Fan Fiction

Broken Record
By Sedna

I love the song “Broken Record” by Scarling and have had the idea for a few weeks to do something with it, then finally did. One shot; takes place just after the opera.

Just one more drink, and then go to bed
You stared at your glass as I emptied my head
I said that I’m sorry, you said “That’s a shame
I’ll blame those boys with those sweet Christian names”

His gaze seemed to be outlining the champagne glass in front of him. I could almost see the lopsided pencil markings drawn over the cream-colored tablecloth surrounding the base of the glass.

“…and, I mean, it would be one thing if…” My voice simply stopped like a ship without fuel, drifting in silence. Helplessly I held up my hands with the palms skyward.

Fry sipped his drink, uncharacteristically quiet. He lifted his eyes to meet me. “So, then – everything that happened… Not just tonight, but the past few years… It means nothing?”

“No! Not nothing,” I insisted quickly. “I really have been thinking a lot about all this… Us, I guess. You are my best friend. And I -- Youdon’t even know how important you are. I would never want to hurt you or lose you.”


I sighed. “I’m sorry. But no matter how much I like you, and like you being my friend, and everything else that goes with that – I just don’t see anything coming of this.” Guiltily I stared at the floor, remembering the events that had just happened. “I feel horribledoing this after the night we just had, but would you rather I lie?”

“Leela, I don’t get it. You know how much I wanted those hands, and I gave them up – everythingup! – to save you. Everyone walked out of that opera, but you stayed – just to torment me some more?” He shook his head. “I just… I don’t get it. Maybe I amstupid.”

“Itoldyou I was sorry.” Absently I reached up and toyed with one of my earrings, holding onto the blue metal and letting it go. “I should have told you before the opera and stopped everything that happened.”

“Maybe it’s not your fault,” Fry went on as if I hadn’t even spoken. “Maybe it’s those other guys’ faults. Everyone you dated previously hurt you. Why shouldn’tyou worry that I’d do the same? Even though I wouldn’t!” he added quickly.

“Fry, stop. I know you wouldn’t.” But why won’tyou let anything become of this?I couldn’t help asking myself. And I didn’t know. Him chasing me, and me never saying “yes” was a constant. It was our ritual, and breaking it would… Actually, I didn’t know what breaking it would do, but I wasn’t eager to find that out.

It wasn’t that I was afraidof a relationship. Not for myself, anyway. But truth be told, there just wasn’t anything drawing me to be with Fry in that way. He was a friend, a good friend, but that was it.

Pretending there was more would just tear him apart in the long run.

I'm planning for closure with guilt and remorse
You long for moments when love was a source
And if you’re not happy, why do you stay?
Treacherous answers part lips and you’d say…

This was getting old. I’d be glad when dessert finally was offered, so we could be one step closer to leaving. As much as I hated the idea of hurting Fry, I hated keeping up this charade more.

You just were thinking a minute ago how much you liked the familiarity of it, I recognized. Which was true. The every so often stuff wascomforting in its constance, but having a heart to heart like this? Being honest and not being able to brush the whole thing off? Getting more, disarmingly serious?

It was more than awkward – it was painful. I wanted to get out of here as soon as I could. Wonder if I could fake a heart attack without the emergency-bots showing up in time? What if I faked a seizure? Or food poisonin—

Guilt slammed into me like a hovercar falling from the sky. Here I wasboredwhen I was going to be making Fry miserable tonight. Tonight of all nights.

He didn’t seem to notice my getting lost in thought. Actually, I realized, he was pretty pensive himself, using a fork to imprint small dot-matrix patterns into the lone ravioli left.



“Are you okay?”

He nodded automatically. “I was just trying to figure out what time I can get back safely tonight. Right before I left for here, Bender told me he was having a ‘small party’ at the apartment and that I wasn’t supposed to be there.”

I rolled my eye. “He sexiled you again?”

“That’s what I’m thinking, yeah.”

It made me think of something. “Fry, things aren’t always as wonderful and fun as you make them out to be, are they?” He shrugged. “I wondered this when you first got unfroze but never got around to asking. If there was a way to go back to your time… would you?”

Fry blinked, then looked down to the left as he thought.

Oh, this never felt like home”
And you said “Oh, you never left me alone”
And I said “Oh, I would’ve started to drown”
Oh… This record broke on its own

“It took awhile for 3000 to feel like a place I could belong,” he said finally. “I mean, that’s why I was actually happy to be a delivery boy again – it was something from my own time that I could… It was familiar. Something I knew.”

I smiled, remembering one of the early deliveries and the remark about having delivered stuff since before I’d been born.

“But for the most part I felt completely out of place for a long while. I mean, all these new words and customs? Half the stuff I was saying and doing was archetypical—”


“Yeah, whatever. Everything I knew and everyoneI knew died out while I basically slept. And I didn’t know anyone here or how to fit in. It was like being in a foreign country – only without crazy accents and bad water.” He laughed. “Plus being yelled at half the time didn’t help.”

I bit my lip. “I wasa bit bossy at first, wasn’t I?”

“After a while I did enjoy myself. It was actually better than home – I mean, actually being home wasn’t really a ‘home’ home when I was there. Not like here.” He looked at me again. “But anyway. I guess it was like learningto like something or someone, rather than liking it as soon as you see it. Or her.”

“I can’t even imaginewhat it must have been like,” I said, ignoring the obvious hint. “And you know something? Until you, I never gave the defrostees a second thought. It was just my job, what I was trained to do, something to pay the bills. But I mean… if Ihad to go through all that… Wake up in a new time, everyone I knew gone… I’d be so lost. I don’t know how you’ve thrived like you have.”

Surrender or nothing, I’m giving my best
By ripping what’s left from your half empty chest
Tonight I’ll be honest, tonight you’ll be brave
It’s all that I wanted, it’s all that you crave

Fry grinned. “I’ve ‘thrived’? Sounds like small praise there. Changed your mind yet?”

“Okay, just stop right there.” I took a deep breath before continuing. “I’m trying to be honest and nice here, both at the same time – but you’re not really making it easy.”

“I just don’t understand how you can sa—”

I held up my hand. “Fry, stop, please. Let me finish. You have to see it myway for a second. I don’t know how – or why– you think there could ever be anything between us, but there isn’t. We are friends. Good friends. And that’s all. Is that bad? I like you, yes, but I will never love you. I’m sorry. It’s just the way it is.

“You keep after me, constantly. And I’m supposed to politely turn you down every single time. I don’t know how much clearer I can be without getting bitchy. I do notlove you and will never. We’re two totally different people, but even if we were – if something’s not there, it’s not there. Wake the hell up.”

Fry reeled, looking away.

Immediately I felt that maddening sense of guilt again. Why did I have to be so cruel? And, I wondered, why did I have to be put into this position to have to be cruel? When would he just get the point?

“Youdidlove me once,” Fry said finally. “You don’t remember – I don’t either – but it happened.” He got quiet again, and my nerves went on edge. “Remember our marriage?”

How could I forget? What a disaster. And to this day I wished I knew what had happened in full.

“I didn’t trick you,” he continued. “I… Okay. The stars we moved, and then blew up? Apparently I used the gravity pump at some point that mission on my own. And I wrote your name in the sky. I love you, Leela. I did then and still do. And that’swhat you never saw.”

There was no way. He could barely pilot the ship in a straight line, much less… all that. Besides, why wouldn’t I have seen it when we flew back to the stars?

Fry saw the doubt on my face. “I don’t care if you saw it or not. I knowit was. I saw it myself.” Sighing, he sat back in his chair. “Look, I know what the deal is. You only like me when I’m not myself. Is that it? Worm-enhanced or with devil’s hands or moving stars. It’s never me.”

I couldn’t argue, though I wanted to. The guilt was having to move over to make room for a nice big dose of shame.

You’re watching my face; my tears are a strain
Your heart makes a fist and it’s bruising my brain
And if I’m so happy, why do I say
Thoughtless things that linger, rot, and decay?

“You date these guys who just end up hurting you,” Fry continued. “You date them and you rub it in my face, and then they dump you or you reach your limit and dump them. But then I’msupposed to pick up the pieces when you come crying to me? The one you had no problem ignoring and hurting when things were fine?

“Do you know what that makes you? Selfish. And you say Bender and Iare the selfish ones. The only difference between us and you is that we accept our faults. You on the other hand get on your little high horse and pretend to be better than everyone else.”

My head started pounding. It was as if a clamp were being tightened around my temples. I closed my eye.


“…confidentially, I might not make it back to my apartment tonight. Could you walk Nibbler for me?”

I’ll start by not caring what youthink!”

I love what you’ve become.

“…the only excuse I could think of involved ghosts. I knew he wouldn’t buy it… I flipped a coin. It came up heads and we went out.”

Sothat’swhy you said you had to meet that ghost!”

“Leela? Leela! Are you okay?”

I shook myself out of my reverie. Fry was staring at me, worried. “You okay? You were gone for a short while there.”

“I’m fine,” I said, although I wasn’t. My migraine had worsened, pulsating with every word I spoke.

“You’re crying,” Fry said softly.

I felt my cheeks with the back of my hand and was startled to realize that he was right. Somehow I had been crying without even realizing. “It’s… uh, nothing. I have a headache,” I muttered, reaching into my purse for some Extra-Cedrine.

Was I even aware of what I’d done? All those times I was unnecessarily cruel – why didn’t I think?

And you said “Oh, this never felt like home”
And you said “Oh, you never left me alone”
And I said “Oh, I would’ve started to drown”
This record broke on its own

An awkward silence.

“I have to ask, one last time. Is this it?” Fry looked around. Yes, we were on a “date,” I supposed, but things weren’t going well. And there wouldn’t be another one after this, I knew. So it didn’t much count.

“What do you want?” I lifted and dropped my shoulders. “False hope, or the truth? Would it be better if I went out with you because I felt sorry for you? Is that any better than being honest, which you can’t seem to understand anyway?”

“Brutal honesty isn’twhat I’m looking for.” Fry raised an eyebrow. “And neither is not-so-subtle excuses and total lies.”

I shook my head. “What exactly isit you want? We’re at a stalemate here. I’m damned if I say no, and I’m damned if I say yes just because I feel bad. So what in robot hell is the point here?”

Fry looked away. “I don’t know either.”

And you said “Oh, Christ, hang up the phone”
And you said “Oh, I guess I’ve always known”
But I said “Oh, never leave me alone”
Oh, this record breaks on its own
Oh, this record breaks on its own
Oh, this record breaks on its own

We really couldn’t find much more to say after that, so the rest of the so-called date passed in uncomfortable silence. We split costs, and outside, went our separate ways.

The whole way walking, I was replaying the entire ugly scene in my head. I knew I’d been right. But then again, so was he. Where were we left but in this same old argument? We were like a skipping MP3. It wasn’t really either of our faults, but I still felt bad.

Somehow I lost myself in musings so much that I wandered onto another street and walked three blocks out of the way before turning back around.

I picked up the wallphone the second I got in and dialed before I realized what I was doing. Luckily, Fry was there and answered. “What?” He looked pissed and was talking quietly; Bender was passed out on the sofa behind him.

“I just wanted to say I’m sorry. For… well, for everything.” For not feeling the same, for being so rude in so many ways, for not at least giving it a try…

Fry cut me off before I could explain. “Don’t. There’s nothing to apologize for. I get it, all right?” Pausing, his expression softened. “I guess I’ve always kind of known it would never work. But you know me. I’m stupid and stubborn. I guess I wouldn’t let myself get the damn point.” An angry look briefly passed over his face, so quickly I almost didn’t see it. “Anyway. I’ll stop bothering you now.” Quietly and expressionlessly he hit the off button, and my screen went blank.

I shook my head and sank into the chair, resting my chin in my hands. What if I don’t want you to?I couldn’t help thinking.

This record breaks on its own
This record breaks on its own.