The Intergalactic Panel of Fanfic Ratings (IPFR) occasionally randomly selects stories to conduct reader satisfaction surveys on. This story was randomly selected on Nixonary 16, 3006 for such a review. It was discovered that 51% of readers stopped reading this story after this particular chapter. Of this particular group, 25% entered keywords with phrases like "you must be crazy!" and "I can't believe I wasted my time on this dreck!"
Of the remaining 49% that continued to read, 75% continued to read to the end of Part II, entering keywords such as "plot twist" and "I knew something was up."
The spread of these results triggered the IPFR to issue an automatic special warning at this point in the story, advising readers to proceed with extreme caution in terms of making assumptions about the plot or theme of the story. Any entities with extreme sensitivity to whiplash are advised not to proceed, and move on to much more straightforward and plentiful "Fry loves Leela, let's have a baby together" fiction available at this website.
Leela was crouching behind her dresser, which she had flipped onto its side, and was using both hands to aim a nasty looking pistol at him. His heart sank as he saw she was still wearing the same yellow dress that he had remembered so fondly. He had felt many things around Leela, but he had only felt fear twice when looking at her. The first time had lasted 14 seconds, when he had seen her for the first time. The last time had lasted 14 days, as he watched her lie on a hospital bed.
And now-- he was surprised at himself. He actually wasn’t scared. He was so far past scared that all he could do was watch and idly wonder whether she would shoot him on sight, as if he were a bystander with a little money riding on the outcome.
Her eye, narrowed in concentration, widened. And stayed wide. Her mouth fell open, and Fry took a certain grim satisfaction in knowing he had completely caught his idol off guard. It didn’t happen very often.
“Wake up.” She said. He didn’t understand. He thought he should probably say something back. Something safe.
“Hi, Leela. I’ve been hiding in your closet. “
He heard her knuckles crack.
“That Gary, sounds like a nice guy, huh? Seems like an original character. Tragic and mysterious past and all.”
She held up her wrist com, still holding the gun steadily on him with one arm.
“I was bluffing about the police, but not anymore. What the hell are you doing in my apartment?” Her eye widened. “My god. You pervert…”
“Wait,” he said. “I only wanted this.” And he pulled out the holophoner case, after taking out the small doll as well. Man was he glad he had remembered to pee. Especially since he was wearing boxers.
She looked at the two objects and hesitated.
“The holophoner? A holomem? You broke into here for those? Are you crazy?”
“Yes. I mean, No. I mean, yes to the holophoner, no to the crazy.”
“And just asking me for them was too simple a thing to do.”
The words came out of him in a rush. “Umm, well, the last time we talked, you almost choked me, and you wouldn’t read my note and you said you would call the policepleasedontshootme...”
She opened her mouth, paused, then shut it, and stared at the quaking delivery boy, who had one eye squeezed shut. She seemed to be struggling with herself.
“Fair enough,” she snorted. “Something finally broke inside me when I suddenly saw you. So if you have something to say, say it.” And she swung her wrist thingie underneath her gun hand, ready to type.
“Um… well… I…. just … wanted… to …. Ask,” Fry stalled.
“You’re stalling. I should just –“ her hand hovered over the wristcom, then dropped. “I don’t get it. All this just for the holophoner? After everything else that’s happened between us?” She put her face in both hands, turning the gun away from him for a moment. “Oh God, it’s taken me a year to get over sleeping with you in this room, and I finally think I can get a nice, semi-important guy into here without having flashbacks, and now you just stroll out of the closet like the Boogey Bot. I’m never sleeping in here again. I’m going to have to move to avoid therapy.”
Fry found something in this statement very intriguing.
“There’s a BoogeyBot? It’s real?”
She put her hands down and rolled her eye, a motion he found oddly comforting.
“Of course the Boogey bot is real.” The gun snapped back toward him. “Why are you really here? Oh Lord, you would have HEARD me!” And her hand moved toward her wrist thingie again.
“Um, Leela why are you so mad—“ And then Fry’s mind caught up to the conversation, panting. “Um. Slept together? By sleep, you mean the other thing, right?”
“Don’t remind me.”
He dug through his memory. He was pretty sure he would have remembered this. He really would have wanted to remember this. But try as he might, he couldn’t remember this. But he knew he had to be really careful. The next few words may be the most important words he ever said.
“Umm, did you ever once look and talk like Amy when we did it?”
Leela frowned and released the safety on the flash tube disintegrator primer. The end of the gun started to glow.
Better try again.
“Um, was I good?” He winced. “I mean, what was it like?”
She opened her eye as the early morning sun peeked through the blinds. She rolled over and realized someone was in the bed with her. He was warm, and she started to snuggle against him. She opened her eye and saw the back of someone’s head. It widened as she saw the two tufts of red hair sticking out of the top. And she felt a twitch of terror jolt her fully awake. Oh no. She didn’t want this to happen. She shouldn’t have gotten so smashed. It was going to be a disaster.
And what really scared her is she realized some part of her had wanted it to happen. Over the past two years, after her coma, after seeing her orange-haired alternative self, and after the opera, each time she had to acknowledge a little temptation, even curiosity. But she had known better, and had prided herself on her self-control that had preserved the best platonic relationship she had ever had.
And now she was in bed with him, which was awkward enough, but the worst part was that from what she could remember, it had been very good. Even now she felt herself starting to fall for him, hard, and she just knew that the pain she would feel when it failed was going to be worse than anything she had ever experienced.
He stopped snoring, rolled over, blinked his eyes, and smiled brightly, pleased with himself. Maybe it wouldn’t end the way she knew it would probably end.
She was pausing, lost in thought. Not yelling. That had to be good, right?
She stirred. “Obviously, you didn’t think so.”
She tried to convince herself that things were better than when they had been friends. But now they both felt uncomfortable around each other. She tried to probe, search out common interests, but he got frustrated so easily when she tried to talk with him on a more sophisticated or personal level. Despite her refusal to acknowledge it, she found herself getting bored. Worse for her self-esteem, she sensed he was getting bored.
“Want to come over tonight?” she smiled, and blinked seductively at him as he scrubbed off the laser scars from the PE ship hull, left over from their latest customer complaint. “I’ve found an ancient earth movie called Memento, that’s supposed to be really interesting. It starts at the middle and goes backwards.”
Fry stopped and looked confused. “Why would someone make a story that starts in the middle?” He brightened. “Wanna to go to O'Zorgnax's instead? Amy and Bender are heading there tonight.”
“We’ve been going out there almost every night. I’m getting tired of it. Sorry? Want to go dancing instead?”
“Um, I’m not really liking it.”
“So, now what? TV?”
He grunted and turned his back, starting to wash the hull again.
Love could blossom so quickly. So why did it crumble so slowly and painfully?
“Huh? Whadda ya mean?”
“Stop fooling with me. Why would you be interested in the holophoner now? You weren’t when you left. You were interested in something else.”
“It’s like a dinner plate! I mean, kissing her is almost scary. I have to close my eyes just to keep me from staring at it while—you know!”
She stood in the corridor, her gift to him sitting in her hand, listening to the conversation in the locker room. He rarely played the holophoner now, he never did much of anything except watch TV, but she had thought that the gift might respark his interest, and their relationship, if she reminded him enough about it. So she had bought the sequel book to “My First Holophoner”, called “Holophoner for Demanding Parents,” and had been walking around looking for him, so she could force him to make something of himself. There were also other important things to talk about, and the first serious talk had not gone well.
“Not important. Anyway I started thinking about how I’ve wasted all these years waiting for her, how I’ve given up so much…”
She could only listen. He was leaving? He was running away?
“Well, I guess this is goodbye.”
And he was kissing Amy. And he was going to leave her stranded. Life was hard and unfair. She knew that. But she had thought maybe he would be different than everyone else. After all he had done for her he might have been different. And a single tear fell onto the book cover, staining it…
She stood there, staring off into space, but with the gun trained on Fry as steadily as if she were a statue. Fry didn’t dare breathe. The little doll shook in his hand.
The motion of the doll caught her attention, and she came back to the present.
“I don’t believe you want the holophoner. You just grabbed it when you were in there. Put it down on the floor.”
“Why do you have it?”
“Let’s see, who has the gun? Oh yeah, I do. I guess I get to ask the questions. Why the holomem? Finally feeling guilty at last?”
“What are you talking about? All I have is this dollie thing. From your orphanarium place.”
She lowered the gun slightly and looked at him.
“That’s right, I forgot you’re from the Stupid Ages. So why did you grab it? Are you trying to fool me into thinking you really wanted these things, that you felt some regret, when all you really wanted to do was sneak in and—“
The gun was shaking slightly.
“Uhhhh, feel sorry for what?”
She snapped her gun down, huffed, and held out her hand.
“You’re right. I’m giving you too much credit in all this. I want you to see this anyway. Gimme.”
Very carefully, feeling like he was being tricked, he inched toward her. She seized the doll from his hand, and he backed away quickly. She did something to the doll’s head.
One side of the room vanished. He saw a second Leela lying in a bed, propped up with pillows so that she sat somewhat upright.
Fry stumbled backwards, startled at the sudden appearance of the vivid image, and bumped into the closest door. He glanced over to the original Leela, still in her yellow dress. He was watching him, not the image, as if she were waiting for him to say something.
“Hi Mom, hi Dad,” The projected Leela said. She looked tired, more tired than he had ever seen her before. Even as she smiled into the room, her face looked drawn and her arms quivered with exhaustion. “I made it, but I can only hold her for a little bit before we put her back in the isolation chamber.”
And then something squirmed in her lap.
The little infant yawned, and blinked with one eye. No, there was a second eye, but because the first was centered on the face, the other was squished between her ear and forehead. She moved one arm, but the other arm was only a flipper. Breathing was a struggle for her, and the quality of the recording was such that he could hear every rasping breath.
The Leela in the yellow dress was not watching the hologram, but Fry, who flicked a glance at her.
“You adopted an orphan?” He looked around. He was pretty sure he hadn’t seen a baby around here. Of course, he hadn’t checked the freezer. But that was probably too cold for a baby.
“No. She’s my daughter.” She paused for a moment. “Our daughter.”
Something started shrieking deep inside Fry’s mind. The world began to tilt sideways, and a rushing sound filled his ears, as if he were next to a waterfall. Frantically he looked around.
Through the roar in his ears he could barely make out the words.
“She’s dead. You killed her.”
Suddenly the roaring stopped. All sound stopped. The floor was rising up to meet his face. Yet in the silence, he thought he heard Leela say one word, very quietly:
Everything turned white, then black.