Delicious Surprise, Part 20
Disclaimers in Part One!
This chapter goes up to a PG-13 for adult materials.
Lilah didn't know what to say. "I'm sure he was a great...uh...man."
"He was a fine man." Leela said without hesitating. "He meant everything to your grandmother, and to me."
"What happened after the war ended?"
"The only thing I could think to do was get away. As far away as I could..."
"I now pronounce you woman and amphibian. You may kiss your smizmar."
Leela managed a smile as Kif and Amy's lips met. Any effort to clap was impeded by the gigantic bouquet Amy had selected for her, so she just cheered as the twosome raced back up the aisle under a shower of orchid petals.
Her thoughts turned skyward as everyone else in the wedding party milled into the Wong's cavernous ballroom. There was an adjoining solarium, and somehow she found herself in it instead, staring at the tiny blue dot that was the Earth.
Down there, politicians, people, aliens, and even mutants now, were struggling to rebuild the government and New New York. New New New York, she supposed.
She had spent two more weeks bedridden at the insistence of the hospital. Her mother had visited once, explained that her father had wanted to have a traditional Viking funeral in the sewers. But first there was a period of mourning to attend to, one Leela couldn't participate in, as it was a wife's duty to take care of such matters. Her mother had disappeared, with a vow to meet her a month later for a mass ceremony.
She had been desperate to leave the planet. The once-deposed Mayor Poopenmeyer, returning to his office, granted the entire PE crew temporary passports. Kif, who had inherited the Nimbus from Zapp by default, flew them to a respite on Mars.
Amy and Kif had somehow, finally, made plans to marry; the ring he had carried through months of hardship rested upon her finger. The Wongs had been waiting for years for Amy to return with anything that came close to resembling a man, and were delighted to arrange a quick wedding for their daughter.
Despite her festive surroundings, Leela felt melancholy. Before her marriage, she would have enlisted in some foreign war; destroyed herself, and joined her father in the depths. She rested her hand upon her rounded belly and knew that only two things were keeping her alive; one of them was her baby.
There was the other. "I'm okay."
"Oh, I know; you're just resting, right? Cause you're tired?" She nodded, and his arms were around her shoulders.
"I'm just wondering how they're getting along down there."
"As long as we're okay, I don't care."
"Did you see the apartment before we left?"
"It's gone," he said sadly. "They were picking stuff out of the rubble; they found my NinSega system." He lowered his eyes. "They're still looking for things. People."
"I thought so." She paused, then wondered. "What is left?"
"The Statue of Liberty. Most of the Head Museum. Elzar's was wiped out. They haven't found Elzar yet, either."
She turned to rest against his chest. "Let's talk about something better. What are we going to call this baby?"
"When I was a kid, I had names picked out for my kids. I didn't think I was ever going to have them, so I wrote them down and put them in my wallet." He retrieved the paper and read. "Wang Chung for a boy, Katrina for a girl." He could make out Leela's unhappy reflection in the glass.
"I don't know." She thought for a moment. "If it's a boy, I'd like to name him after my father."
He rubbed her round belly gently. "Are you sure you want to be surprised?"
"They can tell you everything about your baby nowadays; as long as it's healthy, I'll be happy with either a boy or a girl." Her grip tightened on his arm. "You know that there might be something else we have to worry about."
"Sure...college tuition! Woah!"
"Fry, I meant that the baby might have an extra arm, only one eye...anything. Even a tail."
"Are you axing me if I'm going to love our kid no matter what he or she looks like?"
"I'm sorry. I guess I'm used to people looking at me like I'm some kind of freak."
"Our kid's going to be perfect," he declared, as though that closed the argument.
They both knew that, thanks to Leela's imprisonment, she hadn't had the best of early prenatal care. The mutant nurse had cared for her in the early months of the rebellion, but in the bombings that followed the Leela family had been isolated from the rest of mutant society. Most of what she had eaten had gone to stimulate the baby's growth, and very little of the poison had reached Leela's lungs. She had experienced a scrubbing to rid her body of what had rested on the surface. The regimen the doctors had put her on had caused her to gain weight, something she was happy about for once.
In total, she had been pregnant for six months, and now she finally looked it. This month would be the last in which she would be allowed to fly, and she was making the most of her trip, even if it meant putting up with the Wongs.
"Do you want to eat? You shouldn't be shy, the Wong's cook made tons..."
She smiled. "I'm not really hungry, but I should eat. To keep up the baby's strength and all."
He was relieved to see that what she had said wan't exactly true; she really was hungry. Plates of food disappeared as they were placed before her.
She heard the Professor knock his skull against the side of his jar. She picked up a fork and clinked it against the jar, drawing everyone's attention.
"Thank you, Leela. Good news, everyone! I'm proud to announce that I'm retiring to a life of study in the Head Museum, effective as of my return to New New York."
"What?!" Fry cried out. "But Professor, now that you're only a head, you've got practically forever, right?"
A sad look crossed his features, but it only flickered there for a moment. "Yes, but I would prefer to do that in solitude. The Head Museum has promised me a spot in the solar they're building to victims of the war. I want the two of you to take over my business."
"But what about Cubert?"
"When the war began, I sent him to boarding school on Alpha Centauri. He'll be coming home on holidays, and I expect that you'll be there to oversee him then."
Leela gave Fry an uneasy look; it was all happening too fast for her taste, but Cubert was sort of like Fry's little brother. "Of course we can."
"Good, then it's all settled."
"'All settled'! Hah!"
Fry watched Leela scrub the floor of their cabin in the Planet Express Ship. Two days after Kif and Amy's wedding, the Wongs had 'politely' suggested that it was time for Amy's friends to leave the planet. Since this was as good as a note from immigration, Bender, Leela, Fry, Zoidberg, the Professor's head, and the Conrad family found themselves returning to Earth.
"Leela, are you sure you want to do that?"
"Wash the floor; I mean, with the baby and all..."
"Fry, I'm perfectly capable of doing everything I used to do. I just have to do it more carefully. I know that I'm pregnant..."
"Boy, are you ever!" She gave him a funny look, and he corrected himself. "I mean, you're not fat or anything. I bet there's twins in there or something!"
She frowned at him and was about to say something, but a sudden stirring within made her catch her breath. "The baby!"
"What?!" He panicked.
"No, Fry, it's just kicking!" She reached for his hand and placed it over her stomach. A few moments later, a tiny thump echoed beneath his palm.
"It is!" He stared in surprise at Leela's belly, as though it were a revelation that there was an actual baby in there.
Zoidberg came upon this happy moment a few seconds later. "Ahh, I see the nesting process is going well."
"Nesting process?" Leela asked. "I'm only six months along."
"Ah, but six months is the primary gestation period for mutants. I wouldn't worry though. The mother usually experiences extreme hunger, followed a few days later by the uncontrollable urge to clean her living space. Then the child begins to quicken, which leads immediately to the breakage of the water!"
As if by magic, a puddle of fluid formed at Leela's feet.
"Can't the autopilot get us to Earth any faster?!" Fry shouted.
"Not without risking a crash landing," the Professor sternly corrected him.
"Don't worry, mon," encouraged Hermes. "The first one always goes real easy."
"You haven't had a second one!"
>From within the sick bay, a low, almost guttural, moan came from Leela.
"Fry, we're ready for you! Get your tukkus in here, why not?"
Fry gulped, then pushed his way into the sickbay.
Bender stood nearby, videotaping the proceedings at Leela's request. The lady herself didn't seem able to protest too clearly; coated in sweat and panting, with Zoidberg on the business end of her sex.
"Are we almost landing?"
Fry shook his head. "We're about five minutes from Earth."
"I can't have the baby in the middle of space!"
"It would make him or her a legal citizen persona non grata!" explained Zoidberg, as he withdrew a bloody claw. "I can see the head! Push!"
"Push, damn you!!" He pounded his claw against the tray.
"Can't you just push it back in?"
"No! The baby is almost here!"
Leela gave in, pushing on a mighty sob. Suddenly, the pressure in the cabin changed.
"We're getting close to landing!" she panted. Fry's eyes were transfixed on the head emerging from his wife. He could see a face, then two eyes, then a mouth.
"Oh, uhgh! Uhgh!" Bender blindly pointed the camera, his visor whirring up and down as though he couldn't decide between looking away and just looking.
"Fry! I need your hand!" Zoidberg shouted. Fry placed a hand on his baby's head, watching as the shoulders emerged.
"One big push, Leela, why not?!"
And, as the ship touched down, Leela gave that push, and her child was delivered into the arms of Zoidberg and her husband.
"OhmyGodohmyGod!" Fry blurted. It was beautiful, and disgusting, and the most wonderful thing he had ever seen in his life. The baby in his arms blinked up at him through a layer of gore.
"What do we have?"
Zoidberg glanced quickly as he snipped the umbilical cord. "It's a girl!"
"A girl, Leel. We have a girl..." He carried the baby over to her and gently laid the infant on her shoulder.
A river of tears streamed down his wife's face as she cradled the child to her breast. "She's beautiful. Oh, Fry, she looks like you!"
"She got your hair."
"Not really. See? It's sort of red..."
A few minutes passed by, the room silent except for Zoidberg's rummaging and the tiny, squalling noises of the infant. Leela figured out that the child sought sustenance, and gently lifted her to he breast. Silence enveloped the cabin when the child connected to her mother's breast. Leela lay, enraptured, almost shell-shocked by the fact that she had gotten exactly what she had wanted out of life. Finally.
Fry surprised her by leaning over then and placing a slow, thoughtful kiss on her forehead. She surprised him in turn by raising her mouth to his. It was a weak but gentle kiss, fulfilling them both at the moment.
"Do you wanna hold her, Bender?"
"Me? No way...keep that thing away from me!" He looked down to see the baby in his arms. "Oh man! Ugh..." The baby cooed, and he watched her face, surprise on his features. "Hello. Uh...I'm your Uncle Bender. I'll teach you to smoke and chase loose women! No, wait, that ain't gonna work..." Bender giggled, and he smiled. "I think I'll call ya...meatball."
Fry and Leela watched proudly as Bender cradled the infant.
"She's about six pounds, right?"
"Why?" Fry asked.
"I was wonderin' how much she'd go for on the black market..." In a trice the baby was back in Leela's arms.
"Bender does have a good point, Fry. She doesn't have a name yet."
"I still like Katrina."
"I can't call her Morris."
"Tush!" said Zoidberg, still carefully cleaning Leela. "Why don't you take the "I" from Fry and the "Lah" from Leela and call her Lilah? It was my grandmother's name, it was."
Fry and Leela looked at one another, then at the cooing infant in their arms. "Lilah Fry...I like it." Leela smiled weakly. "What about a middle name?"
"There's sort of a way you can still name her after your dad. When I was a kid, the female version of "Morris" was "Maureen"."
Leela's face brightened. "Fry, you're wonderful!" She kissed him once more, and they were so enraptured by the moment that her sudden wince didn't break their embrace.
"Don't mind me!" Zoidberg insisted.
It was Lilah's turn to cry now. "You guys are the best parents!"
Leela smiled weakly. "Not always. We've tried."
"I've been thinking -" as she wiped her eyes. "-Do you think my grandmother would like to see me?"
A look of concern crossed Leela's face. "She's a very old woman, Lilah. I don't know if she could stand the old memories..."
"There's more to it, isn't it? What happened between you and Grandma?"
Leela's expression was one of deep reluctance. "I love my Mom. But some things can't be forgiven."
She turned and walked back into the building.