Futurama

Fan Fiction

Precious Memories
By Andy Robertson

The Planet Express ship sped on towards Earth, through the cold black empty void of intergalactic space.

Fry sat in the ship's gun turret, feet resting on the controls, his eyes never tiring of the wonders of the universe that sped past his solitary viewpoint.

He'd come here to think, away from the sounds of the ship's bridge, away from the distractions, away from her - away from Leela.

He had to get psyched up for tomorrow. He wasn't sure what he was going to do, or what its outcome would be. But, he knew he had to do it, he needed to, for his own sanity. Events in the past few months had brought things to a head. He needed some form of closure, so he could move on.

Fry looked out through the glass of the turret at the myriad of stars passing by. He cast his mind back to a time a few weeks ago when, like now, he had gazed out at the cosmos and felt his heart being crushed within his chest at what he alone witnessed.

He closed his eyes for a moment, composing himself, before going back to the ship's bridge.

"Are we almost back yet?" he asked on entering, sitting down.

"What's your rush?" retorted Leela, who was sat at the ship's controls.

"I'd like to get back quickly. I mean, it's gonna be late when we get back, and I had plans for tomorrow," he replied.

"Like what, watching TV, sleeping and stuffing your face?" said Leela.

"Nah, he does that everyday anyway," said Bender.

"No," said Fry, slightly annoyed. "I do have a life outside of Planet Express."

"Not much, though," he thought.

"Then what are you doing, then?" asked Leela.

"Yeah Fry, what you up to?" added Bender.

"Nothing important, just something I gotta do."

"Like what?" asked Leela again, suspicious at Fry's vagueness. "Come on, tell us!"

"Look, just forget about it!" snapped Fry. "Jesus! What is this, the Spanish equestrian?"

"Inquisition," corrected Leela.

"Whatever," muttered Fry, getting up and going back to his cabin.

"Wow!" thought Leela, "I'm normally the one who snaps at Fry, not the other way around. There's more to this than he's saying."

"Fifty bucks says it's a woman," said Bender, who had been watching the exchange.

"A girl? You think Fry's got a date?" said Leela.

"Yeah! Why else would the dumb skintube be so cagey about telling us what he's doing tomorrow!" replied Bender. "After all, we did break up the last relationship Fry had!"

"Yeah," said Leela, recalling the events in question, a disturbing thought suddenly entered her head.

"You don't think he downloaded another robot, do you?" she asked.

"Not until just now I didn't!" said the robot.

"We'd better follow him tomorrow, and put a stop to it," Leela continued.

Bender looked at the cyclops quizzically, "If it is a robot?"

"Of course I mean if she's a robot," said Leela. "Or she's bad news for Fry," she added. "I'll meet you in the café across the street from your apartment building tomorrow, and we'll wait for Fry to leave and follow him. OK?" she continued.

"Sorry Leela, no can do, I got a date tonight with a coffee vending machine, who can get real hot 'n' steamy when she wants to. And, if I know the old Bender charm, she'll want to, so I don't think I'll be home tonight," said Bender.

"Fine!" said Leela, sharply. "I'll follow him on my own then! And don't you dare breathe a word of this to him."

"Leela, would I do a thing like that?" said Bender.

Leela looked at him.

"OK, so maybe I would, what are you going to do about it? Silence has a price!"

The look became a glare, an evil smile spread slowly across Leela's face.

Bender shifted uneasily in his chair.

"I still have pictures of you as the Gender Bender, it would be a real shame if they mysteriously appeared on the Internet!" said Leela, sweetly.

"You wouldn't!" said Bender.

"Oh, I wouldn't!" said Leela, innocently. "But Hermes or Amy might."

Bender looked at her, his eyes narrow, "If I didn't know better, I'd say you had the cold heart of a robot beating in that devious meatbag chest of yours."

"Good! At least we understand each other then," said Leela, with a sly grin.

The rest of the flight home passed slowly, Fry never leaving his cabin, Bender and Leela occasionally exchanging glares.


The ship landed in the Planet Express hanger, it was 9:15 in the evening.

Only Hermes and Amy remained of the other PE staff; Farnsworth had long since retired to his apartment above, and Zoidberg had gone to the city dump to, in his words, "eat out".

Fry was the first to disembark, followed by Leela and Bender. He headed quickly towards the door.

The group watched the delivery boy move towards the exit.

"Great Jamaican blow fish Fry! Did Bender jam a rocket up your ass?" quipped Hermes. "I never seen you move so fast, mon!"

"Yeah Fry, you alright?" asked Amy.

"I'm Fine," said Fry, sharply. "I'm just in a hurry, I gotta to be up early tomorrow."

"Early! You! Why?" asked Amy.

Fry didn't answer; he was already out the door.

Leela handed the paperwork for the day's deliveries over to Hermes.

"What's up with Fry, Leela?" asked Hermes.

"Yeah Leela," said Amy, "he seemed a little… tense."

"He's a little upset at me quizzing him about his plans for tomorrow. I think he has a date!"

"A date!" said Amy. "He never said anything to me!"

"I'm worried he's downloaded another robot," said Leela. She thought for a second, about Amy's comment. "Besides, why would he tell you before me?" she added, slightly annoyed.

"Well, I've noticed that you two don't seem as close as you were, since that whole time slip business," said Amy.

"Yeah," said Hermes. "Before it, Fry was always either with you or Bender, or both, now when he's not with Bender, he's on his own?"

"I know, I noticed too," said Leela, with a slight tone of sadness in her voice, "but he was really starting to bug me with that 'why don't you go out with me?' whining! I had to be hard on him, to get him to quit it."

"Den dere's this whole calendar thing he's developed!" said Hermes.

"The calendar thing?" said Leela and Amy simultaneously.

"Yeah," said Hermes. "Haven't you noticed Fry seems to have become obsessed with the date recently, dis week he checked the calendar at least once every day?"

"Are you sure that he's not just looking at the pornographic picture on the pages," said Leela.

"Not unless he's into robot porn!" said Hermes. "Dis year we got a complimentary calendar from Intel, promoting de new Pentium 3000 processor."

"It might be that compulsive obsessive behaviour disorder thing," said Leela.

"Nah, Fry couldn't even spell compulsive obsessive disorder, let alone suffer from it!" said Amy. "Anyway, what is it to you if he has downloaded another robot?"

"Look at the trouble we had last time he did that!" replied Leela.

"OK, I see your point, but if she isn't a robot, will you be OK with that?" asked Amy.

"Of course, why wouldn't I?" said Leela.

"Oh nothing," said Amy; there was a slightly disbelieving tone in her voice.

"What? You think I'm jealous?" said Leela. "I'm just curious, that's all!"

"Yeah, that's why you're planning to follow him tomorrow," interjected Bender, who had joined the small group at the table.

Hermes and Amy looked at Leela, with raised eyebrows.

Leela shot Bender a withering glance. He ignored it as usual.

"Look, I'm only going to see if he has downloaded another robot, if he hasn't, then I'll leave him alone!" she said.

"Well, that ain't what you said on the ship!" said Bender. "You said that you were going to put a stop to it if she was a robot or if she was bad news!"

Amy and Hermes raised their eyebrows yet again.

"So Leela. What kind of girl would be bad news?" asked Hermes.

"Oh, you know the type: someone who'd lead him astray and get him into trouble… more than he usually manages himself!" she answered.

"And, you're not at all jealous, eh Leela?" said Amy, with a smirk.

Hermes looked at Leela and gave a knowing smile.

Leela threw her hands up in the air and walked off with a sigh

"She's jealous!" said Amy.

"Oh yeah!" said Hermes, in agreement.

"They would make such a cute couple, wouldn't they?" said Amy.

"Yeah! Apart from that eye thing," said Hermes.

"Yeah!"

"Cute! Fry 'n' Leela?" said Bender. "Are you two skin-tubes sober or something, you're all hideous! You humans, with your orifices, secretions and bodily functions! Not like us robots: all shiny, oily an stinking o' booze. Now, get the hell outta my way, I gotta hot date tonight!"

Bender walked out of the building. "Oh yeah baby! I can almost smell that coffee!"


The next morning found Leela walking through the streets of New New York; it was 8:30 in the morning. The café across from Fry and Bender's apartment had just opened.

She looked at her watch as she approached.

"Good!" she thought, "Fry won't be up for at least a couple of hours. Knowing him, he'll still be asleep in bed; the lazy oaf that he is."

"He'll be all snug and warm," said another part of her mind. "I'll bet he looks so cute, curled up under the sheets."

"Yeah! Pity about the mess and the stains of unknown origin," said the first part of her mind. "He's such a slob."

"With the nicest smile I've ever seen," interjected the other part of her mind. "And, that sexy little bu…"

"Oh Shit! It's him!" said both factions of her mind at once.

Fry emerged from the front door of Robot Arms.

Leela dove into a nearby doorway.

Fry glanced around him, squinting in the morning sunlight, before walking off into New New York, trying to work up the courage for the task ahead of him.

"Today's the day," he thought grimly to himself.

Leela peeked around the corner of her improvised hiding place. Fry was walking down the street, half a block away, oblivious to her, hands as usual, stuffed deep in his pockets.

"He didn't see me, thank God," she thought.

She was following him from a distance of about a block, on the opposite side of the street, keeping some people between him and her, in the event that if he did turn round there be some cover for her to hide.

She could tell he was deep in thought, from the way he kept narrowly avoiding bumping into things, like other pedestrians and the occasional car.

"What's wrong with him?" she thought. "Now, that's a stupid question Toronga, he's probably thinking about making out with this girl he's seeing today. If he hasn't already! Then maybe he's thinking about… no he won't have done that yet, I don't think? I hope he hasn't!

"What is wrong with me! It doesn't matter to me if he has had se… erm relations with her?

"If it doesn't matter, then why can't I bring myself to think about it?"

"Because you're jealous!" said a separate part of her mind.

"I am not!"

"Yes you are! Admit it."

"I am not!"

"Are too!"

"Am not!"

"Are too!"

"Am not!"

"Are too!"

"Alright, I'm jealous!" yelled Leela, much to the confusion of the people walking by her.

"Did I say that out loud?" she said, quietly looking around her.

"No, everyone in the vicinity suddenly decided to stare at you, at the same time, for no apparent reason!" said the voices in her head, in unison.

She looked towards Fry. He hadn't stopped.

"At least he didn't hear me," she thought.

Leela continued after Fry.

"OK, so I'm jealous," she thought. "I do have feelings for Fry, I am attracted to him, but he can be so childish at times. If he'd only grow up, he'd have to beat me off him with a stick.

"But, what if he finds someone else? What if he already has? I could be alone for the rest of my life. I guess I'll just have to take that chance.

"Fry's the only one who likes me, for who and what I am, not just my body, unlike Zapp, Adlai and Alkazar. He can be so sweet too. That parrot he got me for Xmas cost him five hundred dollars! Five Hundred! He never once complained about the cost, even when it was blown up by Santa Claus before he could give it to me."

A sudden change in Fry's direction caused her to forego her mental debate for the time being.

She watched as Fry ducked down an alleyway, stopped by a dumpster and rooted around in it.

"Now what's he doing?" she thought.

He pulled out an empty pizza box, and tucked it under his arm.

"OK Toronga, this is Fry we're talking about, maybe it's best not to know what he's going to do with that," she thought.

Fry continued on his way.

She followed him for a further fifteen minutes, until he went into a florist.

"Aha!" she thought. "Now we're getting somewhere!"

She stopped at a nearby newsagent stall, grabbed a magazine, and peeked over the top of it at the florists.

She suddenly noticed that she was getting stared at by people, more than she usually did. She looked down at the magazine she was hiding behind. 'Chunky Asses', read the title on the cover.

"Ughhh," she exclaimed, hastily replacing the magazine, knocking some others off their shelves, and picking up another from the fishing section.

She'd just managed to bring it up to eye level, to hide her face, when Fry emerged from the shop; he was carrying a small bouquet of roses.

"Roses!" she thought. "He must really like this girl. He bought me flowers, when he had the worms, but they weren't roses!"

She watched, puzzled, as he opened the pizza box, and placed the roses carefully inside, before placing the box back under his arm.

"OK! Now I'm confused?" thought Leela.

Fry continued on his way again.

Leela resumed tailing him from across the street.

He reached the end of the block, and turned the corner.

Leela ran to keep up, peeking round the corner. She caught sight of him entering a building across the street from her.

It was one of two identical office blocks, in their own plaza, the second block set back diagonally from the first. The two buildings looked slightly out of place, they were nowhere near as tall as the surrounding buildings and looked significantly older.

She ran over, getting through the door just in time to see Fry stop by the reception desk.

"Can I help you?" said the receptionist to Fry, briskly; her nametag read J Adeoye.

Fry looked around him quickly; he saw the list of company directors on the wall, behind the receptionist. He randomly picked one of the names.

"Uh, Spicy Meat Feast Pizza delivery for Mr Metcalfe," he said.

"His office is on the top floor," said the receptionist.

"Thanks," replied Fry, walking off.

"Sucker!" he muttered under his breath.

Leela watched Fry from just inside the door.

"He's sneaking in here to see her," she thought. "If she works here she can't be a robot! What if she's another bureaucrat, like Morgan? What if it is Morgan?"

Fry followed the signposts for the stairs and elevator. He walked past the elevator, and went through the door for the stairs. He opened the pizza box, took out the roses and discarded the box.

Fry turned and started down the stairs.

Leela approached the receptionist. She thought quickly.

"Hi," said Leela.

The receptionist looked up at her. "How can I…" her voice trailed off as she noticed Leela's eye, "help… you," she continued, once she regained some degree of composure.

Leela resisted the urge to get snappy with her.

"I'm from the National Pizza Delivery Authority, I'm checking that the delivery boy that you just let in is carrying out his job correctly!"

She quickly flashed her Planet Express ID badge at her, like she'd seen people do in some of the 20th Century TV shows Fry watched.

"He went to the top floor," said the receptionist, still staring at her eye.

"Thanks," replied Leela.

"Sucker!" she whispered under her breath.

She headed off after Fry. She'd just about left the building's foyer, when she noticed a small plaque on the wall to her left.

THE NEW YORK WORLD TRADE CENTRE

The Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre were constructed over a thousand years ago, during the latter half of the twentieth century. Upon completion, they briefly held the record of world's tallest building.

Due to this, they became two of the few buildings in old Manhattan left standing when ground level was raised, to make way for the construction of New New York; though this meant that a large part of them are know hidden from view beneath the new city…

Leela stood for a minute, taking this in.

She knew where Fry was going.

She headed to the stairs, and started down them after Fry.

Fry descended the stairs until he was faced with a heavy metal door, secured with a large rusting padlock.

He reached inside his jacket and took out a small aerosol canister he'd 'acquired' from the professor's lab. He sprayed some of its contents over the lock, which melted away, rapidly.

Fry took hold of the door and heaved it open, its hinges groaning from their first use in centuries.

A few floors above Leela heard the creaking of the door being forced open.

"Why is he coming down here?" she thought. "Could he be meeting his date down here? Dunno? This is Fry after all, with him, anything's possible."

Fry peered around him in the darkness, the musty smell of decay invading his nostrils.

"It's lucky I stumbled on this place," he thought. "Who'd have thought it'd still be here after a thousand years. Saved me from having to get down here using those rusting ladders. I nearly broke my neck the last time, when I came down here with Bender and Leela.

"Leela."

His mind started to wander, images of Leela appeared in his mind's eye: Leela in her uniform, at the cryogenics lab; Leela fighting her way through to him on Trisol; in her ball gown on the Titanic; with him under the mistletoe that Christmas; in her wedding dress…

"Not now, Phil!" said a separate faction of his mind. "You need to be focused down here, it's dangerous! And, you might wimp out on doing this!"

"No! It's been too long already, I have to do this now or it'll be too late!"

He reached back into his jacket and took out a small, but powerful, flashlight, and switched it on. Its beam cut through the gloom, illuminating the stair well.

He saw faded writing painted on the wall in front of him.

64th Floor

"Long way to go," he muttered to himself, before continuing down into the dark.

Leela carefully picked her way down the stairs, trying to keep up with the light of Fry's flashlight, a few floors below. The flashlight built in to her wrist communicator didn't give out that much light, so she was finding it difficult to move quickly without making too much noise. Having bad depth perception didn't help.

"At least the stairs are made of concrete and don't creak!" she thought. "Ugh! I just stood in something soft! No don't look! It could be any thi…"

She hit her head on a low beam, biting her lip and drawing blood in an effort to stop crying out.

"Damn it!" she thought. "That hurt!"

She felt her head, it wasn't bleeding, but there was a large painful bump on her left forehead.

She shone her flashlight on the beam, it was a recent addition, probably to re-enforce the building above.

"Why didn't someone put a luminous warning, or something, on that?" she thought, as she resumed her descent, ducking under the offending beam.

"Because no one's been down here in eons, apart from Fry and me!" came the answer from the back of her mind.

"Why the hell is he down here, what kind of place is this to meet a girl? Maybe she's a mutant from the sewers! Nah, Fry wouldn't look at a girl who he didn't think was gorgeous, let alone a mutant! He only goes for girls he thinks are pretty, like Amy and Michelle… and me."

The sound of another door being forced open brought Leela back to the events in hand.

The noise was softer, not as harsh as the metal door.

Fry put his shoulder to the wooden door. It gave way easily, after centuries of rot.

He found himself in the original foyer of the building. He gave a low whistle as he took in the scene.

An eerie half-light from the outside filtered through windows, now thick with dust and dirt. Much of the original furniture remained; left behind when old New York was consigned to its silent grave. Cobwebs hung everywhere, like tattered old curtains, adding to the uneasy atmosphere. That apart, it was as he remembered it.

"Been a while!" he whispered, solemnly.

Fry walked slowly through the foyer, picking his way through the cobwebs and debris.

He left a trail of footprints in the dust on the floor. His flashlight illuminating the disturbed dust particles carried aloft in the air currents, caused by the first movement in centuries.

He reached the main door and tried it. Not surprisingly, it was locked.

"Have to break the glass," he thought.

Fry looked around, his eyes fell on a fire extinguisher still on its wall mounting.

Leela reached the wrecked wooden door. She switched off the flashlight in her wrist comm., crept up to the open door frame, and peered round the door frame, the darkness in the stairwell concealing her.

She watched as Fry placed the roses on a table, placed his flashlight in his pocket and lifted the extinguisher off its mounting, carried it over to the door and threw it through the glass.

Fry turned away, shielding his face with his hands.

The glass shattered with a crash, the sound echoing around the room.

Fry went to pick up the bouquet. He stopped.

From outside, they both heard a whistling noise.

Fry looked out through the door.

The extinguisher was laying on its side, out on the street, a stream of gas escaping from where its nozzle should have been.

The whistling was getting louder. A bulge was starting to appear in the side of the canister. The centuries of rust having reduced its ability to contain its pressurised contents.

Fry realised what was happening, a split second before the extinguisher's corroded welds gave way, and dove for cover.

The canister exploded, causing the remaining windows to rattle in their frames.

The blast rang eerily within the confines of old New York's man-made tomb. A cloud of dry white powder hung in the air, around the shattered extinguisher.

Leela picked herself up off the floor.

"Fry!" she thought, fearing the worst. She glanced round the doorframe, apprehensive about what she might see.

Fry lay face down on the floor, unmoving.

"Oh God! He's hurt," thought Leela.

She was about to go over to him, when he rolled over onto his back, groaned and opened his eyes.

"Idiot!" he muttered. "What the hell did you think a thousand year old fire extinguisher would do when you threw it through a window. And, you wonder why people think you're moron?"

He lay there for a few seconds, before picking himself up and dusting himself off as best he could, continuing to mutter to himself.

"Stupidity is so attractive in a man. Phil, you dumb ass! No wonder Leela won't date me!"

Leela absorbed this last statement of Fry's.

"Well, I think it's safe to say he still has a thing for me, even if he is seeing someone else!" she thought.

She looked back at Fry.

He picked up the roses and blew the dust off them, before heading out the door.

Leela stealthily made her way over to the door and looked out.

Fry was a short distance away down the street, on the left. His footsteps echoing off the ruined buildings.

"I'm gonna have to be careful here, got to be quiet," she thought, "otherwise he'll hear me. And I don't think he'd be too please if he knew I was following him."

She went out of the building and crept along, staying as close to the wall and as low as possible, making the most of the debris lying around, to stay hidden, without losing sight of her quarry.

Leela was watching him closely, in case he turned round. She noticed that his pace had slowed considerably, compared to when he was on the surface.

Fry looked around himself, as he progressed on through the dead city.

Though there had been some changes to old New York since he was frozen, he still recognized most of the sights.

The deserted streets were littered with rubble, debris, junk, newspapers, food wrappings, items of clothing and the occasional wrecked car; people's everyday things left behind, discarded and unwanted.

Occasionally, he would stop and shine his flashlight on a signpost or the remains of a building.

"He's getting his bearings," thought Leela. "Well, at least one of us knows where they're going!"

Something lying in the gutter, by the side of the road, caught Fry's eye. It was a child's teddy bear.

He stopped, bent over, and picked it up.

One of its eyes was missing, some of its stitching had burst, but otherwise it was in pretty good shape for being around a thousand years old.

Fry gave its belly a squeeze. The bear squeaked.

Fry gave a soft sad smile.

"I wonder what happened to your owner?" he said softly. "Why did they leave you down here? Did they miss you?"

He placed the bear down on a windowsill and continued on his way.

He took a short cut down an alleyway; graffiti was daubed over the walls. He stopped and ran his hand over a particular piece written in silver spray paint, low down on the alley wall.

Leela could just make out what it said: P.F + Y.F, RULE - 1987!

"We still do, Yancy," he said. "We still do."

Fry walked on, through the remnants of his other life.

The Memories came flooding back to him, with every step.

The street corner where he hung out with the few friends he had, the basketball courts where he and Yancy competed with each other, the pizzeria where he used to work, the bar where he first met Michelle, the park bench where he had his first kiss, the playground where he fell off the swings and cut his knee on some glass, and his mom had carried him home, wiped away his tears and bandaged it.

"All that's a thousand years ago now," he thought.

He suddenly remembered a line of dialogue from a film he saw once, called Razor Sprinter, or something like that, with a big scary blonde guy in it, and the guy from Star Wars.

"All these moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain," he quoted softly. It just seemed appropriate to him.

He turned a corner and he was there.

Leela saw Fry stop, just around a corner. She couldn't see beyond it.

He reached into his jacket again and took out the flashlight and a piece of paper. Fry tucked the flashlight between his chin and his right shoulder, and examined the piece of paper.

"Centre aisle, Row 34," he said aloud.

"He's meeting her in a cinema?" she thought. "Down here? It can't have worked in years. Why would Fry's date want to meet him down here? She might be some kind of deviant? Serial killer? Or from one of those blood drinking vampire cults I read about? A cinema down here would be pitch black inside! He won't see a thing!"

Leela reached a startling conclusion: "Oh my God! He could be walking into a trap!"

She watched Fry turn the corner and disappear from her sight.

She ran round the corner, and stopped dead in her tracks. Before her lay not a cinema, but a cemetery. New York Municipal Necropolis, Opened 2007 read the wrought iron sign over the gates. A large depiction of a skull sat atop the sign, its eyeless sockets staring down at her.

"Why would Fry come here?" was the only thought she could manage.

Leela walked through the gates and scanned the scene before her. She caught sight of Fry, a short distance away, walking slowly down one of the rows of memorials, illuminating each with his flashlight in turn. Now and then, he would shine the flashlight back at the sheet of paper, checking he'd read it correctly.

"Thank god for the internet," she heard Fry say, "or I'd never have found this place."

She crept quietly up to within two rows of Fry. Ducking down behind a large stone sculpture of an angel.

"I am really glad that Octurin Kung Fu teaches you how to walk without making a sound," she thought.

She could see Fry clearly now. He had stopped in front of a large gravestone. He bent down on his haunches and wiped the inscription clean and shone his flashlight directly at the stone.

Leela heard Fry inhale sharply. She read the inscription on the stone; now clear to see in the harsh light of Fry's torch.

Her eye went wide at what she saw, her hand at her mouth:

In loving Memory of

Catherine Elizabeth Fry

Beloved Wife, Mother and Grandmother

1943 - 2048

And

Yancy Joseph Fry

Beloved Husband, Father and Grandfather

1942 - 2040

Rest In Peace

"Oh Fry," she thought, the guilt rising within her, "I thought you were meeting a girl. All that suspicion and jealousy, and all along you were visiting your parent's graves."

"Hi Mom, Hi Dad," said Fry softly.

Leela could hear his voice cracking, the lump in his throat making it difficult for him to speak. The pauses between his words were long and deliberate as he composed himself.

"Happy birthday, Mom," he said, as he placed the roses at the foot of the stone.

"That's why he was checking the calendar," thought Leela.

"Sorry it took me so long to visit," said Fry. "I guess I was just running away from the fact, I mean accepted that you were both gone. It just seemed too sudden, too final, saying you were dead."

He closed his eyes tightly shut, trying to hold back the tears he knew were coming. "It still seems like last week when I last saw you," he continued. "If I caused you pain and heartache when I disappeared, then I'm sorry, I didn't mean to. It was my fault, I was careless, I had an accident. You didn't drive me away."

Leela saw Fry tilt his head back and open his eyes, gazing up towards where the sky would have been, before the city was buried. She could see the tears running freely down his cheeks, she realized he wasn't the only one crying.

"Oh God I miss you guys!" said Fry. "There's so much I should have told you, that however much we argued and fought, I still cared."

"I just wish I could have said goodbye," he said sadly. "I guess that's why I'm here now," he continued, his voice now thick with the effort of crying.

"You see, there's this girl I like… who am I kidding," he said with a snort. "I'm in love with her. She's so beautiful, kind and caring. She's always been there for me, even when I've been mean to her. I'd be dead now if it wasn't for Leela," said Fry. "She's the best friend I've ever had, and I'm crazy about her. I've never felt like this about a girl before, not even Michelle. But, I don't stand a chance with her, unless I grow up.

"I need to let go of the past, I can't keep acting the way I did when I was twenty. It won't bring you guys back. Nothing will. The only part of you I have left is up here," he said, tapping his head, "and I'll always have that with me, wherever I go.

"I guess that makes me an orphan too," he said pensively.

Fry sank back from his haunches to a sitting position. He drew his knees up tight against his chest, and slung his arms around his legs. His head sank down and rested on his knees.

Leela watched her friend sitting alone in the dark, she heard him begin sobbing quietly, his body rocking gently back and forth.

"Oh God," she thought, "what do I do now?"

"I think you know," answered another part of her mind.

Fry was still lost in the depths of despair, when he felt someone squat down beside him and place a hand upon his shoulder. He felt a second gently pull his head up. He opened his eyes. "Leela!" said Fry, startled. "What are you doing here?"

"I'm sorry Fry, I followed you," she said.

"Wha… what! Jesus, can't you just leave me alone!" said Fry, with a tone of anger and frustration in his voice.

The look in his eyes, however, gave a different answer. Leela could see the plea for help, struggling among the pain, despair and loneliness. There was something else there too, lurking in the depths of his stare, something that made her heart leap, whenever she looked him in the eyes.

Fry got up. Leela stood facing him, holding him by the arms.

"Fry, wait," said Leela, "let me finish… please."

"Huh?" thought Fry, "She actually said 'please'."

"I was worried about you, I thought you might have downloaded another Lucy Liu robot or something," said Leela. "I'm sorry, I was jealous. Despite everything that's happened between us recently, I do have feelings for you. You were right, there is something there between us," she continued.

She moved closer, pulling him into a hug. "I just wish you could have told me about this," she said sadly, looking at him.

"Leela, I know how upset you get about never knowing your parents and being an orphan," said Fry, noticing her tears for the first time. "I just didn't want to upset you, by going on about mine. See, even now you're crying," he said, wiping away her tears with his sleeve.

"Fry, I'm crying for you! Dummy!" she replied with a weak smile. "I know how you feel, how much it hurts."

"Hey, what happened to your head?" asked Fry, seeing the ugly red bruise on Leela's forehead. "Are you alright?" He reached out and touched it gently, brushing her hair out of the way. He noticed she didn't shy away from his touch.

"I'm fine, Fry," she replied. "I bumped it coming down the stairs after you. Are you alright though, that was a close call with that fire extinguisher?"

Fry gave an embarrassed smile.

"Yeah, it was pretty dumb, wasn't it?" he said, chuckling.

"You had me worried for a minute, I thought you were hurt," said Leela.

"Only my pride," said Fry.

They held each other close again for a moment.

Leela was the first to break off. She looked Fry in the eyes. "Did you mean what you said earlier, Philip," she said, "about growing up?"

"Yes," he replied, meeting her gaze.

She smiled at him sweetly for a second

"Come on, let's get out of here and get something to eat," she said, offering him her hand. "I don't know about you, but I'm so hungry I could eat some of Bender's cooking."

"OK," said Fry, taking her hand. "But, I don't believe anyone could be that hungry."

Leela laughed softly. "Yeah, he does like being… 'creative', doesn't he!"

"Yeah," said Fry.

They started to walk off out of the cemetery, hand in hand.

Fry looked back at his parent's graves. "I think everything's going to be alright now," he whispered to them.

Leela pretended she didn't hear him.

She felt Fry's grip on her hand gently increase, she gently squeezed his hand back; a warm soft knowing smile spreading across her face.


The End.

Buddies