Famous Last Words
It was all going according to plan…
Phillip J. Fry, delivery boy less than
extraordinaire, had reached a level of boredom that could have been
fatal on some planets. (Namely Caffeinated V, where an omnipotent ten
year old insisted that everyone be hyper all the time. If they
weren't… well, you know the rest.) Anyway, Fry was bored. He
wanted to scream or dance or start a fire or write an off-Broadway
play filled with bad spelling and dubious characterization.
Luckily for the world of theatre, Fry
was also lazy. He really, desperately wanted something to happen,
anything to relieve the mind numbing tedium. 'Leela,' he decided,
'would probably be having the time of her life here.' Perhaps he
should have invited her.
In the time he'd spent pursuing Leela,
Fry had, despite her claims to the contrary, learned a thing or two.
Principal among these was that he needed the element of surprise on
his side. The gorgeous captain was getting far too good at shooting
down his plans before he could actually do anything about them. Fry
felt he had discovered a useful weakness in the skintanium armour
that was Turanga Leela: the unexpected.
She had no skill at all in being
spontaneous. Fry figured that that must mean she would struggle with
rejecting him if he came up with a brilliant idea off the top of his
head, something she didn't see coming. So far, that theory hadn't
really gotten him anywhere. The trouble was, he wasn't particularly
adept at coming up with brilliant ideas on impulse. In any case,
spontaneity had never yet worked for any of the bad guys trying to
So with all that in mind, Fry
impulsively switched tactics and devised an actual, carefully laid
out, detailed plan with writing and thinking and everything. He
unfolded the worn piece of paper in his hand.
1. Have idea.
Admittedly, it wasn't a great plan in
the beginning, but as per usual, TV had come through for him. A
commercial had come along making it a much better plan. The highly
exclusive "public" rocket skating rink was going to open
its doors for people under the rank of "Mayor's aid" for
two nights only. Fry hadn't thought much about it until Leela had
spotted the ad. Immediately, she starting gushing about her childhood
in the orphanareum again, but just before he dozed off, she mentioned
how special it was when she'd gotten to rocket skate at that same
arena. It had ended badly of course, Leela having all the luck of one
of those dogs named 'Lucky', with her having been locked in a
bathroom stall by a well-meaning janitor. Before that though, it had
evidently been magical. After the sixth time she casually mentioned
it, Fry, ever alert to Leela's needs, picked up on the cue and
suggested that they go together, but Leela vetoed it immediately,
saying it would be impossible to get tickets.
Enter Philip J. Fry, master of the
The problem was that mastering the
impossible sounded like a lot more fun than it actually was. "You
know," he began, heedless of the irritated grumbling of the…
person-like thing in front of him in line, "This is the Future!"
Fry always capitalized the word. "Shouldn't there be some sort
of futuristic magic trick to make waiting in line fun?" When no
one responded, Fry tapped the growling being on what he assumed was
its shoulder. "Hey! Listen, don't you think you guys should have
"No." It responded in a voice
so threatening that it would have made Darth Vader sound like a
"Really?" Fry bubbled, happy
that someone was talking to him. Conversation was slightly more
interesting that staring at the back of the weird thing's head.
"NO." Three lesser beings
fainted. The compassionate New New Yorkers pushed their limp bodies
out of line.
"Really?!" Fry repeated with
an amazed shake of his head.
"Noooo." It breathed.
Somewhere, Morbo shivered.
"Huh. Well, I do."
Fortunately for Fry, the carnivorous being was on the Scarsdale diet.
It turned away from him and Fry gave up.
Four hours later, he'd finally made it
to the head of the line, hoping desperately because scalping was a
more literal profession than it had been in his time, and hopping
desperately because he really had to pee. "Please, tell me
there's tickets left!" he cried, lunging forward to prevent
anyone from taking his turn.
"Yes, sir. 'There's tickets
left.'" It quoted him obediently. "Would you like to
purchase passes for rocket skating?"
"Yes! Yes! I would!" Fry
asked for three, one for the first night opening and two for the
second. He winced a little when the vendor quoted him the price, but
it would be worth it for Leela. Fry carefully stored the tickets in
his underwear. It was the only place Bender didn't rifle through
regularly, to the best of his knowledge.
Fry really, desperately wanted to look
good rocket skating. It would all be pointless if Leela was
completely delighted with the tickets only to be completely
embarrassed when Fry did something stupid like breaking every bone in
his body, or worse, breaking every bone in her body. Besides, that's
what always happened. Well, not breaking bones, unless Bender or Zapp
Brannigan were involved somehow, but Fry did always seemed to botch
it, often in new and creative ways, and Leela would get angry and
say, "This is why I tell you no!"
Sometimes she apologized after, in that
'let's just be good friends' kinda way. Fry really, desperately
didn't want to hear that message again.
So, he would practice. On the first
night, he would strap dangerous, potentially explosive, high speed
skates to his feet and see what happened.
"No pain, no gain"
An hour before the first skate was
scheduled to begin, Fry paced outside the door to the rental shop,
unwilling to waste a single minute of precious ice time trying to
figure out how one went about getting into rocket skates. Roughly
every thirty seconds or so, his tension increased until he was nearly
vibrating. When a voice spoke from behind him, he metaphorically
"Oh, oh my. Someone's certainly
looking forward to a peaceful rocket skate." Fry spun and fixed
wild eyes on the tiniest, most fragile looking human being he had
ever seen. He was wearing some sort of uniform and smiling warmly at
Fry in a manner that suggested he had all the time in the universe.
Fry was all too aware he did not.
"Are you-" Fry winced when
his voice jumped an octave. He swallowed and tried again. "Um,
hi. I was just wonderingifyouweretheguywhorentsskates?" The
words ran together as a direct result of the adrenaline surging
through his body like a hyperactive seven year old on a pixie stick
The elderly man tipped his head
quizzically and looked thoughtful for a long moment before saying
with great gravity, "Pardon?"
"Aieee!" Fry screamed, hands
tripping over each other to jam themselves in his mouth to muffle the
sound. Sanity was good. After a minute, Fry managed to settle himself
enough to ask, "Skates?"
The increasingly maddening old guy
watched him placidly, wearing a vaguely puzzled expression. "Pardon?"
he asked again, if anything slower and more gravid than before.
Fry ground his teeth in frustration.
Suddenly, a message from his brain informed him that his hands hurt.
He thought about this, and then took them out of his mouth. "Skates?"
he tried again in a last ditch effort.
"Skates?" Old Guy mumbled,
before brightening, "Yes," he crooned in a distinctly
condescending tone. "You put skates on your feet to go skating.
I'm in charge of renting them to skaters." He smiled kindly up
at Fry. "Would you like to see my pretty skates?"
Fry nodded childishly; if nods could
lisp sweetly, this one would have. Victory!
"That's great. Let me just get my
key." He held up an industrial sized key ring that Amy could
have worn at a nightclub while Fry slumped to the bench, head in
Twenty minutes later, the would-be
rocket skater was ten bucks poorer and busily fawning over the
hard-won skates. "Let's see, foot holes, warning label, sharp
metal blades, warning label, filthy grey laces, warning label, liquid
hydrogen ignition thingie, scary red button. Fry looked closely at
the red button. It was very red. It looked like exactly the sort of
button that might cause things to happen. Red sorts of things. He
tipped the back of the skate towards his face and let his right hand
meander towards the button in a casual, "I'm certainly not going
to press this tempting red button" sort of way. The element of
surprise was clearly the domain of the delivery boy, he decided and
hit the button.
He was very surprised.
"YOU COMPLETE MORON!" yelled
Mom's recorded voice from the skate. "IF YOU ARE STUPID ENOUGH
TO PRESS THE RED BUTTON" and the voice melted abruptly into the
most grandmotherly voice imaginable, "then I'm afraid I must
inform you that you are using these quality, hand knit rocket skates
at your own risk. Take a bit of advice from a weary old grannie and
kiss your fat donkey carcass goodbye."
"Aw, she's such a dear," Fry
sighed, "Kinda reminds me of my own grandmother-" His
thoughts suddenly took him in an NC-17 direction and he hastily
jammed his hand into his mouth and bit down hard, distracting himself
Other excited skaters had started to
arrive by this point and Fry watched them carefully to see how they
got the skates on. Closest to him, a wiry, white haired man with a
distinctly upper-class accent was chatting to his fur-wearing
"So I said, well, murder is a
crime naturally, but we are talking about poor people here, and you
can't expect them to function in civilized society."
"Wow," Fry interjected,
"you're that judge guy who hangs out at all Bender's court
appearances. What are you doing here?"
The woman looked at him askance, but
Judge Whitey soothed her, "It's okay, Muffy, you have to expect
these kinds of things to happen. That's why were here after all, to
slum with the common people." He didn't address Fry at all, but
Fry didn't notice or care.
"What a world we live in," he
murmured in delight, "Your friend wears fur stoles and titanium
rings, my friend is titanium and sells stolen furs to crime rings.
Yet, here we are together. Beautiful, really." It was really
just as well for Fry and Bender that the couple had decided to slum
in higher circles.
Shrugging off the encounter, Fry turned
back to the problem of getting the skates on. It seemed to him no
different than putting twentieth century skates on, so he picked one
up and started to slide his foot in.
"Aaaiieeee!" Fry stopped,
surprised as a man threw himself over a bewildered person and grabbed
Fry's skate. "Dude, are you crazy?!" he demanded, aghast.
Hesitantly, Fry said, "no?"
"You haven't got the safety on!"
The big guy shifted on Fry's lap, making him very uncomfortable
before flicking a small switch. He got up and they both breathed a
little easier, though for very different reasons. "Seriously
man, you've got to be more careful. You coulda done some major
"Er, thanks," Fry muttered,
hoping Competent Sports Man would just go away.
"No problem, little man," he
replied to Fry's chagrin. C.S.M. flashed a perfect smile at the girls
tittering at the scene before continuing. "This your first
"Uh," Fry swallowed hard,
"First time for what?"
"R.S., dude." The redhead
stared at him. "Rocket skating!"
"Oh, oh! I get it!" Fry
laughed nervously. "Yeah, it is." Fry really, desperately
did not want to ask for the help he really, desperately needed.
Fortunately, he didn't have to.
C.S.M., with a flirty grin to the women
watching him, was quick to volunteer. "The safety stays on while
you're not on the ice, that way you don't burn holes in things, or
people." Seeing Fry's glassy stare, he added, "That's bad."
"Right, right," Fry nodded,
"So now I put the skate on?"
"Sure thing!" C.S.M. talked
him through basic safety procedures so Fry wouldn't blow himself into
"a pile of little dudes", then demonstrated how to lace the
skates. By the end of the lecture Fry was reluctantly grateful to
Competent Sports Man, who's actual name, it turned out, was Butch.
The delivery boy much preferred the name C.S.M.
He let his guardian go to the tender
mercies of every 20 something straight female in the rink and
approached the ice. Taking a moment for a short Leela fantasy, Fry
stepped onto the ice… and went down like a ton of bricks. Big
As he lay on the welcoming, cement-like
ice, Fry heard an unwelcome voice bellow, "Dude! You gotta take
the guards off first!" followed by admiring giggles.
It was perhaps the longest three hours
of his life. Once he'd gotten the guards off, and became used to the
weight of the rockets, it didn't go too badly. He stopped slamming
violently into the ice and even managed to skate backwards for a
while. Fry's optimism had nearly returned in full force when he heard
"Mommy? Why isn't that man using
It was lucky for all concerned that
C.S.M. had not been the one to point it out. With indescribable
embarrassment, Fry suddenly understood why he was being passed by
children and the elderly alike.
He didn't want to take the safety off.
He really desperately didn't want to take the safety off, but Philip
J. Fry also really desperately wanted Turanga Leela. He flicked the
If Fry had been capable of coherent
thought, that thought would have run somewhere along the lines of,
'What homicidal maniac decided to wreak his sublime vengeance on the
world by attaching rockets to ice skates, which are already plenty
dangerous, thank you very much!'
However, Fry lacked both the
inclination and the capacity for such a thought. His actual thought,
in the closest possible transcription, went
Fry had been leaning his weight ever so
slightly forward when he activated the rockets, sending a message to
the skates that he wanted to go faster than he wanted to go…ever.
The compact rockets burst into action with an impressive roar. As a
direct result, poor love-struck (and how!) Fry screamed the scream of
the damned as he went into warp drive across the ice.
The only thing that saved his life from
a nasty end at the hands of a concrete barrier was a nasty fall onto
the ice. For what seemed to him like a long time, he lay there,
feeling the overhead lights stab into his brain, trying to figure out
who he was and why he was sprawled on something cold and hard.
A shadow blocked the light from his
eyes, forming a glorious halo around someone's beautiful head. A
dreamy smile touched his lips as he recognized Leela. "I can't
believe you would do something like this," came her astonished
voice. 'Funny, she sounds like she's got a head cold." His
analytical mind wanted to study the problem further, but it was
easily voted down by the part of his brain controlled by hormones.
Just about all of his brain really.
"C'mon Leela," he chided
lightly while the world sparked and spun around them. "You know
I'd do anything for you, except bathe everyday."
"That can't be good," Leela
muttered, though she sounded even stranger than before.
"Does anyone really bathe every
single day?" Fry tried to defend himself, "Half the time
we're stranded in the middle of nowhere with strangers trying to kill
us! You can't really expect-"
Before he could really get into his
rant about unrealistic expectations, Leela ran her hands over his
head and across his chest, cheering him up considerably. "Whoa,
Leela!" he couldn't keep the lascivious grin from sauntering
over his face, even though she had really hairy knuckles. "Not
that I mind, baby, but isn't this a little public for-?" Wait.
Where was he?
"You are one funny little man,
dude," chuckled the now intimately familiar, intensely hated
Heedless of his burgeoning collection
of blunt force trauma, Fry bolted upright and rolled out from under
the tender administrations of Competent Butch Man, er, Butch
Competent Muscles, er Sporty Muscle Bag, er... Fighting back the urge
to wretch, Fry pressed his face into the cool steadying surface
beneath him until his chilled forehead ached.
"You okay, budster?" C.S.M.
asked in infuriatingly genuine concern. Fry blindly waved an arm in
what he hoped was a vaguely reassuring manner. It worked. "Glad
to hear it. He's okay, everybody!" Sparse claps and a few
half-hearted cheers broke out, followed by a chorus of skates being
fired up. Fry discovered where he had been storing that last little
shred of dignity by listening to the anguished shriek as it died.
By the time, Fry dragged himself home
to collapse on the floor of his shared apartment with Bender, he had
revived enough of his battered psyche to feel vaguely self-satisfied.
Though he had become more intimately acquainted with the ice, boards
and Competent Sports Man than he had with some of his old
girlfriends, it had been worth it. In the last ten minutes of the
skate, Fry had learned just enough steering tricks to be able to do
laps. It was the most glorious accomplishment of his life by a wide
margin, and, sadly and pathetically, that did not strike him as sad
or pathetic in the least. He didn't really hurt that much, and
tomorrow, he thought blissfully, as well-earned sleep claimed him,
tomorrow he'd nonchalantly present Leela with the invitation of a
"The Best Laid Plans O' Mice and
Men Gang Aft Aglay…"
…and an ugly morning too it was
for Fry. He had not felt all that badly before crashing the night
before, but that was simply because muscles are hive animals, and one
of them is always slow and pokey, holding everyone else up. That's
why they most often wait until the morning after to inform you that
you are a colossal idiot.
Fry woke up to the miserable cacophony
of nearly 700 muscles making clear to him why they felt he was an
amazing, colossal idiot.
He tried to say 'ow," but he was
not up to the task at all.
"Uhnnnnn," he moaned
plaintively, really, desperately hoping Bender would hear it and
rescue him, until he realized what he was hoping for. "Nvrmnd,"
he sighed to no one, having used up all his vowel strength in his
first plea. Fry set about apologizing to each of his muscles until
they decided to help him fall out of bed.
Eventually, by some unholy aid, (you
know the bending unit I mean), Fry made it in to Planet Express where
he found a convenient space of linoleum to be very, very still on
until Leela strolled in, whistling merrily. The sight of him lying on
the floor put a stop to that rather quickly, a fact that his ear
"Fry! What in the name of Douglas
Adams happened to you?!"
Right. Talking. He remembered doing
that. One of the face parts was involved somehow. As Fry tried to
piece together the lost art of conversation, Leela started prodding
him in much the same manner as C.S.M. had the evening previous. This
time he was fairly certain it was Leela anyway.
Fry would have been thrilled beyond the
dreams of base jumpers everywhere had not his rebelling muscles
interfered. Being pawed by C.S.M. had actually been a more
pleasurable experience. He wanted to cry, and would have if only it
wouldn't have meant his immediate death.
"No blood, no broken bones…"
Leela looked into his eyes. "Hangover?" He could have
denied it, but he would have had to come up with another lie to avoid
ruining their magical evening of happy happiness. After organizing a
resistance force to counter the rebellion, Fry tipped his head in
assent and watched mutely as all sympathy faded from Leela's face.
"On a Tuesday night?" she
demanded, not quite as incredulous as Fry wanted her to be.
"I had a really good reason,"
Fry began weakly.
"Which was?" Leela asked,
never moving her eye from his face.
"Ummm?" he offered hopefully.
The cyclops rolled her eye and stalked out of the room.
Just when he thought he knew what
feeling miserable was like, he found out he was wrong. His right calf
jabbed at him in scornful agreement. His spirits lifted almost a
picometre when Leela returned a minute later with a wet cloth, a
glass of water and a couple of Trylenols. Opiates for the muscle
She lifted his head and gave him the
pills, washing them down with the water. With almost unnatural
strength, Leela pulled him to his feet and helped him over to the
sofa. Once he was lying down, she brushed his tousled hair from his
forehead and placed the damp cloth where it would be the most
soothing. Fry tried to send her gratitude and love signals with his
eyes, but her receiver was down.
"You are so lucky," she
chided. In that moment, despite everything, Fry had to agree. "Hermes
is on his one day mandatory stress leave and the Professor is getting
his hips upgraded. 'The Captain,'" she muttered, switching oddly
to the third person, "is feeling lenient today, so you're gonna
get off." Fry completely misinterpreted that remark, so it was
just as well the analgesics had gotten bogged down in the trenches of
his stomach lining and blinding physical pain kept him mute.
Leela frowned down at him with such a
serious expression that he felt a jolt run through him. "We all
need a little stress reliever from time to time, Fry, but when it
starts to affect work, it's getting out of hand. Be careful."
With a friendly pat on the arm in parting, Leela left him alone to
She thought he had a drinking problem?
Leela thought he had a drinking problem?! It wasn't beyond the realm
of possibility, Fry had to admit, but still! Utter dismay conquered
any last thoughts he had of sticking it out until the date. It was
over. He had blown it, big time. Instead of a once-in-a-lifetime
dream date, Fry had gotten a humiliating lecture from one of the few
people whose respect he actually wanted.
Really, desperately wanted, and no
chance of that now he realized.
When Amy wandered in, mid-pity wallow,
she hardly noticed him.
"Hey, Amy." His voice sounded
strange to his own ears, like some depressed stranger had borrowed
his voice box. He felt the absurd urge to toss a nickel at himself.
"Hmm? Oh. Hey, Fry." She was
obviously in one of her low-key moods and that suited him just fine.
"K'mere for a sec." Amy
glanced at him vacantly, then wandered over.
Shifting wearily, Fry fought back an
unmanly whimper as he dug the hard won passes out of his pocket.
"Some guy dropped off a couple of rocket skate tickets. Why
don't you show 'em to Leela?"
The intern smiled brightly. "Oh,
hey! I love rocket skating! Two tickets?! Maybe Armando-"
Fry tried to sit up in his alarm,
regretting it fiercely a moment later, but Amy didn't register it.
"No! Uh, I mean, you know, maybe you need a girl's night out or
"With Leela?" Amy asked,
faintly skeptical. He shot her a pleading look and she relented.
"Alright. Well, whatever. I'll go ask her." Without another
word, she grabbed the tickets and left the room.
"See ya, Amy." At last Fry
let himself sink into the embrace of the coffee (among other
things)-stained couch. He started to drift off, despite the nagging
worry that things would be even worse when he woke up again. Fry
really, desperately tried to be happy that Leela, at least, would
have a great evening, but he really, desperately failed.
"I'm just saying, it's not like
him!" Leela shouted over the noise of the happy, animated crowd.
"Yes, and you keep saying it,"
Amy replied, rolling her eyes cutely in her own well-practiced
technique. Leela frowned at her, unsatisfied.
"Well, I'm worr- mildly concerned
about him, that's all."
"He'll be fine, Leela," she
insisted, "he always is. You can't honestly think Fry's a
Amy gasped as she narrowly avoided
tripping over the perfectly level surface of the ice. When she
steadied herself, the cyclops still looked miserable. Surprise,
surprise. "I wouldn't say so normally, but he was a complete
mess this morning. Fry looked like he'd been playing Twister: F5
Edition with Zoidberg again, only without the smell, thank goodness.
Besides, he's so helpless against Bender's influence." Leela
looked completely anxious, and it was killing Amy's good time. "I
just don't know what's going on with him, and I don't like not
knowing…" Leela trailed off, staring into space. Even
without looking, the cyclops easily dodged a mitten that had gone
astray. Melodic Asian curses whispered in Amy's jealous ear.
"Leela, even Fry understands the
difference between a robot and a human. He did really well in the
"Things You Must Never Do for Bender" course that Hermes
set up," she offered helpfully.
Leela's moody expression continued to
stand in the way of Amy's fun, so she switched tactics. "Look
Leela, every man has his off days. Every once in a while, even
Armando X. Cruz gets all melty, and not in the good way." She
felt she'd made some progress when Leela's lips tensed just enough to
add 'confused' to the thesaurus rich levels of unhappiness they were
"There's a good way to be
Amy lips did a few contortions of their
own, investigating the many flavours of the word, 'lecherous'. "Oh,
yes," she sighed. "That's why I only date him on every
second Tuesday in months with the letter 'A' in them." Leela did
not press her for details.
"Maybe you're right," the
cyclops announced in the manner of someone trying to convince someone
else of her sincerity while feeling entirely insincere. "I'm
sure Fry'll be fine. He'll be up and around by now anyway, and after
all, why should I throw away my entire evening just to chide him for
being so miserable?"
Amy nodded. "That's the spirit!"
she replied supportively, all the while really desperately wishing
she hadn't accidentally dropped her little black book in a duck pond
that afternoon. It was either invite Leela as Fry had suggested or
pick up some random hot stranger, and she just wasn't in the mood to
put in that kind of effort today.
"Except, except that that's just
the sort of thing I would do," Leela finished doubtfully. Amy
blew out through pursed lips in irritation and Leela shot her an
The older woman fired up the rockets
and launched herself into a delicate spin that Amy couldn't have done
if her social life depended on it. Leela came out of the spin and
returned to her easily. "It is wonderful to be here, with the
cool breeze and the raw, scorching Freudian power under my feet."
With a sincerity that startled Amy, Leela added, "Thanks for
inviting me, and tell your parents I said thanks, too."
She frowned at the cyclops, "Why?"
Leela shrugged, "Well, I know
they're incredibly rich and all, so it wasn't hard for them to get
the tickets, but it's still a nice gesture. You've got great
parents." Amy wasn't particularly self-aware, but she knew she
didn't want to hear about how great her parents were. Leela's eye
took on that watery quality that usually warned of an impending bout
of orphanarium-inspired self-pity.
"The tickets aren't from my
parents," she said quickly, hoping to turn the tide. "I
don't know where they're from actually." At Leela's surprised
brow-wrinkling she added, "Fry said some guy dropped them off.
He's the one who suggested I invite you." Amy hoped that would
be some consolation for the cyclops. But she didn't seem consoled,
she seemed shocked.
Leela gasped dramatically. "So
that explains it then!" Then she immediately calmed, adding
nonchalantly, "I mean, what are the odds of you inviting me out
on your own whim."
Amy was hurt, but not surprised. She
patted Leela's arm in a sisterly manner. "Don't feel that way,
Leela. It's not like your so freakish looking that I wouldn't be seen
in public with you." She glanced around to make sure none of her
cotillion friends were around before smiling kindly at the
"All you need is a little make up,
and a better hair cut, and maybe lose a few pounds er," Some of
the hostility newly radiating in the air caught Amy's attention but
she couldn't stop herself from adding, "and you really should do
something about that unibrow…" Finally, Leela's furious
stare bored a hole into her armour of apathy and Amy managed to trail
off in a verbal equivalent of her cursed clumsiness. Judging from
Leela's expression, this conversation was not going to turn the tide
and make it a fun evening. Nearly frantically, Amy tried to find
something positive to say. After a few seconds, she blurted, "And
you're such a good skater! Makes you look much younger," she
added brightly. To Amy's intense relief, Leela winked in surprise and
a reluctant smile crossed her face.
"I guess, I guess I am a good
skater," she murmured, almost shyly, as if it was some sort of
revelation. Amy knew Leela was very intelligent, and intense in every
sense of the word. She was the only person Amy had met who could take
down a Vampiric Richard Simmons clone without unattractively
retching, yet Leela could completely fall to pieces over a more or
less sincere compliment. She watched in strange fascination as
Leela's face began glow with defiant pride. "Yeah!" she
yelled, startling more than a few skaters, "I am a good skater!
You hear that, jerkwads?!"
Amy was quick to downplay the grinning
lunatic beside her. "Ignore her. She's off her meds. I've never
seen this woman before in my life," Amy hissed out a litany of
Leela either didn't notice or didn't
care about their staring, launching herself into the air with a
jubilant leap. Amy couldn't help but feel a bit of envious adoration.
"Physicality is definitely your friend," she grudgingly
muttered as Leela circled back.
"I've always had a bit of a knack
for sports," the cyclops announced cheerfully, forgetting her
anxieties, at least for the time, "provided they aren't heavily
dependant on depth perception or teamwork. C'mon! Let's skate!"
Without waiting for Amy's consent, Leela snatched hold of her arm and
began dragging her forward.
"Okay, okay! Spleesh! Leela, let
go!" Amy squeaked in terror before she managed to find her
precarious balance. They skated together for a while in silence,
Leela in a state of near rapturous joy, Amy breathing heavily as her
heart fell back into its normal rhythm.
A guy swooped in front of them before
turning to skate beside Leela. "That was suh-weet, skater babe!
Where'd you learn to slag a hanky like that?" While Amy tried to
recover from the slight of having Totally Hot Fantastic Stud
completely ignore her to talk to Leela, the cyclops had launched into
her life story.
"-so I attached the laser cutters
to the sewer boots, and wallah! Cheap and highly destructive skates!"
"Wikipedic!" Totally Hot
Fantastic Stud, Amy noted with distaste, was practically drooling.
Typical of Leela to blow it, though, with all that talking.
"-and so he told me I would have
spend the entire summer re-paving the courtyard. That's how I picked
up my first applied trade, too."
Amy decided to intervene in the
borefest. "Leela, why don't you introduce me to your charm-"
That did it. She had taken her delicately slanted eyes off the ice,
and the long threatening, terribly patient, sword of Damocles
dropped. Amy dropped too, just flopped down on the surface as though
gravity had suddenly remembered that she had stolen it's boyfriend.
Fortunately, she'd been slightly ahead
of Leela and so missed badly scorching her arm in the rocket's flame.
Unfortunately, she'd been slightly ahead of Leela and so did not miss
tripping the cyclops, causing her to slam face-first into the
rock-hard ice. THFS naturally escaped unscathed.
"Gnarly! Are you still biting?!"
He bellowed, calling out to Amy as he turned Leela over.
"I'm fine, I'm fine!" she
waved him towards Leela. Fear seized her heart and she felt colder
even than the icy landing would justify. Even someone with the
medical expertise of Zoidberg could see that it had been a bad fall.
She burrowed her head in her hands. Leela had not even had time to
"Is she okay?!" Amy shrieked,
when no answers were forthcoming. Voices clamoured around them, but
she could not pick out Leela's from among them. "Leela? Leela?!"
"Easy, easy. Can you stand?"
Amy uncovered her face and allowed a woman to haul her to her feet.
She couldn't even see Leela's head for all the worried people peering
at her. Suddenly, someone gasped, "She is messed up! Look at her
eye!" She'd fought back a wave of panic before she understood
the message behind the horror.
"She's only got one eye!" A
rush of sympathetic mortification washed over her as the anonymous
chatter began flying.
"What on earth is it?"
"No, keep the children back!"
"Some sort of monster-"
Amy instantly repented of every unkind
word she'd ever sent in Leela's direction. "Get the hell away
from her if you're not going to help!" she snarled, shoving
bigots out of the way. Some of the crowd began to take their
thoughtless gossip elsewhere; others turned their attention to the
attractive, enraged Asian who had lapsed into Cantonese curses.
"What, are you a friend of that-"
"Her name is Leela, you a-"
"Ow." Amy spun in a circle
and eight hands reached out to keep her from falling again at the
breathy, patently anti-climactic sound. Leela didn't even sound
"Leela?!" Amy shrilled,
elbowing an idiot out of the way so she could finally see what had
happened. Blood, was her first thought and it sent her into a spiral
"Whoah, dudette," THFS
murmured to her, "You better sit down before you fall down. I
got this covered." He gestured toward the benches. Amy continued
to stare at the streaks of blood covering Leela's face. Her eye was
half-lidded and already beginning to swell. 'She's gonna be purple
and lumpy for days,' Amy thought, distressed.
"'my," Leela slurred her
name, "Amy, I'm fine. I just need to sit down." The intern
noted that there was no way Leela could get more sat down, but she
didn't say anything. THFS was supporting the sprawled woman with one
arm as he dug through a first aid kit.
It was only then that Amy realized that
he worked at the rink. A few feet away, two more rink guards were
watching anxiously, one holding a bulky two-way radio and the other
trying to clear the scene. Totally Hot Fantastic Stud was proving to
be very good in a crisis, and Amy filed away that thought for further
More employees of the rink rushed onto
the ice, sliding with practiced ease even with the heavy medical
equipment they were carrying. "I'm alrigh-" Leela slurred,
clutching her head in obvious pain. She began trying to get up, but
was quickly forced back to her sitting position.
Amy moved forward to help, but was lost
as to what exactly she should do. She noticed that someone was
awkwardly trying to unlace her deactivated skates and instantly took
over the task, glad for some way to help. Amy's fumbling had little
to do with her klutziness and everything to do with the adrenalin
pumping through her blood.
Leela's skin had taken on a
distinctively grey tone and she wasn't talking nearly enough for
Amy's liking. The observant woman had not missed the concerned
glances flying back and forth where Leela couldn't see.
After what seemed like an hour, she
managed to work the large skates off Leela's feet. They looked
terribly cold on the ice, even with the hideous thick plaid socks she
"Boots," Amy told them, "I'll
get the boots!" before sliding wildly though the crowds to where
they'd left their gear. After a quick debate, Amy kicked off her own
skates and slid into her shoes, grateful that she'd worn rather
grippy flats that evening. The ice was rough from the skates and
surprisingly easy to walk on. She grabbed the boots and cut straight
through the crowd, heedless of the wild maneuvers she was causing.
When Amy returned, she was startled to
find Leela being escorted off the ice, walking mostly under her own
power. "I have your boots," she said quickly, rushing
beside them. For a second, Leela peered at Amy through the narrow
slit her eye had become, as if she'd didn't quite understand. Then
she smiled with an incomprehensible affection for the clunky footwear
and tried to take them.
"Just wait, wait now, 'til we're
off the ice." One of the medical equipment guys said firmly.
Amy nodded quickly, and clutched the
boots to her chest. With the blood wiped off her face, Amy could see
the scratches that had caused them. Leela had evidently slid a foot
or two when she'd fallen. The eye would be black for sure, but it was
globviously still working. It was the head injury now, that was
scaring Amy, but Leela's colour had improved and the skate guards no
longer looked so worried.
"Ma'am?" Totally Hot Charming
Bedside Manner Stud called to Leela. "Ma'am, I need you to give
these awesome rockers behind me permission to give you a shot of the
Anti-Concussion stuff. It'll make your brain feel totally hearty, and
I promise it won't hurt nearly as much as the brash crash did."
Leela nodded her permission silently,
but the man patiently kept asking her to repeat what he was saying
until they were satisfied she understood. The cyclops improved
rapidly after the injection, wondering about her skates and
expressing her dismay at the spectacular way she'd humiliated
herself. Politely, most of the employees excused themselves to file a
coniferous forest worth of incident reports. Amy would have protested
Leela's claims of embarrassment, but Bedside Manner Stud beat her to
"Oh, man, you have totally no idea
about humiliation, babe!" He grew suddenly less boisterous,
"R.S. is a radical, but dangerous sport: accidents are bound to
happen." He laughed suddenly, "and you really are a
punktacular skater compared to most. Just yesterday we had this one
red-headed spudman, and he was hopeless." BMS nodded and grinned
crookedly at them. "I mean, really, "Little Dude was
cruising all over the place, crashing and falling, didn't know the
first thing about R.S. Wouldn't give up though, said he had to make a
miracle for his chickita." Amy glanced nervously at Leela, who
looked like she'd been slapped in the face by Gamera, both literally
"Did you catch his name?"
BMS man shrugged, "Even if I did,
I'm too much of a gentledude to tell you, sorry. Nice little biter,
though. I figured he'd be here tonight actually, but I haven't seen
him. Bet he woke up with one ripping hydrogen ignited R.S. hangover
though." Leela choked quietly as Beside Manner Stud laughed
again. "Poor guy, we didn't even have to clean the ice, 'cause
he did it for us." Amy smiled back at him, or rather, she bared
her teeth in a hideous parody of a smile, really desperately wanting
him to stop shoving the truth in their faces like a British nanny of
"So, um, is it all right if I just
get her home then? Or should we maybe go to a hospital?"
"She's seems to be alright now, so
you can take her home, but it that headache gets worse, or if she
nauseous or disoriented later then she oughta get that checked."
"She," came a nearly audible
growl from the multihued cyclops, "would like to keep skating,
if it's all the same to them.
"Shmeesh, Leela, you've got to be
crazy." Amy began, but Leela cut her off in a manner so quietly
threatening that it briefly took the cute out of Amy's 'do. Even
Totally Hot Charming Bedside Manner Stud seemed to lose some of his
masculine charm. He quickly spotted another dude in distress and
excused himself for his next heroic mission.
"I'm skating, Amy, and I'm going
to love it more than Bender loves stealing." There was nothing
weak or disoriented about that declaration, so Amy wordlessly pulled
out her skates.
True to her word, Leela skated until
last minute of the skate, fearlessly speeding around the area,
exploring and experimenting with the power of the skates. The
intensity of it frightened Amy, and she didn't really understand why
going home after a head injury was so completely unacceptable. She
tried really desperately not to look worried as she watched the
beauteous ferocity of Turanga Leela finding magic, surrounded by the
unkind whispers of the world.
The faint hiss of a door sliding open
stirred Fry from his light doze. Contrary to his usual habits, he had
shown up quite early for work, despite being immersed in his body's
ongoing civil war. He had slept hardly a wink last night and that was
only partly due to the fact that Bender had declared it Mexican
Fiesta Night, purely to spite his Cuban neighbours. Naturally, war
broke out and the robots had settled it in what Bender claimed was a
time-honoured tradition: a yodeling contest. After Bender had been
arrested for violating his court ordered singing abstinence, Fry was
left alone with his thoughts. Ten minutes after that unbearable
silence, he'd dragged himself out of bed and trudged wearily to work.
Fry really, desperately wanted to know
if Leela's evening had been as awesome as he had intended, but he
wasn't exactly sure what he was hoping for. In theory he wanted her
to come in, radiating joy, but ... it had been without him. He tried
to push the selfish thought away. Something good oughta come out of
all this misery, and his great plan was ruined either way. "Oh,
please, let her be happy," he sighed wishing Bender was there to
pull him out of this funk.
A whisper of lime-green fabric and the
heavy soft thuds of a major pair of boots alerted him to Leela's
approach. He tried to smile, but regret and nausea turned it into a
sickly grimace. It really was a good thing he was far too manly to
cry. She came nearer and he snapped his eyes shut, pretending to
sleep so he wouldn't have to pretend to smile. Thud, thud, thud,
thump. He didn't have to see Leela to know she was watching him.
She looked down at Fry with unguarded
fondness, a warm smile lighting her face despite the way it caused
her skin to tighten painfully. Bruises striking enough last night
were positively vivid that morning. The angry red scratches and dark
blue colouring had sent Nibbler into an alarmed frenzy and belied
Amy's best efforts to cover them with makeup. Leela had greeted the
intern's unexpected arrival that morning with bemused acceptance. Amy
had squeaked in dismay upon first seeing Leela, but then said nothing
more about her appearance. Instead she'd practically ambushed her
with foundation, powder, blush and substances Leela couldn't guess
at, let alone afford, for nearly an hour before Leela had finally,
gently pushed her away.
"It's fine Amy, there's nothing
else you can do. Some things just take time." Leela didn't
understand Amy's actions at all, no more than she understood Fry's
anonymously giving her the tickets, but she accepted it with
gratitude nonetheless, trying to reassure Amy that everything would
be fine, that one didn't study Kung Fu without earning a few bruises,
and that as long as Zoidberg was nearby, a purple faced, purple
haired woman wouldn't stand out from the crowd.
Amy hadn't looked convinced, had in
fact worn the same uneasy look she'd sported throughout the rocket
skate, but Leela didn't worry too much about that. Tomorrow she would
remember the way she'd humiliated herself, the way people had stared
and whispered, the way they always stared and whispered.
Today was for Fry.
So now she stood, watching him as he
pretended not to notice her, something she'd done to him many times
in the past.
What to say to him?
Another awkward few seconds and she
smiled again, this time mischievously, coming at last to a decision.
A couple quick strides and she flopped down on the couch where he was
sprawled, half landing on his feet and causing his eyes to fly open.
"Leela! Oh, I didn't see-"
And that was how long it took for his
eyes to communicate with his brain, and then his brain to his mouth.
"Wha-?! What happened to your
Not a bad reaction time, considering
Leela beamed at him before pretending
to look exasperated. "Fry, nothing happened to my face. I only
have one eye. Count 'em, one."
He stared at her, slack-jawed as he
tried to process this bit of information. Finally, cautiously, he
asked, "And... you we're always ... that bluey-blacky colour."
Leela shook her head in amusement. "'Cause I think I would have
remembered that. I think."
She laughed quietly and casually pushed
his feet off the couch so she could slide next to him. Fry winced
subtly and Leela cringed. "Sore?"
His eyes darted around anxiously as he
tried to come up with an explanation. "Uh-?"
"Hung over again?"
He didn't hear the apology in the
question and stiffened immediately. "Aw, no, c'mon Leela, it's
She touched his shoulder quickly. "I
know, I know. I'm teasing." He looked away from her unhappily.
"Listen, Fry, I'm really sorry. I was out of line yesterday."
"Oh, well, uh I wasn't drinking- I
was, um-" He was still taking in her discoloured face.
Leela cut him off quickly before he
could continue. Though she couldn't say why, she didn't want Fry to
know that she knew. "You were working out."
Fry blinked as his brain hiccupped.
She smiled sweetly at him. "I know
you wanted to keep it a secret."
"But you know, the results really
"You're definitely getting
muscles, Fry." She squeezed arm playfully as he tried
frantically to understand what was happening. "I think it's
great that you're trying to take better care of yourself."
"Right..." the redhead said
Leela nodded eagerly before leaning in
closer. Fry looked distinctly nervous. "But I want you to know,
Fry, that I think muscles are highly overrated. It's the heart, the
heart that matters. Understand?"
"Yes?" It was pure question.
"Yes." She patted him once
again on the shoulder before leaning back with a sigh.
It took a few minutes for Fry to
recover enough to ask again about her face.
"Oh that," she shrugged it
off. "I tripped last night."
"While skating... I mean, you did
go rocket skating last night, right? Um, with Amy?"
He looked so nonchalantly anxious. "Oh,
yes. We did go skating. It was absolutely wonderful. Best time I've
had in, oh, forever."
Fry perked up a bit, a smile creeping
onto his face like Zoidberg on Professional Competence Day. "So
you really liked it, huh?"
Leela looked him right in the eyes and
beamed at him. "It was an amazing evening. It was... it was
Fry nodded slowly, his eyes sparkling
with dawning satisfaction. "Sounds like you had a perfect
"Pretty much." They sat
together in companionable silence for a few minutes before Leela
reluctantly stood. "It's 9:15. Duty calls."
"A captain's work is never done."
"Not with this crew." But she
smiled to ease the criticism.
Fry gave her a teasing little wave. "Go
on then, Captain. I've got important delivery boy things to do here."
Leela rolled her eyes then headed
towards the lockeroom. Just as she reached the door she paused,
turning back to him. It would never happen, but still- "Oh, Fry.
Next time I go rocket skating, why don't you come too? It'll be fun."
He sat up immediately. "Me?
"You really want me to come
skating with you? Really?"
She chuckled but not without a bit of
"Yes, desperately!" Leela
laughed out loud.
Fry couldn't quite believe it.
"Desperately?" he repeated skeptically.
"Yes. Really, desperately. Now go
back to sleep."
Fry obediently snuggled back down into
the battered couch and Leela left him, but not before she heard him
mutter, "Heh, heh. It all went according to plan."