Bring on the Banter

TOW Chandler Crosses the Line
The West Wing

Okay, in this, Donna is friends with the whole FRIENDS gang. It doesn’t matter how she knows them. Oh and the Friends live in Washington. Other than that, both worlds remain exactly the same.

This fic is based Friends episode: The One Where Chandler crosses a line’ – season 4.

“Snap! Ha ha! I win again!” Cheered Monica from her position on the couch. Ross, Donna and Rachel glared at her.

“Maybe is you didn’t stick your nails in our hands to prevent us from ‘snapping’ the rest of us would actually have a chance!” Ross told her angrily.

“Maybe you should stop being such a baby!” she retorted. “Ohhhh, I’m so scared” she mocked as he gave her ‘the hand.’

“Will you guys shut up for a minute? I’m trying to write a song. Listen.” Phoebe began to sing.

“Little, tiny Tarzan, swinging on a nose hair. Swinging with the greatest of ease… Darn it! Now, I don’t know who to get to the next verse.”

“Oh, you could just go uh, "greatest of ease…” Ross began to sing, miming playing the air guitar. “BAH-bah-bha-bhannn." Then go right into it.”

“Wow. That actually works!” Phoebe nodded at him impressed. “Wait! How do you know about ‘bah-bah-bha-bhan?”

“Well umm, y’know, I used to play.”

“Oh yeah. The keyboards, right?”

“Yeah, just a little in high school, but then I really got into it in college. I mean that’s-that’s when I really found my sound.”

Monica who was taking a drink as Ross spoke, burst into laughter, snorting into her drink.

“Oh God! Orange juice just came out of my nose, but it was totally worth it. Oh my God, I completely forgot about your sound.” She grinned widely remembering what a loser her brother had been back when they were younger. She frowned slightly, not a lot had changed.


“He used to lock himself in the basement for hours. No one was every allowed to hear, ‘The Sound’.”

“I wanna hear ‘The Sound’"” Donna grinned at him enthusiastically.

“Really? No. I mean, nah, I haven’t played in so long, and-and, well it’s-it’s really personal stuff, y’know?” Ross spoke hesitantly.

“Come on, play that funky music white boy.” Phoebe encouraged him.

“No, I can’t. I mean my keyboards are all the up in my apartment… yeah, okay!” Ross jumped off the couch and practically ran to the front door.

“Don’t do anywhere!” He shouted behind him. “I’ll be back soon.”


Later that day

Everyone was gathered around Monica and Rachel’s living room, waiting for Ross to begin playing.

“Okay, guys. Ready…” Ross smiled nervously, and took a deep breath.

“All right! Bring it on, you…” Chandler cheered.

“Here we go.” Ross placed his hands on the keyboard and played…. one note.

“You know. I’ve never played my stuff for anyone before, so it’s important that-that you understand it’s about communicating very private emotions.” He pressed down on another note, its sound echoing around the room.

“Y’know, umm, you should-you should think of umm, my work as wordless sound poems. That’s what I’m…”

“Oh, for the love of God. Play dammit!” Chandler interrupted him getting impatient.

Ross nodded and began to play. Well if you could call it playing…

He pressed a key, which began to play a backbeat, then as the background music played, he inserted the sound of a barking dog, a mooing cow, a laser beam, someone coughing, a jackhammer, a doorbell, a police siren, a ray gun, breaking dishes.

Finally he finished. Everybody sat in stunned silence, at a loss for words.

“That was-that was, umm… terrific.” Monica mumbled eyes wide. Donna smiled at him widely, unable to think of a response that wouldn’t upset him.

“Really, bitchin’!” Chandler encouraged.

“Wow, it was so—wow!” Phoebe looked at him, her eyes glazed over in wonder.

“Really! I mean, really!” Ross asked them excitedly.

“Yeah,” Rachel nodded encouragingly, “I mean, you should play in public!”

Ross gave them a smile filled with gratitude “Wow! Thanks, you guys. That’s uh-” He took a quick breath to get his emotions under control. Donna bit her lip, trying to prevent a giggle from escaping. “Ohhh, I wanna, I wanna play you another piece! Umm! Uh-oh! I left my uh, helicopter sounds on another disk. I’ll be right back! Okay?”

He ran to the door, but paused before leaving the room. “This is so nice, I’m—I am so…” He left quickly so that wouldn’t see him beginning to break up.

“Oh God bless my dad sound proofing the basement!” Monica praised looking gratefully at the ceiling.

“Oh, I can’t believe I ever let him touch me with those fingers.” Rachel cringed, shuddering. Donna grinned at them in amusement, not having known Ross for very long, so able to laugh at his annoyances from a distance.

“What are you guys talking about, I loved it!” Phoebe announced. “It was soo moving. Oh, plus it’s just, it’s so different from the stuff you usually hear.”

“You mean like, music?” Chandler asked.

================================================== The next day - Central Perk

Ross was using his keyboard to alter his voice, making it sound like a computer. “Electrifying.” Pressing a button, the ticking of a clock suddenly began. “Emphatic time-time-time…”

Monica grimaced and looked at Rachel and Phoebe. “Y'know, there’s a Starbucks about three blocks down.”

Phoebe pushed Monica back onto the couch, preventing her from leaving. “It’s so inspired! Look at him! Look at him go!”

Ross was just finishing his song. Ending it with a crash. There were a few hesitant claps from the audience, mostly because he had finished.

Ross speaking into his microphone with the mechanical voice again said, “Thank you guys-guys-guys…”

“Hey, aren’t you up next?” Monica asked turning to Phoebe.

“Oh no,” Phoebe shook her head, “I’m not playing tonight.”

“What? Why not?” Rachel inquired.

“I can’t follow Ross!” Phoebe looked at them with a shocked expression. “It’d be like those bicycle ridding chimps that followed The Beetles. No.”

“Phoebe, Ross sucks!” Monica stated.

Rachel added, “Phoebe, the place has emptied because of him.”

“Oh my God, he’s not even appreciated in his own time. I would give anything to not be appreciated in my own time!” Phoebe cried.

Rachel and Monica looked at each other, and agreed with each other silently.

“Okay. Umm, Phoebe,” Monica began, “you suck too.”

“Yeah, Phoebe you’re… awful!” Rachel confirmed.

Phoebe smiled at them, giving them each a hug. “Awww, you guys. You suck too.”

======================================================= A few days later - Central Perk

Ross approached Phoebe after he finished his set. She had been watching the whole thing with rapt attention. He took a seat next to her on the lounge.

“Ross, you were brilliant! I mean, if we knew any kings or Presidents or anything, you would definitely be playing for them, at all kinds of major events!” Phoebe announced admiringly.

“Awww Pheebs, I dunno…. Really, you think so?” Ross’s eyes widened at the thought of playing for royalty.

“Yeah, definitely! It’s just too bad that we don’t any Kings, or you know, court jesters…”

“No, we only know Donna.” Ross sighed. “Wait a second… That’s it! Donna!”

“What? What about Donna?” Phoebe shouted.

“Pheebs, do you really think I’m good enough to play for the President?”

“Of course, Ross.”

“Then I’m going to go ring Donna. She knows the President. Maybe, she can get me into the White House. Maybe even if it’s just in the foyer for starters. She can cleverly arrange for the President to walk by… and bam! There you go, suddenly I’m in!”

Ross stood quickly. “Okay, Pheebs, I’ve got to go to work now. But as soon as I get home, I’m going to ring Donna and tell her. Thanks so much.” He gave her a quick hug and exited the room.

Phoebe remained seated on the lounge, flipping through one of coffee house’s magazines, stopping every so often to read an article. She looked up when Monica greeted her as she entered the coffee house.

“Hey, Mon. You’ll never guess what? Ross is going to ask Donna to play at the White House!”

“What!” Monica replied stunned.

“Yes, because we were talking you know about Kings and court Jesters and anyway, we thought that it would be great if he could share his music with the President! And Donna’s heard him play, there’s no way that she’s going to be able to turn him down. He’s a musical genius. So gifted.” Phoebe sighed; thinking of how much better Ross was than her. Shaking herself, she brightened up, happy for her friends’ success.

“Oh my God. I have to ring her. Make this horror stop!” Monica’s expression was one of pure horror as she imagined Ross playing his cow noises for Ross.

She pulled out her cell phone and called Donna.

“Hi, Donna? It’s Monica. Yeah, hi. Okay, I’m just calling to warn you that sometime today Ross will be making a call to you. Yes, hew wants you to use your influence in the White House to get him an audience with the President. He wants to share ‘the Sound’ with him. Yes, I know. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. So yeah, just try to let him down lightly. Okay, that’s all. See you later. Bye.”

She sighed as she hung up the phone. “Well I’m glad that’s fixed.” Monica looked up to see Phoebe staring at her in anger.

“You’re really so jealous of your brother’s musical talent that you would sabotage him in this way. I am shocked and appalled!”

Ross dialed Donna’s number and waited for her to answer the phone.

“Donna, hi. It’s me, Ross.”

“Oh hi Ross. How are you?”

“Good, thanks. Umm, I have a favour to ask you.”

“Okay, I’m listening… but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to help.”

“Okay, well you’ve heard me play so you already know what I sound like. But Phoebe and I were talking today and she thought that it might be nice if I shared my music with the people working in the White House. And you know, if the President happened to overhear about my performance and could fit it into his schedule to walk by, then so it.”

“Oh Ross. We’d love to have you play but...” Donna turned her attention away from the phone for a second as she heard her boss shout for her. Rolling her eyes, she turned her attention back to the phone where she heard Ross speaking.

“Really? Oh Donna I can’t tell you how happy I am top hear that. Okay so I’ll come by some time tomorrow morning. Thanks, you won’t regret this.”

“Ross? Ross? Are you there?”

“Okay, guys. Ready?” Ross smiled at his friends who had come to support his big performance. “Let’s go in.”

They were all gathered just outside the White House, Ross with his portable keyboard tucked safely under his arm. They entered and suddenly were surrounded by five security guards.

“I’m sorry, sir. But please put down the object, take a step and place your hands on your head.” One of them said to him.

“What? What do you mean? I’m here to play for the President!” Ross shouted. “Look, just go ask Donna Moss. She works in the West Wing…”

Monica slipped past the group and to the sign-in desk. “Hi my names Monica Gellar,” she told the woman sitting there, “would you be able to contact Josh Lyman’s office and tell her that I’m here. I don’t think that she knew I was coming.”

The woman nodded at her and dialed. After speaking into the phone a few times, she looked up to Monica. “She said that she’d be down in a minute to sign you in.”

“Okay, thanks.” Monica made her way back to the group, where the security guards had discovered that Ross was not in fact a terrorist.

“Donna, will be here in a minute.”

“Actually, there she is now.” Rachel said pointing at their fast approaching friend. Donna halted in front of the group, gasping for breath.

“Oh my! What did you guys do? There have been security alerts all over the building!” Donna finally managed to pant.

“I was just coming into set up, when these guys” Ross gestured at the guards who had returned to their posts, “decided that I was some type of terrorist.”

“You were coming to play? But on the phone yesterday, I said that you wouldn’t be able too.” Donna frowned.

Ross looked at her puzzled. “But I heard you. You said that you’d love to have me play.”

“And then I went on to say, that unfortunately you won’t be able to because the vetting process is much to difficult and we only have performers on very special; occasions and they are already booked.” Ross’s face fell.

“Oh I’m sorry, Ross.” Donna looked at his crestfallen expression. “I’m sure that you would have been wonderful” she continued, ignoring the grimaces she could see on Chandler and Monica’s faces.

Ross sighed. “Okay then. I guess we’d better get going then. No point hanging around if I’m not going to be playing. Thanks anyway Donna.”

Ross turned to leave.

“Donnatella!” Somebody shouted out Donna’s name. She turned to see Josh running up to her.

“Josh? What’s wrong? Are you okay?” the words flew from her mouth in a rush.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he said, “it’s the President.”

Everyone gasped and Donna’s hand flew to her mouth. “Oh no! What happened?”

“What?” Josh looked puzzled for a second before he realised what they were all thinking. “Oh, no - nothing like that. It’s just he wondered why you had to race out of the Oval so quickly and so I explained to him what happened…” he trailed off, glancing at her friends, who stood sheepishly, listening in the conversation.

“Anyway, he’s got it into his mind, that somebody has come to play for him, and so,” Josh announced dramatically, “he would like for you and your friends to go up into the West Wing and entertain his staff.”

He turned to Ross and Phoebe, who had brought her guitar incase Ross needed backup. “So what do you say?”

Ross gaped at him “You mean? Yes, yes!”

Donna turned to Josh, pulling him in for a quick hug. “Thanks.” She made sure the others weren’t listening, and then whispered quietly. “But are you sure. I mean I told you the other day what he sounded like.”

Josh grinned at her. “I think that this will be rather entertaining. Anyway, everybody thinks that you recommended this guy, so nobody is going to trust your taste in talent EVER again.”

Donna’s mouth fell open and she hit him across the back of the head. “Oww, Donna!”

“You deserved that. Com on everybody, let’s go in.” She took a deep breath and led her friends into the West Wing, Josh walking alongside her grumbling about losing brain cells.

Donna had set Ross up in the middle of the bullpen, a few people had stopped work to come and listen to him. But once he started people flocked from everywhere to see where the terrible noise was coming from.

Donna looked up to see CJ advancing on the group. Fortunately Ross was so caught up in his music that he was oblivious to anything around him. “Joshua Lyman! I just know that this is YOUR doing!”

Josh smirked and wrapped his arm around his assistant’s shoulders. “Actually CJ, you can thank Donna here, for discovering this twenty-first century Mozart.”

CJ looked shocked and Donna closed her eyes in embarrassment. “He’s a friend…” she began.

“Well as a friend you should have told him that he sucks.” CJ stated. She stood beside the group to listen to Ross’s ‘sound’. “He’s pretty cute though,” she commented. “Is he single?”

Donna nodded, not daring to speak, incase she burst out laughing. Ross had just started mixing his fire engine noises with the one of the ducks quacking.

Suddenly a silence fell over the West Wing. Everything was quiet. Well, except for Ross and his ‘sound’. Ross seemed to be oblivious to everything around him.

Rachel quickly walked to the power point and unplugged Ross’s keyboard.

“Hey!” he shouted, and then noticed the silence surrounding him. His eyes widened as he noticed the cause of the silence.

“Mr…Mr President” he stammered.

“Good morning, Mr Gellar, is it?” The President walked up to Ross shaking his hand.

“Donnatella? Where are you? We must let everybody see the lovely lady who brought this man into our corridors. Everyone, make sure you remember this name. Donnatella Moss.” The President grinned at her, his hand on her shoulder with an evil glint in his eye. Donna flushed a deep red.

“Okay, young man. Let’s see what you can play.” The President took a few steps back and went to stand beside Donna. “We are going to be having a LONG chat later, about lying to one’s friends.” He told her smiling.

Josh let out a burst of laughter. Donna elbowed him in the stomach.

“What was that Josh? You would like to come also? Excellent” The President grinned at them, “I’ll see you both tonight at eight o’clock.”

Then they all stood and listened as Ross shared with them, ‘his sound.’

The Next Day – Central Perk

“Hey!” Ross said to Phoebe cheerfully as he sat down next to his friend.

“Hey! You were really great! You were really, really great! So impressive. I mean, you already know that because you played for the President and all…”

“Yeah I did. But thanks, thanks. So Monica tells me that you don’t really want me to play anymore. Because of my talent. Is that true?” He asked her questioningly.

“Well, kinda. Yeah.”


“Yeah, I-I can’t—I mean y’know I was trying to be really y'know okay and upbeat about it, I just—I feel so dwarfed by your musical gift. I…”

“See but, Pheebs that-that is the exact opposite intent of my music. You know that my music is meant to inspire. If it really bothers you this much, then I promise, I won’t play anymore.”

“Oh no. No-no-no, don’t do that! How could I live with myself if I knew I was depriving the world of your music.”

“Yeah, okay.”
That afternoon – Central Perk

“Oh my God, he’s lost it. He’s totally lost it.”

Monica reached up and removing the ear plugs from her ears. “What?”

“Phoebe, his music could not get any worse. There are rats in the basement that are hanging themselves.” Donna responded.

Ross finished his piece with a bang, which was greeted with some applause.

“Thank you, thanks.” Ross said, and then approached the girls sitting down next to them. “Yeah, I lost it. Y’know, I’m not gonna play anymore,” He looked at Phoebe, “would you, can you finish my set?”

“After that?” Phoebe asked “Hell yeah! No, I mean, sure, if I can help.”

Phoebe stood up with her guitar and made her way onto the stage to begin playing. Ross stood and moved to sit alongside Donna, Monica and Rachel.

“Yeah, like I could lose it.” He laughed.

“What?” Rachel asked

“I played bad on purpose guys.” Ross whispered to them, looking up to make sure that Phoebe didn’t overhear them.

The girls laughed.

“Okay, so you were trying to play bad this whole time.” Monica asked him relieved.

Ross frowned. “Yeah—no, just that last song.”


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