Fry checked his suit for the millionth time in two minutes. “Do you think my lapels look even?” he asked Bender.
The robot’s voice was a monotone as he flipped over the next page in his pornographic binary magazine. “Yeah. You look like a total stud.” The page flipped, and if the robot could roll his eyes he would have done so just then.
Fry paused in mid-tie. “Wait, are you going gay for me? I knew I put on too much ham juice cologne this morning!”
Bender stared at him. “You know I could do better than you if my metronome swung that way.”
“Huh. Well, it doesn’t matter, ‘cause I’m taken!”
“Yeah, you told me that twenty times in the past ten minutes and 5.0 seconds.” A plume of cigar smoke wreathed Bender’s head as he boredly watched Fry fuss with his clothing. “Are you sure I look okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, you look like a nice, fat piece of holly jolly Valentiney crap,” Bender replied.
“Stop being jealous and help me spin my bow tie around,” Fry begged.
“I’ll make your head spin around,” Bender grumbled. He grabbed Fry by his bow and yanked him closer. “If you pop the question, do it near an open window. The last time you came home smelling like puke every cat in the state chased you home.”
“I’ll do it outside! Under the trees….with lights?” Fry coughed. Bender released him at last, leaving Fry to gasp and choke when he let go.
“Just don’t screw it up,” Bender said. “I don’t wanna have to spend the next week pouring gross human tears out of my legholes!”
Fry’s face screwed up. “My tears aren’t gross! They’re a fountain for my boo-boos!”
“Just go get ‘er already,” groaned Bender, thrilled to be left alone with his booze and the tv for the night.
Sometimes Leela wondered why she and Fry were still an item. He could be such a child, so often causing her more trouble than necessary, thus making his welcome wear out much more quickly than it usually would. She showed up at their date in a beautiful aquamarine dress, and short, squat heels; there was no need to go tottering around with Fry; he would happily inform her that she looked better. Fry admired her as she headed up the gangway; with her hair carefully tied up in a bun she, in Fry’s words, looked like a movie star. When he told her that and she rolled her eye; he was having his usual pre-takeoff snack, and it was getting everywhere.
“You’re getting bean dip all over my skirt,” she complained gently.
He instantly stopped slavering and turned apologetic. “I’ll buy you a whole new dress! One made out of diamonds and angel’s bottoms.”
She grabbed his wrist and squeezed it lightly. “Fry, you don’t have to try so hard,” she insisted. “And angels bottoms are forty thousand dollars on the black market. Just relax - you’re doing just fine.”
“But I could do better,” he insisted, as they moved into the cockpit and she turned on the autopilot. “It’s Valentine’s Day! I could get you a bouquet made out of emeralds! And puppies!”
Leela considered the notion silently, but finally rejected the very idea with a shrug. “That would be nice, but puppy skin’s so expensive. Let’s just have our interplanetary picnic like we planned instead.” They rocketed into the stratosphere, knuckles pale and hands tucked against the dash even though they were quite used to the rocket ride to the stars.
Fry set about rehydrating the wine and de-pearling the oysters while Leela steered them beyond Alpha Centauri. They’d be floating out there for some time, ‘til they’d had enough of the zero g ride Fry had insisted upon.
“I don’t know why you want to eat off of the ceiling,” Leela grunted, trying to develop equimancy to the sudden lack of gravity. She didn’t know why she bothered to put up with Fry’s wide-eyed love of all things spacey.
“Aww, it’s Valentine’s Day Leela! Loosen up a little.” Fry stood on the tip of his toes and kicked toward the ceiling of the ship. “Whee, look at me, I’m Neil Armstrong on a trampoline!”
“Fry! You’re going to damage the hull!” She shouted. Suddenly his hand encircled her wrist and pulled her upward, into the light and against the air. This proved to be a surprisingly fun thing to do and soon Leela found herself laughing along with Fry as they bounded up and down against the heavy atmosphere.
“We should stop this before we regret it!”
“Why?” Fry’s eyes glittered with humor and life.
“Because I don’t want to spend the next couple of hours looking at our picnic.”
They were both hearty air-travelers, but the possibility of a snafu always existed. “Gotcha.” He grabbed her hand and they paddled downward toward the controls, taking a few moments to strap themselves back in. Leela flipped a few switches, turning the gravity back on, and they quickly zoomed through the cosmos stretched out for light-years ahead of them.
“Did you like lunch?” Fry asked. “I asked Bender to make it but I did it myself instead. He kept trying to pour arsenic all over the French fries.” She raised an eyebrow and shifted gears. “He thought it was salt. I think.”
“It was really nice.” The smallest hint of a smile crossed her face. “I didn’t know you could cook.”
“Psht. I can so cook! I made a can of soup once.”
She smiled. “You didn’t take it out of the can.”
“Sure, if you’re a loser.” He snorted. “And they should put it on the label if that’s what they want you to do with it!”
Leela pulled to a slow stop in front of a glowing Aurora Borealis. In the green and aqua lights, they took a second to appreciate everything around them – the swirl of the planets, the end of their exhausting day, and especially one another.
She rested her head against his shoulder in calm surrender. “This is really nice.”
“Yeah,” he agreed, watching the blue and green swirl outside the cabin. It wasn’t much – and it wasn’t like he was some rich, fancy pilot guy or a doctor. But right now they had everything they would ever need.