, you don't hang out with the rest of us as often anymore."

"Well, who has time," Chandler said. "Between work, and school, I hardly have time to sit around Central Perk all the time. And we see you two all the time."

"But…"

Chandler cut Monica off. "I know what you're getting at. It's not true. Nothing has changed between me and Joey."

"Are you sure, because he never dates anymore," Rachel said skeptically.

"I'm sure," Chandler sighed. "I think I would have noticed."

Monica smiled. "I'm so proud of you, Chandler! You had a whole conversation about the possible gayness of your friendship with Joey and didn't freak out!"

"Hey, that's right!" Rachel said happily. "Next thing you know, you'll be calling your dad up for father son chats."

"Um, well…"

"You called him?" Monica asked.

Chandler nodded. "It went okay. I mean, it's not… easy. But yeah."

Just then, Joey came through the door, looking great in his one suit. "Whoa, Chandler. How you doin'?"

"Joey!" both girls cried with exasperation.

Chandler tried not to blush as he said, "C'mon Joe or we'll be late for our reservation."

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Dinner was really great, and they laughed over some of the more outrageous things on the menu, like a salad made with pig cheese, or the ostrich egg soufflé. By the time dessert came around, they were both happy and relaxed from the wine, though Chandler could tell that Joey had something he wanted to say. They ordered a Sachre torte and cheesecake and traded half way through.

"Neither of these is as good as the ones you made," Joey told Chandler honestly.

"Thanks, Joe," Chandler said and he couldn't help the stupid grin on his face. He held up his Champaign flute and said, "Here's to you and your new job. I hope it goes better than you dreamed."

Joey gave a half-hearted smile but sipped his own Champaign. "Yeah, about that… There was something that I didn't tell you last night."

"What?" Chandler asked in concern. "You did get the job, right?"

"Oh, yeah," Joey assured. "Nothing like that. Contract's all signed and everything. It's just that the detective they want my character to have a relationship with isn't a woman."

"Oh," Chandler said. He wasn't really sure how to respond to that. "Are you okay with that?"

"Yeah," Joey said firmly. "It's not anything I haven't done before." He seemed to realize what he had just implied. "I mean, that audition with the kiss and all…"

Chandler closed his eyes and wondered how he should handle the situation. "Um Joey? I have something to confess."

Joey looked surprised. "What's that?"

"Um… well, a couple years ago… yeah, well I was alone one night and bored. So I decided to Google all of our names. Phoebe, Monica, Ross, Rachel…you."

"Oh yeah? What did you find?" Joey was still completely oblivious.

"Most of it was boring and predictable," Chandler said. "But there was a site… a gay porn site…"

"Gay porn? Why would you…?" Chandler watched as realization dawned on Joey's face. It was a mixture of shock, embarrassment and fear. "You saw…"

Chandler nodded. "I lied about the reason I started smoking again. It freaked me the fuck out seeing you like that. But what freaked me out even worse was the fact that I wasn't disgusted by the whole thing."

"You…"

"That's a big part of what my therapy has been about," Chandler sighed. "My parents made my childhood miserable, and I've done everything I can to separate myself from them. Unfortunately, I separated from myself while I was at it."

"So you are… gay?"

"Probably," Chandler said. "At the very least, I'm bi."

"And you're okay with this?" Joey asked carefully.

"I'm getting there," Chandler said with a rueful smile. "But I wanted you to know, because… well because you're my best friend obviously, but also because I want you to know that I'm okay with it. This acting gig, the videos, whatever. I'm sorry if my fears made you feel like you had to keep secrets from me."

Joey nodded. "I don't anymore. Not really. But when I first moved in, you were pretty obvious about how you felt about that stuff, so I just never said anything. And then, once I knew you'd be okay, it had been so long that I felt like I couldn't tell you without hurting your feelings."

"Have you… have you dated any guys since we've lived together?" Chandler asked.

"A few," Joey admitted.

"Do the others know?' Chandler asked. If he was honest with himself the idea that Joey might have confided in one of them mattered more than it should.

"Only Phoebe," Joey said. "And that's only because Ursula told her. We'd both worked for the same studio. So you really… liked my videos?"

Chandler blushed and stared at the empty dessert plate in front of him. "Yeah." When he looked up, Joey was grinning.

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They strolled back to the apartment together, choosing to walk the fifteen blocks rather than taking a cab or the subway. It was a nice night and they talked about everything and nothing. When they finally arrived home, Chandler opened the door and Joey followed him in.

"That was really a great dinner," Chandler said with a smile. "Thanks." He tried to hide it, but he felt like he was a teenager on his first date. He had butterflies in his stomach. What if Joey kissed him? What if he didn't?

"Thank you for coming," Joey said, smiling shyly. "Chandler?"

"Yeah?"

"Can I kiss you goodnight?" Joey asked. His eyes were more intense than Chandler had ever seen in his easy going friend.

Chandler just nodded.

Joey put his hands on Chandler's shoulder and pulled him close. He leaned in ever so carefully and brushed his lips across Chandler's in a sweetly gentle way, like he was asking for permission without words this time. Chandler closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around Joey's waist as he leaned in for another kiss. Joey obliged, deepening the kiss slowly. Lips on lips at first, followed by Joey's tongue sliding over Chandler's lips, and then they were tongue to tongue exploring each other's mouth languidly. It was hot and it was perfect, and yet, Joey was still careful not to let things get out of control, and when he finally pulled back Chandler almost whimpered in disappointment.

"How you doin'?" Joey asked in that special way of his, but there was an underlying concern in the question.

Chandler smiled. "Just fine, Joey. Just fine."

"Good," Joey murmured and kissed Chandler again.

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They agreed to take things slowly. It was difficult, for both of them, but it was probably for the best. Chandler was still getting accustomed to his new self-image and Joey was not very confident about sustaining a relationship. Neither of them wanted to push things too fast and ruin their friendship, and neither of them was ready to tell the others about their fledgling relationship.

When Chandler's graduation from culinary school finally came, he invited all of his friends to come to the ceremony. In some ways, he was more proud of this accomplishment than he had been graduating from college. For the first time in his life Chandler had found something that he was really good at, something he could be passionate about, and something he enjoyed doing.

So when the others all offered to take him out to dinner after the ceremony, Chandler agreed readily. Unfortunately, everyone wanted to bring a date. Ross was dating some computer geek girl. Phoebe wanted to bring her sailor who was only in town for the week. Monica was back with Richard again. And Rachel was trying to make Ross jealous with some male model she had met at work.

They were in the girls' apartment discussing it the night before graduation. Chandler looked around at everyone and used the only excuse he could think of on such short notice. "Ten people are way too many to get reservations at a decent restaurant."

"Ten people isn't that bad," Ross said cajolingly.

"Wait," Phoebe interrupted. "Ten people? That's assuming Joey doesn't have a date. Why would you assume that?"

Chandler looked around at their friends with a panicked look until he saw Joey's smirking face. "Yeah, Chandler, why would you assume I won't have a date?"

Chandler saw Joey's smile and knew that the Italian was leaving this up to him. They had been dating for several weeks now, but hadn't really talked about how they would get around to telling everyone. Was this the moment?

"Do you have a date?" Chandler asked, matching Joey's smirk.

"I thought so," Joey said.

"So that's eleven people for the reservation?" Ross asked as he picked up the phone to call the restaurant.

"No," Joey said. "That's ten."

"But you just said…?" Ross asked as he looked up at Joey and hung up the phone. "Do you have a date or don't you?"

"I do," Joey said. "So does Chandler."

"So that's twelve for dinner?" Ross said.

"No, ten," Chandler said.

"What?" Ross asked, getting frustrated as evidenced by the high pitch of his voice. "If you both have dates, that would be twelve!"

Monica was the first to catch on. "Unless they are each other's date."

"They are!" Phoebe exclaimed.

"Finally!" Rachel put in.

"Wha—huh?" Ross still seemed to be lost.

"Chandler is my date, Ross," Joey said.

"But that's not…" Ross looked around at the others. They were all waiting for him to catch on, like they had expected an announcement like this. "Seriously? But neither of you are…"

"Aren't we?" Chandler asked.

"But your dad!" Ross argued.

"Is not me," Chandler shrugged. "Did you really think that I needed more than two years of therapy to quit smoking, Ross?'

"What about Joey?" Ross asked.

"Oh he's been bi all along," Phoebe said. "He just didn't say anything so that Chandler wouldn't be uncomfortable."

"How long?" Monica asked, trying to steer the conversation into another direction. Ross would figure it all out eventually. He never coped well with change.

"Since the night we went out to celebrate Joey's job," Chandler admitted.

"The night we asked you?" Rachel said.

"Ironic, huh?" Chandler said with a grin.

"Well I, for one, am happy for you," Phoebe said and came over to give each of them a hug. Then Monica and Rachel did the same, expressing their happiness for the couple. When they were done they all looked at Ross again.

"What?" he said. "Oh. Yeah. I'm happy for you both, I guess."

"Ross!" the girls all exclaimed.

"What?" Ross asked in frustration. "I said I'm happy for them. It's just weird."

"That's okay, Ross," Joey said. "It took us some time to get used to it too."

"Is that why you waited two months to tell us?" Rachel asked.

"That, and we didn't want to say anything in case it didn't work out," Chandler said. "We all tend to get invested in each others' love lives."

"Ross and Rachel," Joey fake coughed.

"Understandable," Monica said, though Ross and Rachel tried to look offended and refused to meet anyone's eyes.

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Chandler's graduation went great and they had a great time afterward. Joey and Chandler weren't overly affectionate in front of the others, but the things they had always done, like hug or put an arm around the other, was now viewed by others in a new light which did change things a little. But even Ross seemed to accept the changes as a good thing after a while.

Richard and Monica walked back to the apartment with them and it wasn't awkward at all. Rachel had decided to go back to her model's place for the night, so it left only the two couples.

"How did all this happen?' Richard finally asked. Chandler looked at Joey and they both blushed, thinking of Joey's porn career.

"It's a story we'll probably never tell," Chandler said. "Suffice it to say, I finally realized I was locking away a part of myself and would never really be happy until I let myself be who I am."

When they got home, they went their separate ways, and Joey kissed Chandler as soon as they closed the door behind them. "I'm so proud of you."

Chandler smiled. "I never would have gotten here if you hadn't pushed me."

"Well get ready for another push," Joey said.

"What?"

"You got your degree, Chandler," Joey said. "Now it's time to quit that job you hate."

"But, what if no one will hire me?" Chandler asked. "I mean, I'm a bit old to just change careers."

"You aren't even thirty yet," Joey said. "And I was thinking of something a little different anyway."

"What do you mean?" Chandler asked as he stepped away to remove his jacket. Joey followed him into the living room and they fell onto their new sofa together.

"I mean, open your own shop," Joey said. "You make better pastries and cakes than any of the shops in the city. I know, I've tried them all."

"Thanks Joe," Chandler said and pulled Joey into his arms so they could cuddle. "But opening up my own business… that's a huge risk."

"I'm making enough now to support us both," Joey said. "And I know you. You've got some great big nest egg tucked away for a rainy day. Use it to invest in your dream. I bet it won't be long before you're the talk of Manhattan. Everyone's going to want a cake from you for all their special occasions. Take a chance. Invest in your dream."

Chandler thought about it for a while. "You're right. I didn't take all those classes so I could keep working at that shitty job. I should do it. Will you help me find the perfect shop?"

"Anything," Joey said. "And I'll even be your first customer."

"Will you be another first for me?" Chandler asked, his eyes boring into Joey's.

Joey raised his eyebrows. "Are you sure? I thought you wanted to take things slow."

"It's been two months of kisses and hand jobs," Chandler said. "I think we're ready to speed things up a little. Come on. Show me just how good you can be in real life."

Joey smiled and took Chandler's hand. "Let's go to bed." Chandler pulled at Joey's hand and tugged the other man into a kiss that was hotter than anything they had shared up to that point.

Somehow they made it to Chandler's bedroom, their clothes strewn in a trail from the front door to the edge of the bed where they now stood. Joey held Chandler tight in his arms, his hands stroking up and down his back in a manner that was both soothing and arousing. They kissed again, and Chandler savored the feel of Joey's cock aligned with his own. This was heaven.

Joey pushed gently at Chandler's shoulders and Chandler obediently sat on the edge of the bed and then scooted his body to the middle. Joey crawled across the bed until he was straddling Chandler's lap. They kissed again and Chandler found himself stretched out beneath his more experienced partner, their bodies scorching against each other. Without breaking the kiss, Joey somehow managed to not only find the lube and Chandler's bedside drawer, but flip the cap open with one hand and coat his fingers. Reaching between their bodies, Joey trailed his slick fingers up and down the crack of Chandler's ass. This wasn't the first time they had played like this, and Chandler was getting used to having Joey's fingers tease his opening. It didn't take long before Chandler's ass was twitching and begging to be filled with something other than fingers.

"Please, Joe!" Chandler cried out. "Please, I want you!"

Joey looked at Chandler's face for confirmation before letting a grin take over his face. Joey stretched out a hand to grab a condom, but Chandler stopped him. They had both been tested regularly, and were both clean.

"Just you," Chandler said with a vulnerability that Joey recognized. He kissed away Chandler's insecurity, pulled one of Chandler's legs over his shoulder and lined up his cock. He took his time pushing through Chandler's virgin muscles. He wanted this to be good for Chandler. He wanted this to be the best sex Chandler had ever experienced. He needn't have worried, however, because for Chandler, it was already the best simply because it was with Joey. It took a few minutes but eventually, Joey was fully sheathed in Chandler's tight heat. They both took a minute to let their breathing calm and to adjust to this newest change in their relationship.

Then Joey kissed Chandler and Chandler reflexively tightened the muscles in his ass and they were both soon lost in the need that was steadily building between them. Joey flexed his hips and sensations washed through Chandler, causing his entire body to spasm. The slow and steady rhythm that Joey set escalated over time until they were both straining, sweaty and begging for release. Joey barely had the presence of mind to grasp Chandler's cock in a tight grip and stroke it in time with his now fast and brutal thrusts.

When they came, they came together. Joey's "hah, ah" noises were echoed by Chandler's keening cries until they were both tensing and coming hard.

"I love you, you know," Joey told Chandler later. He was holding the taller man in his arms, stroking his fingers through sweat soaked hair.

"I know you do," Chandler said and kissed Joey's chest. "I love you too."

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It took some time, but Joey had been right again. Five years after opening Chandler's Cakes and Pastries, Chandler's cakes were the first choice for all of New York's top events. And when Monica finally married Richard, Chandler made a seven tiered masterpiece that was featured in Gourmet magazine.

Ross and Rachel finally got back together, then split up, and got back together, hopefully for the last time. They were expecting their second child any day now, though they still hadn't married. Phoebe married her science geek when he returned from Minsk, and Chandler made another cake for them.

His favorite cake, however, was the simple chocolate cake drizzled with raspberry liqueur and decorated with mocha frosting and fresh berries that Chandler had made for his and Joey's commitment ceremony.

Joey's job had lasted the two years of his contract and before they killed off his character, but he was already getting offers from several networks before his death scene even aired. He'd taken a job on one of the cable Networks for a show about gay life in the city. It was an ensemble cast, but he was one of the principal characters. Ironically, he played a straight character this time. And he did several movies, usually in a supporting role, but that was okay with him.

"Are you ready for this?" Chandler asked Joey. They were due to go to the hospital to pick up their son. They had decided about a year ago to use a surrogate so that they could have a family of their own.

"I think so," Joey said nervously. "He's going to like me, right?"

"He'll love you," Chandler said with a smile and kissed Joey's temple. "You're his daddy, after all."

"No," Joey said. "I'm his Pop. You're his Daddy."

"I stand corrected," Chandler laughed. "I should listen to you more often, you know. You are always right about the important stuff."

"Course I am," Joey teased. "I'm Joey Tribiani. And hey, at least we know now not to leave him on a bus."

Chandler laughed as they grabbed their jackets and the baby carrier and headed out to meet the newest member of their family.

The End