Fan Fiction

Stranger In A Strange Land, part 7
By La Belle Leela

(Sidewalk outside Planet Express, 08/05/3008, sometime after Midnight)

"Ohhhhhhh, Bender is great, Beeeender is great, BenderBenderBenderBender, IIIIIIIS GREEEEEAAAAAT!" Fry & Leela stood silently as they saw it was Bender coming down the street, singing at his maximum volume, and dragging what appeared to be something human behind him. Bender stepped under the streetlight at the corner, when Fry and Leela saw this, they broke into a run. They gasped when they saw Bender was lugging an inebriated, and unconcious Dave behind him. "Ooowaaahh!" grunted Bender, "You're alot heavier than Fry, squishy!" Bender said as he dropped Dave's legs to the pavement. "Bender! what the hell are you doing?" shouted Fry & Leela in unison.

Bender faced Leela & Fry, gesturing to Dave by pointing back over his shoulder, "Ahhh, sausage link here was feelin' kinda down, and I was bored, as usual, so I figured tonight being Ladies Night down at the bar, I'd take him down there, have us a good time, rather than mope around here, or at my place!" Leela studied Dave's sprawledout body on the sidewalk, "How much did he drink?" she asked Bender with a worried tone in her voice. "Aw, just 4 bottles of Boomshine, (freakin' lightweight!)." The last part muttered under his breath. "BENDER!" That stuff's only good for stripping paint, or for robot fuel! did you stop to think, or tell him that?" Leela said angrily. "Relax big boots, dummy here has quite a tolerance for the stuff! I mean, Fry was throwin' up after only 5 or 6 shots!", "Well, we can't leave him out here, c'mon guys, grab a leg." said Leela as she picked Dave up by his arms. They carried Dave down 4 darkened city blocks, Leela becoming increasingly agitated at Bender's stupidity. They reached the entrance to The Robot Arms Apts, Leela proceeded to chew Bender out some more while they waited for the elevator. Fry flung open the door, they carried Dave inside, placing him gently on the couch, turning him on his side, just in case. Leela waited a few minutes, just to be sure Dave was still breathing, then headed for the door. "You two make sure to check on him from time to time, he's gonna wish he was dead, when he gets the mother of all hangovers in the morning." Leela closed the door behind her, "ohhh we'll check on him." said Fry with a mischevious grin plastered on his face, as he held up a black marker pen. Fry & Bender giggled as they looked across the room at Dave passed out on the couch.

(Planet Express building, 08/05/3008, 0900)

"Where in Bob Marley's ghost are Fry and Bender?" shouted Hermes. The morning meeting was supposed to start at 8am sharp, and Hermes was livid with rage. Fry and Bender strolled in to the meeting, well over an hour late. "Sorry everyone, we kinda overslept." Fry explained as Bender interrupted him "yeah 'coz we were up so late drawing on-OW! Hey! knock it off!" said Bender as Fry punched his side to quiet him, so not to let the others know about their little "surprise". Fry & Bender were still snickering a little as they took their seats at the large, round conference table, letting Hermes continue with his briefing. After 30 or 40 minutes into the meeting, the sound of the large roll-up door in the hangar distracted everyone. Dave came walking in, passed by the conference table without saying anything, and headed for the locker room. When he returned, everyone stopped, and looked at him, not saying a word. Fry & Bender couldn't control themselves anymore, and burst into loud fits of laughter. "What de hell's so funn-oh, sweet manta ray of Montego bay!" snapped Hermes. Fry managed to stifle his laughter enough to stand up & point to Dave's face, which was covered in black marker scribbling, mostly anatomical obscenities. Bender had written a large mass of ones, and zeros all over Dave's left cheek, & neck. "Uhhhh, Dave, have you by any chance looked in a mirror this morning?" asked Leela. Dave walked back into the locker room, and quickly exclaimed "Ohhh, you guys are ASSES!" Bender was especially proud of his pranking, and laughed even harder when he saw the binary graffiti again, when Dave emerged from the locker room. Leela cast an angry scowl in Fry & Bender's direction, they stopped laughing immediatly. "Hey what's the big deal, he lived didn't he? Serves him right for passing out." said Bender. Leela didn't reply, she just sat quietly, still staring daggers at Fry and Bender. "I can expect this kind of behavior from Bender Fry, but I'd thought you'd grown out of this sort of stuff. I thought you would have handled this with a little more maturity. Fry didn't understand, Leela was genuinly concerned. "Fry, he could have died from drinking that stuff last night, and all you two could think about was drunken shaming!"

Bender yelled, "What are you getting so worked up about Leela? He was never in any danger of dying!" Hermes interrupted the argument, "Fight it out later! You three have a job to do! These anvils ain't gonna deliver 'demselves to Stumbos-4!!!" A few hours later, Dave & the Professor had replaced the damaged fusion extrapolators in his hover truck's fuel cell. "Perhaps you'd like to go test drive it?" asked Farnsworth. Dave sighed "Maybe later." Dave answered. He was still very pale, and fighting the detox shakes from last night. Dave left the hangar bay, walked into the TV room to lay down for a while. Amy was already on the couch, watching All My Circuits. "Woah, you look like robot hell!" exclaimed Amy. Dave winced "Ohhh, please, not so loud!" Dave sat on the side of the couch opposite Amy, they sat quietly, watching Calculon monologue his way through yet-another wedding. "So,,,you & Bender have a good time last night?" said Amy. "Well, O'Zorgnax's isn't really a bar I'd hang out in, maybe it was just because it was Ladies Night, but I prefer a darker, quieter place to punish my liver." Dave said with a little smile. "Leela was really angry with Fry & Bender, what did they do?" Dave turned his head, pointing to the sore, red parts of his face where he'd spent the better part of two hours scrubbing off Fry and Bender's obscene writing. Amy let out high pitched giggle, "Hah! Drunken Shaming! I see that alot at Mars University, especially around Spring Break,,,and Rush,,,and midterms." Dave sat quietly, trying to settle into the corner of the couch cushions with his eyes closed tightly, to keep the daylight from the large bay window from getting through. Amy switched off the TV, "Dave,,,can I ask you a serious question?", "Sure Amy, what is it?" Dave answered groggily. Amy hesitated a bit, trying to word her question carefully. "I noticed you seem to give Leela alot of attention, what is it you like about her?" Dave though for a moment, his brain was still in the midst of an epic Neal Peart-esque drum solo from the hangover. "Amy,,,Leela isn't like any other woman I've ever known. Physically, she is incredibly beautiful,,,heat incarnate!, for lack of a better term. What's even better about her is, I get this sense that she has this amazing inner beauty, it's like her soul gives off this energy, which just makes me feel really good, I can feel it all through me!" Dave replied with a really big smile spreading across his face. Those words temporarily made him forget the pain from the hangover. Amy spoke "Oh,,,well,,I was just curious Dave, Leela's kinda like a big sister to me. Not literally a sister, but I like to think of her as a sister, since she's been there for me when I've had relationship problems, or fears. Someday I'd like to return the favor for her." Dave looked at her quizzically, "What are you saying Amy?" She sighed heavily, "What I guess I'm trying to say is,,,I don't wanna see Leela get hurt again." Amy explained to Dave about Shawn, Adlai, Chaz, and she started to explain about Brannigan, but Dave cut her off, saying he'd already crossed paths with that loser, no explanation needed. "Amy, I think it's great you look out for Leela like that, she's blessed to have a friend like you." Dave paused, "But, yeah, I really do like Leela, alot! I just haven't been able to work up the nerve to ask her if she'd like to go out for coffee, or a walk, or something." Dave hesitated, his next words came with a little difficulty. "Amy, please understand, I want you to know that I've been hurt too, several times, and the last woman nearly drove me suicidal, broken love is a pain I know all too well." Amy's hand flew up to her mouth as she gasped. Dave looked Amy in the eyes as he continued, "Amy, please know this,,,I don't ever want to do anything to hurt Leela, I'd never forgive myself." Amy looked a little distressed at first, but she smiled at Dave, placed her hand on his knee, "Dave, it's ok, I really appreciate you being honest with me. I just wanted to know your intentions for Leela." Amy stood up, walked towards the door, she stopped before leaving the room, and said "Dave, if you & Leela do manage to start seeing each other, I just think you two would be a great couple." Dave managed to give a little smile, as he winced from the pain in his head. "Thanks Amy." He settled back into the couch cushions, pulling the blanket over, and around his head, to try and block as much light, and sound from reaching his head as he fell asleep.

A few hours later he awoke, his headache mercifully had stopped, but in it's place was a kind of thirst usually associated with a trek across the desert. Dave stumbled over to the small kitchen in the next room, opened the cold water tap, and consuming several glasses of water. His thirst vanquished, Dave let out a loud, satisfying belch. He looked around the office to see if anyone was in. The Planet Express ship sat silently in the hangar, Dave looked up at the ship's windows, "no lights on, and it's after 6pm, they musta gone home" Dave thought. The only person Dave found was The Professor, dozing peacefully in his recliner back in his lab. Returning to the conference table, Dave found a note "Dave - Hope you are feeling better, if you leave, please lock up behind you. - H. Farnsworth" Dave heard a rustling outside, probably Zoidberg rummaging through the dumpster looking for dinner again, he thought. Dave decided to go out, see some more of the city. The steel roll-up door clattered shut, Dave snapped the padlock bolt closed, and climbed back into his Hover-truck. The early evening sky had become considerably cloudy, and a light rain began to fall. Dave sat while his truck warmed up. He noticed Farnsworth had installed another switch on his dashboard. The switch was guarded, and marked "MASTER ARM". Dave knew this placard meant The Professor had installed some kind of weapon in his truck, but decided that a crowded city street wasn't the best location to test his theory.

Dave drove around for the better part of an hour, he decided to park, and walk around a bit. Turning down a small side street off the main avenue, Dave spied a parking space big enough to accomodate the truck, and let the Dodge settle against the curb with a gentle bump. Daylight was nearly gone, the streetlights were starting to illuminate one at a time. All the sights, smells, and sounds were mesmerizing. Dave walked around the large shopping complex, admiring all the amazing 31st century gadgets, devices, appliances, and clothing fashions each shop window had on display. A group of young Neptunian women walked by, stopped, stared at Dave's outfit for a minute, then continued on. He must have looked strange to them, he was just dressed in his usual attire of a black T-shirt, blue jeans, and black leather work boots. Dave heard one of the Neptunians giggle as they walked away "Did you see that? he looked sooooo 26th century, spluh!" Dave smiled a bit as he walked on. He stopped in front of a large department store, "Alien Overlord & Taylor". He entered the store, pausing to watch a TV monitor featuring an old woman, her grey hair up in a double bun give a speech about robot oil. "Hmmmm, that's gotta be that Mom person Fry was telling me about" Dave thought.

Dave browsed through the store's three levels for nearly an hour, before heading down to the food court for some coffee. He found a seat in a empty part of the center atrium, relaxing while the coffee cooled down enough to drink. Dave watched as the milling throngs of people, robots, and alien races of all sorts walked by. It was finally sinking in that he was living in a time he never would have seen, if his lifetime had run it's course back in the 21st century. When he finished, Dave strolled back through the 1st floor of Alien Overlord & Taylor, back towards the street exit doors. Dave rounded a corner, passing a large display of Lightspeed Briefs, when he nearly jumped out of his skin in surprise! Right in front of him, no more than 20 feet away, stood Leela! She was standing at a checkout counter, not facing him, so she had no idea he had seen her. Leela was engaged in conversation with the young woman ringing up her purchase. Dave nervously edged his way behind another display rack, pretending to study the price tags on a pile of folded slacks, hoping Leela wouldn't see him, until he could think of something to say to her. When Leela finished her transaction with the clerk, she headed for the street exit. Dave had to act, his mind was racing, he finally had the opportunity to talk to Leela away from the Planet Express office, just the two of them. He kept trying in vain to think of something to say, "why can't I just go up and talk to her!, not just trail her like some creepy stalker!" he thought. Leela had nearly a half a block head start, Dave was having difficulty keeping an eye on her. Leela walked fast, Dave could only manage to see her purple ponytail bobbing, as she made her way down the street. It was dark now, the streetlights, and neon signs from the shops shone brightly on the rain-slicked streets.

Leela turned right at the next intersection, down the side street Dave had parked his truck on. "Leela must live nearby, she didn't hail a cab leaving the store." Dave thought. Leela darted across the side street, Dave was nearly a full block behind her, but still managed to see her cross the street, and start to go down a darkened alleyway. Dave's pace quickened, he didn't want to lose her. Words, or no words, he was going to say something to her tonight, anxiety be damned! As Dave walked closer to the alley, he heard what sounded like shouting, glass was breaking, A Fight! Dave knew what he'd heard next couldn't be good, he heard Leela's high pitched "HEEEEE-YAHHH!" Dave instantly broke into a run! The alley was long, and as he turned the corner, he saw Leela execute a flawless high-flying kick to the face of one of the two others he saw in the alley. She knocked the first assailant out cold, but Leela slipped, and fell on the wet ground as she completed her kick. Leela yelped in pain as she landed on her back. The second assailant stood there staring at his unconcious partner. He growled "youse knocked half his teeth out, youse gonna pay now!" Leela was trying to stand up, but Dave could see she seriously injured her leg in the fall. The second thug flashed a knife from under his coat, maliciously staring at Leela as she crawled backwards towards a dumpster & brick wall to try and pull herself up to a defensive position. Leela's eye was wide with fear as the knife-wielding thug advanced towards her. What happened next couldn't have been anything short of a miracle. From out of the shadows, Leela heard someone running, in nanoseconds, Leela saw the thug get hit in midsection, and go down hard! Leela had been in many a fight, violence was nothing new to her, but she had never seen something as viceral as this. Her rescuer had the thug pinned to the ground, landing one savage blow after another to his face. What little light there was in the alleyway illuminated a ghastly scene. Leela's attacker was getting the beating of his life, the pavement around them was splattered with blood, and pieces of broken teeth. The thug's beating was over as quickly as it had begun. The samaritan's back was turned, Leela could not identify him in the dim alley light. The stranger stood up, administering one final, savage steel-toed kick to the head, knocking the thug out cold. Leela's heart was thundering faster than a dark-matter reactor. She prepared to defend herself, as the stranger turned around, and started walking to where she lay. "Who the hell are you? identify yourself!" she demanded. "Are you alright Leela?" the man said, as he steppped into the light. Leela nearly fainted from the surprise. "DAVE? y-y-you? I-I, where'd you-what just happened?" She was shaking like a leaf, and starting to sob. "Leela! relax, it's over, you're safe now." Dave spoke in a very calming tone. He knelt down on the ground beside her, checking her over for injuries. "Dave, Dave, where are they, they-he's got a knife!" Leela said sobbing uncontrollably. Dave pointed over to the two unconcious thugs on the ground "You clobbered the first one, that guy there had the knife," Dave said pointing to the second, well bloodied assailant. "He's out cold too, you're gonna be ok, just tell me if you're injured." Leela composed herself "My ankle,,,I think it's broken." Dave replied "I saw you fall on it after you took out the first one. Do you think you can stand?" Leela suddenly reached over, and threw both of her arms around Dave's neck, and burying her face in his shoulder. "Oh I was so scared, he-he was gonna kill me!" she cried as Dave held on to her. "I'm here for you Leela, you're safe now" Dave kept re-assuring her, as he gently stroked her hair. When her sobbing subsided, Leela sat back up, looking Dave in his eyes, "Oh, I'm so embarassed, I should have been able to take both of those bastards down, just common street thugs!" One of the beaten-up thugs began to stir. "Leela, can you stand?" Dave asked her again. Leela took hold of Dave's arms as he pulled her to her feet. As soon as she was up, she yelped in pain, and started to lose her balance. Dave caught her, "Awright, I'm getting you to a hospital now!" he said. "Put your right arm around my neck, and hold on." Dave said, and with one swift movement, Dave picked Leela up in his arms, and started to carry her towards the side street. "My truck's parked not far from here Leela, hold on to me." Dave looked down at Leela's face every few seconds, even through her pain, she smiled at him when he looked at her. Dave took great care not to exacerbate Leela's injured ankle When he placed her in his truck. He made sure she was comfortable as possible before driving away.

(Taco Bellvue Hospital, 08/05/3008, 2130 NNY time)

The emergency room doors flew open as Dave carried Leela in to be treated. Dave placed her down gently in a chair, and went for a nurse. Dave hadn't even noticed his own injuries. The fight with the knife-wielding thug had left Dave with several cuts to his hands, as he disarmed him, and Dave's adrenaline was so high, he didn't feel the pain. Leela was admitted, placed on a gurney, and sent to an exam room. Dave yelled to her "I'll be right here Leela, you'll be fine." as she was wheeled away. A doctor led Dave to another room, he sat beside a small table with first aid gear laid out. The doctor examined Dave, "Well, aside from the lacerations and bruising, you'll be fine. What happened to you & the young lady?" Dave explained the whole story, as the doctor waved a silver metal cylinder back and forth over his cuts, sparing no details of the attack. "She was incredibly lucky you were there." Dave looked up, "Yeah, helluva way to meet a girlfriend."

Dave's injuries now bandaged, he returned to the admitting lobby to wait for Leela. He stopped at the nurse's station, a tall dark female nurse was on duty, "How is she? is she okay?" The nurse asked "who?", "Leela, Turanga Leela, she's got the ankle injury." Dave said. The nurse pulled a chart, flipped through it a bit, "She's gonna be just fine honey, jus' relax." the nurse replied in a thick Jamaican accent. Dave asked "Is it ok if I go see her?", "We're not supposed to, but it's not too busy tonight honey, go on back 'dere, she's in 1224." Dave found the door, opened it a little, knocked twice, "Leela, are you decent?", "Yeah, come on in." Dave opened the door, Leela was lying on the exam bed, she was sedated, but extremely happy to see Dave. He walked over, hugged Leela tight, "Doc says your ankle's gonna be fine." Dave noticed the metal bird-cage looking cylinder that was affixed to Leela's right calf, extending down to her foot. "I just wanted to check on you before the doctor comes back.", "Thanks Dave, it was nice of you." she said with a bright smile. "I'll be right outside waiting Leela, don't worry, you'll be fine." Dave assured her, as he walked backwards out of the room.

It was almost midnight when Leela was discharged from the hospital. She was walking under her own power again, it was as if her ankle wasn't broken at all. Dave was napping in a chair by the main entrance. Leela smiled when she saw him, she walked over, gently placed her hand on his shoulder, Dave immediatly snapped awake, looking right up at Leela's smiling face. "Heyyy, I'm all set, we can go now." she said. The night air was unusually cool for August, as Dave and Leela stepped outside of the emergency room doors. "Would you like me to drive you home?" Dave asked Leela? "I wouldn't have it any other way." she said.

(Outside Leela's Apartment building, 08/06/3008, 0045 NNY time)

Dave slowed his truck to a stop outside the dingy 10-storey apartment building where Leela lived. Dave exited first, walked around to the passenger side, and opened the door for Leela. Dave extended his hand, Leela gladly took hold, stepping out of his truck. They walked up the stairs to the entrance. "Thanks again,,,if you hadn't been there,,,that could have really turned ugly Dave.", "Leela, I would have done it all over again without a second thought!" Leela said nothing, she fixed her eye on his eyes, "You gonna be okay?" she asked. "Yeah, my hands got dinged up a bit, but I'll live." Dave said laughing a little. "Sooo, I guess this is good night." Dave said. Leela walked down one step to where Dave was standing, placing her arms around his shoulders, and resting her head against his chest, as Dave put his arms around her back. They embraced for only a moment, but Dave wished she'd never let go. "Goodnight Dave, I'll see you in the morning." Leela said, as she walked through the lobby doors to her apartment.

Dave stood out on the sidewalk until she was gone. Before he turned to walk back to his truck, Dave looked up, The night sky was clear and starry. Dave stood silently, like he had done many times before, he offered his silent prayer "God, I did something incredible tonight, I think she might be the one!" Dave drove back to the Robot Arms Apts, Fry was snoring loudly on his mattress in the corner, Bender was snoozing, while muttering his usual "Nnnnngh, kill allll huuumannns!" Dave settled onto the couch, closed his eyes, and a few minutes later opened them, got up, walked over to the window, stared out at the twinkling New New York skyline, and whispered "Good night Leela."