Fan Fiction

The Ties That Bind, part 2

“So what’s the big secret,” he said sitting down. “What couldn’t you tell me over the phone or with anyone else around?”

She was quiet for a long time before she asked, her voice unsteady, “Do you remember the last time we were together?”

“The time skips. You divorced me and we created a black hole.” And you broke my heart.

“That’s not exactly what I meant. We were ‘together’ at least once. Do you remember it?”

“You mean ‘together’ together, right?,” he asked more confused than before.

“Biblically 'together', yes,” she said.

“Then no, I don’t. We never were, as far as I know.”

Sighing, she said, “Yeah, I didn’t remember it either.” Wiping her eye, she said, “After you left I found out I was six weeks pregnant.”

“What? How could that be possible?”

“We don’t know how much time skipped before our wedding. It could have been a few weeks or a few months. We could have done it dozens of times and it only has to work once.”

“What happened,” he asked, sitting back overwhelmed.

“I had a girl. The doctors did the DNA testing with some skin cells Bender found at your apartment.  She was definitely your child. Our child. I named her Grace.”

“I’m a father?,” he asked.

“You were a father,” she said quietly. “She died a few weeks after she was born.”

“What?,” he asked, heartbroken about losing a child that, until a few seconds ago, he didn’t know existed.

Instead of answering, she asked him another question. “Fry, you remember how I always said I was an alien?”

“Yeah, I remember. The only one of your kind on Earth.”

“Yeah. Well, it turns out I’m from a lot closer to Earth than I ever though.” Hanging her head, she said, “Fry, I’m not an alien, I’m a mutant. I’m a filthy mutant. I’m why our baby died. My genes are garbage. They killed Gracie. I killed our baby,” she said, sobbing.

“Easy,” he said, enfolding her in his arms. The mother of his child. Something he fought so hard to earn for so long and he had already had it, he just never knew about it. And now his baby was dead, and he never even knew she existed. He still didn’t know why he was so upset by this.

Yes you do, he thought to himself. She was your little girl and you let her down. You should have been there. She was in pain and her daddy wasn’t there for her.

“Fry, you don’t know how long I wanted to tell you. I’ve known where you were for a few years. I was so scared, though. I couldn’t tell you about Gracie or me. What would you think about us? An alien is one thing, but a mutant? And what about poor Gracie? I could deal with you hating me, but not our baby. It wasn’t her choice to be different.”

“How could you say that? How could you even think that I could ever hate you or our baby?,” he said, kissing her forehead. “How do you know you’re a mutant?,” he asked, still holding her tight.

“I found my parents. Well, they found me. After I found out I was pregnant, I caught them coming up into my apartment. Their tentacles, anyway. Eventually, I met them. They told me they gave me up for adoption because I was close enough to normal to pass as an alien and I could have a mostly normal life. Apart from the eye and elbow talons, I’m as human as you are.

“And it wasn’t just them. I didn’t want to believe it, so I had some blood work done on Gracie and I. Both of our tests came back almost pure human. I’m not an alien. I never was,” she said, hanging her head again.

“But what happened to Grace?,” he asked, Looking around for a tissue, but finding none, he wiped her eye with his shirt.

“She had with so many birth defects she wouldn’t survive very long without a long list of surgeries. And there was a very good chance that she wouldn’t survive then. The doctor told me it was something like a 10% chance she would live through the first one. After that, it could get much worse. I couldn’t put her through it, Fry. I couldn’t hurt her that way. It wasn’t her fault. It was mine. So, after talking it over with my parents, we took her off the ventilator. I held her as she died. I killed our baby,” she said, sobbing again.

He held her for a long time while she sobbed. When she was quiet again, he said, “Why didn’t you tell me before now, Leela?”

“I was alone and scared, Fry. Terrified. You don’t know what it’s like being a mutant. If anyone finds out, I’m dead. You remember what the penalty is for mutants caught on the surface, don’t you? I barely talk to my parents because of it. I have to sneak down the sewers to even see them. I take their calls only on my cell so that no one can see who or what I’m talking to. Fry, I am so scared. I don’t know what else to do.”

“Does anyone else know?”

“About my being a mutant or you being Gracie’s father?”

“Both,” he said.

“Only Amy. She was the only one with me most of the time. She still isn’t very comfortable with the mutant thing, but I trust her not to say anything.”

They sat in silence on the couch for a long time. As he held her, he realized that he didn’t care what she was. Alien or mutant, she was still the Leela he had fallen in love with and she was in trouble. He had a lot to lose now, but he had to do something. Never being one for long-term planning, he just said, “Do you want to come back with me? You could hide in plain sight on campus. There are so many aliens there and no one would look twice at another. And no one knows you there. No embarrassing questions.”

“What about my parents?,” she asked. “They’re basically monsters, Fry. Can they hide in plain sight, too? I went for most of my life without knowing them, and they were always there for me. I can’t leave them.” When he didn’t respond, she said, “No, Fry. I can’t come with you.”

“I have to do something, Leela. I have to help.”

“Just be here, Fry. That’s all I need and all I want. Be here.”

She pulled away from him, wiped her eye, and walked back to the driver’s seat. Deactivating the auto-pilot, she said, sounding much stronger than she felt or looked, “You should strap in. We’ll be landing in about 10 minutes.”

“Remember,” she said, “not a word to anyone about what we talked about.”

“I remember, Leela. I’m not a moron.”

“Sorry. Not used to you being or acting smart. It has been a long time since we were around each other.”

“Things change, Leela. We aren’t the same people we were seven years ago,” he said as he walked to the cargo bay.

Shutting down the ship, she thought, No? Seven years ago I was a lonely alien. Now I’m a lonely mutant. That’s a big change.

As they met again on the floor of the hanger, Leela saw that they weren’t alone. Cubert, still in a daze, walked into the lab. Seeing the ship back, he wandered over to the railing.

“Hey, idiot,” he said. “Glad you could come back before disappearing again. Sure dad would have loved to see you again before he died. Glad you didn’t crash the ship, eyeball. That thing’s expensive.”

“Look you little bastard,” Fry began, but Leela’s hand on his arm stopped him. Cubert had already wandered away.

“It wouldn’t help, Fry. He’s still a lot out of it.”

“I almost feel sorry for the kid. Then he opens his mouth and I want to punch him in the face.”

“I know what you mean,” she said as they headed to the elevator to go to the kitchen. “He’s been real annoying since he came back last weekend.  I know his father was in a coma, but still.  It was great while he was at school these last few months. Hopefully, with the Professor dead, he’ll go back soon enough and we can get back to the quiet.”

The car door opened into the kitchen. A 1-X robot floated nearby, and pretty young woman was sitting at the table eating her lunch. She had long, wavy black hair and olive colored skin. She really was a beautiful young woman.  As best as he could tell, she was pretty short and she looked no more than 18.  She smelled vaguely familiar, and Fry figured that this was the delivery girl.  Dwight was lucky if this was his girlfriend.

“Sawson Assi,” Leela said indicating the girl, “1-X, this is Philip Fry. Fry, Susu. Fry used to be our delivery boy a long time ago.”

“Before or after Brad?,” she asked, getting up and wiping her hands off.

“Before,” Leela said emphatically.

“Then it’s very nice to meet you, Fry,” she said. She was very short, he noticed, barely making five feet in the heeled boots she was wearing.

Greetings, Mr. Fry. I will need to verify your voice print and blood type later for security purposes.”

“Sure, 1-X. We’ll do it in a little bit.”

“Yes, sir,” he said. “Excuse me, please. I need to find Bureaucrat Conrad.”

Turning to the young woman, he said, “Sawson or Susu?”

“Susu. It’s kind of like calling you Phil instead of Philip. Why Fry?”

“Always been Fry. My older brother was Fry for a while, but when we started hanging out with the same crowd, I became Fry.  Poor jerk ended up being ‘Fry’s brother,’” he said with a smirk.

“That’s a terrible thing to say about your own brother,” she said.

“No, he was a jerk,” Fry said. “Best thing he did was my nephew. He was the first man on Mars, you know. Without him, none of this," he said indicating the Planet Express building, "would have been possible.”

“Your nephew was THAT Philip J. Fry? Wait, how could that be? He’s been dead for almost 1,000 years.”

“I was born in 1974, frozen in 1999, and defrosted in 2999. Leela and Bender were two of the first people I met in the future.”

“Blah, blah, blah,” said a voice behind him. “Not here ten minutes and you’re already hitting on my roommate, and doing it in front of Chesty McNagnag, too.  And what about Bender? When are you going to say hi to him? And by him, I mean me, Bender.”

“Hey Bender,” Fry said, turning around to face the robot. “Congratulations on the Zinc Saucier victory. When I watched it, nobody believed that I knew you. All around campus, people were talking about how great you were.”

“That was 7 years ago, Fry,” he yelled angrily.  Following a long pause, he asked meekly, “Do they still remember me?”

“They still talk about the way you cooked Soylent Green, Bender.”

“YES! In your face, Will Smith and Charlton Heston. I, Bender, truly am Legend!” He started dancing, saying “Everybody do the Bender. Uh-uh. Go Bender! Go Bender! Go Bender!”

While Bender celebrated, Fry leaned over and whispered to Susu, “What did he mean by new roommate?”

“I live in his closet. It’s cheap and very roomy.”

“I know.  I used to live there. What happened to my stuff?”

“I sold it most of it,” Bender said as he stopped dancing, noticing that no one else was joining him. “I got $50 for most of your crap. Leela made me take the rest to your parent’s house.”

“You made him take my stuff to Brooklyn?” When she nodded, he said, “That was sweet of you, Leela.”

“Ugh, not this crap again. I thought you were done with this seven years ago when you left. If I have to put up with this ‘I-love-Leela’ garbage again, I’m taking the first pimpmobile out of this chump-hole.”

“You two were together?,” Susu asked.

“No,” they both said emphatically, pointedly not looking at each other.

“Naw,” Bender said. “The meatbag couldn’t get anything out of fatty, here. Of course, she wasn’t so fat back then. She was just meaty, but-.”

“HEE-YA!” Leela screamed, spinning on her left foot and slamming her right into the side of Bender’s head, knocking it across the room. As she spun to a stop and put her leg down, she grabbed her right leg in pain. “I haven’t been able to get my leg up that high in years,” she said as Fry sat her down.

“Let me do that,” he said, rubbing the back and inside of her leg.

“That’s OK, Fry,” she said, her breath catching. “I’m fine.”

Looking up and he saw a strange look in her eye. He thought he saw a few things flash through quickly and disappear: fear, longing, disgust, joy. Not entirely sure what to make of it, he stopped, saying, “Sure, Leela. Whatever you want.”

“Right,” Susu said, smiling. “Never together. I’m going to finish my lunch in the lounge and leave the two of you to not be together again. Nice meeting you, Fry.”

“Where did I go just now?,” Bender said as his body wandered over and finally grabbed his head.

“I like her,” Fry said as he walked over to the refrigerator, looking for something to drink.

“Yeah, she’s great. If you go for that young, pretty, exotic, fully human type, that is,” she said, shame creeping into her voice.

“That’s not what I meant, and you know it,” he said.

“Oh your God,” Bender said walking over to Fry as he screwed his head back on. “You are going to start that crap again, aren’t you?” Reaching past him and pulling out a beer, he said “You better not touch any of those, Fry, or else.”

“Sure Bender,” he said, pulling out a can of Slurm. “Whatever you say.”

“Damn right, chump! Oh, and you can just bite my shiny metal ass if you think you’re going to stay with me while you’re here. I don’t need two of you organ sacks in my closet. It’s bad enough that Dwight comes over and those two squirt DNA at each other. I don’t need you and Big Boots here to start. It’d be a damn sausage link orgy, and I will not have that under my roof. Screw you guys, I’m outta here,” he said, belching fire as he walked through the door and into the lounge. “Move over, pop tart. Calculon is on.”

“Aww. You know how I feel about that human. He's such a stereotype,” they heard Susu say before the door shut, leaving them alone again.

“Where are you going to stay, Fry,” she asked.

“Not sure yet. I was hoping to stay with Bender, but that’s out the window now.  I’ll probably just stay here with Cubert and Zoidberg. Where is that crab, anyway?”

You could stay with me, she thought. Instead, she said, “I have no idea. He was here when I left to get you, but that was a while ago. He’s probably upstairs rooting through the Professor’s stuff, looking for something to eat.”

“Ah, poor Doctor John. Where’s Hermes?”

The door opened and a fishy garbage odor wafted in. “What’s this,” a voice behind him said. “Fry, my good friend. You’ve come back.  It’s good to see you again. How long are you in town? Where are you staying? Do you have plans for tonight? Can you get me some food? I’m so very poor and so very hungry.” He came up and wrapped his arms around Fry, whimpering about how hungry he was.

“Uh,” he said, then mouthed the word “HELP” to Leela, “I’m not too sure yet, Doc-.”

“He’s staying with me, Zoidberg,” she said, startling herself and Fry. “And we’ve got plans for tonight.”

“Awww. I was hoping to spend some time with my good friend Fry. He looks healthy and smells like tasty breakfast foods.”  Zoidberg shuffled out of the room, muttering about how hungry he was and how no one wanted to spend time with Zoidberg.

“Ugh, I think I'll have to burn this sweatshirt,” Fry said. “Thanks for the help, Leela. I’ll just have to find someplace to hide from Zoidberg for a few days, and that’ll be that.”

“I was serious, Fry. Come stay with me. You know I’ve got have plenty of room since it’s just me and Nibbler.”

“Are you sure, Leela?”

NO!, she thought.  “Yes,” she said smiling, sounding and looking much more confident than she felt.  “You need some place to stay and I have the room. It’s the least I could do." For you, she thought.

“What about these ‘plans’ for tonight?”

“Well, we could either go out and get something to eat, or get take out and stay in and watch a movie. Or just talk. We haven’t seen each other in a long time, Fry. It’d be nice to catch up on…other things.”

“Turunga Leela, are you asking me out on a date?,” he asked, smiling

“Not much of a time for a date, I guess, since the Professor’s just died.  But yeah, I guess I am.”

“I accept, then. Had I know all it took to get you to go out with me was for someone to die, I would have started killing people years ago. I’m going to head to Brooklyn and see what you saved of my stuff. If nothing’s good, I’ll need to go buy a suit, since I didn’t bring one with me.”

“I’m going to try and track down Hermes and find out what’s going on with the Professor. I’ll see you later, Fry,” she said with a smile.

Feeling impulsive, he reached out and hugged her. They stood there for a long time before he pulled back a little and looked at her. He couldn’t get over how beautiful she still was. Carefully, he pulled her close again and ran his fingers through the hair at the base of her neck. She purred a little in pleasure, moving her head so he could touch more of her neck. He pulled back and they both were smiling. Letting her go, he walked to the elevator whistling Katrina and the Waves.

Hoping that she wasn’t making a mistake and misreading Fry, she went off to find Hermes.

Four hours later, Fry was leaving the ruins of his parent’s house, a few personal items in hand, but lacking a suit. Bender had sold the one good suit that he had and all of this dad’s and brother’s things were long gone. Well, he thought, they wouldn’t have fit anyways. He did manage to find some of his mom’s hidden stash of whiskey: two full, unopened bottles of Kentucky goodness. Hidden in the back cellar, it had managed to survive alien invasions, the Second Coming, and a millennium of looters. A nice haul, he thought. I just have to keep this out of Bender’s sight or it’ll be gone before I can blink.

He was still a bit disappointed about the things that he couldn’t find in his box of saved stuff. He knew that had kept his wedding ring after the divorce. He had been certain that he had put it into his holophoner case, and now they were both gone. Bender must have found them before moving everything to Brooklyn, since there were only two types of tracks in the dust of his parent’s basement: boot prints that closely matched Leela’s brand and a robot’s foot cups.

Heading back to the surface, he wondered about Leela.  She was acting oddly. It wasn’t at all like her, or at least the Leela he remembered.  She impulsively invited him to stay with her this week. It may have started as a lie to get him away from Zoidberg, but she didn’t try and back out of it when he left.  So, what was he to make of her?  Was she doing this because she actually liked him? Was she doing it just to be friendly? Or, was she doing this in a desperate attempt to be with someone who she knew, or at least hoped, wouldn’t reject her for being a mutant? If she was genuinely coming around, then he would be ecstatic. If she was being friendly, he would be a little disappointed, but in no worse position than when he got here.  If she was using him to stave off her loneliness, he would be very disappointed in her.  He hated being used. A vibration in his pocket brought him back to his surroundings. Leela, he saw as he pulled his phone out.

“Good hunting?,” she asked.

“Yes and no,” he replied, patting the whiskey. “I found a few things, but no suit. I’m going to have to go buy one. Any word from Hermes?”

“Hermes said the funeral isn’t until Friday, so we have plenty of time. When you get back to the surface, come and get me and I’ll go with you. I’m at the office.”

“Sounds good,” he said, smiling. “I’m on my way.”

Whistling an old song, he climbed out of the sewer hatch and walked to where he had parked his bike.

Several hours later, Fry remembered why he hated shopping in a large city. It was all hurry up and wait, with other people not caring that they were slowly walking down the middle of the aisle, blocking traffic from two directions at once. Get in, find what he needed, and get out, that’s how he liked to do it.

Leela was behaving oddly in small bursts. One moment she was hanging onto his arm, eyeing the crowd warily, and the next she was her old self, bursting confidently through the crowd, not caring who was in the way. It was good to have her there, though, since she ended up having wonderful taste in men’s clothes. She had insisted on picking everything out for him, and he had to admit she did good work.

He stood in the changing room, looking in the mirrors at what she picked out. Damn, I look good, he thought. Then he thought about all the times that he had gotten really dressed up like this. Almost one hundred percent of the time, some disaster struck. Like the last time he wore a tux.

“Well?,” he asked, walking out of the changing room, and turning around so she could see. “What do you think?”

“Very nice. I do good work, if I must say so myself,” she said with a smile.

“Well, let’s hope that this will break the curse,” he said.

“What curse?,” she asked, tugging at the jacket making sure it was straight.

“Almost every time I get dress up, something bad happens.”

She stopped adjusting him and refused to meet his eyes. “Even our wedding?”

“Leela, you shoved your bouquet into my mouth and then divorced me. I’d say that that pretty much qualifies as a disaster.”

Looking at him, but not his face, she said, “You look good. Let’s go find some shoes and get out of here.”

Shaking his head, Fry went back into the changing room and got his own clothes back on. She was Cold Leela for the rest of the trip.

Once they got back to her apartment, it took Fry several trips to get all of his stuff upstairs. She’d redecorated since he had been here last, with a new window and new furniture in the living room, including a very comfortable looking couch. Stifling a yawn, he pulled himself away from the couch. It had been a long and eventful day, and the couch was calling his name. It was a siren’s song that he couldn’t resist. I’ll just sit for a minute, he thought, just to see how it’ll be tonight.

A short while later he woke with a start, throwing a blanket onto the floor as he did. Sitting up, he noticed that it had gotten dark out, but there was enough light to see that she had tried to make him comfortable while he napped, including the blanket and taking his shoes off and putting them with the rest of his stuff. He rubbed a pain in his neck as he looked around at Leela’s darkened apartment. There were two immediate concerns for him: food and bladder. Bladder won out and he got up to look for the bathroom. Business completed, he went looking for the kitchen. He hadn’t eaten since Rockford, and it was all coming back to haunt him now.

He saw a light from down a hallway and found a surprisingly large kitchen. Sitting at the table, her hair a bit of a mess and wearing a nightgown and her monocle was Leela. She had a half-filled bottle of some brown liquid sitting in front of her, with a glass filled with ice and some of the brown liquid in her hand. She looked up and started to redden in embarrassment. Fry walked over to the cabinet, grabbed a glass for himself, and poured himself a drink from her bottle.

“I’m not sure that this is a very good dinner, Leela,” he said, throwing back his drink and nearly choking on the burn and the overly woody taste. “What is this rot gut?,” he gasped. Looking at the bottle, it read ‘Olde Rot Gut.’ “Oh,” he said.

Getting up, he took the bottle to the sink and poured it out. “Guh,” he said, shuddering a little. Looking at the clock, he saw it was only 10:30. Turning back to Leela, he picked up their glasses and walked out into the hall. “Order us a pizza and meet me in the living room. I’ve got something much better than that.”

Shrugging, Leela went to her phone and ordered their late dinner.

“Twenty minutes or so,” she said, walking into her living room. There was an open bottle, with at least an inch of dust covering it, and two half filled glasses sitting on her coffee table. Fry was sitting on the floor under her TV waiting for her. “What’s this?,” she asked.

“Part of what I brought back from Brooklyn,” he said. “It’ll go down a lot smoother than that paint thinner you were drinking.” When she sat down, he raised his glass in a toast. “To old friends, well met again,” he said, clinking their glasses together. He threw the drink back in a few gulps. Shaking his head, he gasped, “See, smooth.”

“That’s why,” she said drinking hers much more slowly, “you don’t drink whiskey that way, Fry. When is this from?,” she asked, looking at the bottle.

“Sometime in the 1990’s,” he said, pouring himself a second drink. “Mom’s secret stash. It was under the stairs in their cellar. Ah, pre-Y2K whiskey. Pride of Kentucky.”

“We should really go easy on this stuff,” she said, finishing her glass and reaching for the bottle. “We may need to make this last for a while. Since you poured that bottle out, I’m dry.”

“When the pizza guy gets here, I’ll see if he’ll go get us some more.”

“Good idea,” she said, taking another drink from her glass.

When the pizza guy got there, Fry gave him $50 and asked him to go buy them a twelve pack of beer.

When the kid came back, Fry told him to keep all the change. Tripling his nightly tips, he gave Fry his number and told him to call if they needed anything else.

“So there Amy was,” Leela said laughing, “sitting in the fountain, in her wedding dress, hurling into Kif’s ancestral swamp. It was the funniest damn thing I’d ever seen.”

Fry fell over, he was laughing so hard. They were both completely drunk. The pizza, a bottle of the whiskey, and half of the twelve pack were long gone. They had been telling stories about what had happened to them over the last seven years, and Fry, in the part of his mind that was still his own, was sure he was going to remember none of them. Fry tried to pull himself up using her coffee table, but failed miserably and knocked some of the empty bottles onto the floor. He pulled himself up some and looked sheepishly at Leela. She glared hard at him for a few seconds, but then started giggling. That set him off and soon they were both rolling around on the floor laughing.

Fry rolled onto his back and tried to catch his breath. Looking over, he saw Leela doing the same. Grinning evilly, he leapt on her and started tickling her. She squirmed and laughed, asking him to stop. When he kept going, she started in on him. They rolled over all over the place, knocking the coffee table over, scattering the rest of the debris from on top of the table as they did, laughing all the while.

Leela straddled him, pinning his arms down on the sides of his head, sitting her hips down on top of his. They sat there for a few seconds, Fry struggling and Leela, holding him down as best as she could. She was strong, but he’d put on a lot of muscle since they last saw each other. Fry stopped struggling as they both tried to catch their breath. They just stared at each other for a few more seconds before Leela leaned down and kissed him. It was quick, and from the look on each of their faces, it was very much a surprise.

She got off of him and slid back a little. Sitting up, he looked at her. Her hair was a mess, her nightgown was pulled up almost to her waist, and her chest was heaving as she struggled for breath. She looked so wild and exotic to him. Good Lord, did he want her then more than he ever had. Almost simultaneously they reached out and grabbed the sides of each other’s heads and started kissing each other passionately, stopping only to start pulling each other’s clothes off. Leela, now topless, made him stand up to get his pants off, but as drunk as she was, she was having trouble with his belt. That was when something clicked in his brain.

This is wrong, he thought.

But, but, but, but, he thought back.

No buts. Doing this with her right now, with her like this, is wrong. You’d be taking advantage of her. You don’t want her to regret it, do you?

Damn it. I hate it when I’m right.

“Leela,” he said, moving his hands down as she finally got his belt undone, “stop. Please.”

She looked up at him, tears starting to form in her eye. She reached out again, and he pushed her hands away. “Why? I’m good enough to make out with, but I’m not good enough for you to make love to? I want this, Fry. I want you. Please, Fry.”

“No Leela. Not like this. I’m sorry.”

“It’s because I’m a mutant, isn’t it? Isn’t it?,” she shouted, crying now.

“No, it‘s not-.”

“Yes it is. I’m just some sick fantasy of yours, aren’t I? Something to brag about with your college friends when you go back home, right? Tell them all about how you had sex with some desperate one-eyed slut freak, right? I thought you were better than that, Fry. I thought you loved me,” she said sobbing as she staggering out of the living room and slamming her bedroom door.

He stood in the empty room, and said, “I do love you, Leela. And God in Heaven, woman, I want you more than anything I’ve ever wanted in my life. But not like that.”

Never go to bed mad. Helen had told him that once. That was the key to a good relationship. Anything you went to bed mad about would just fester and get much worse in the morning. Plus, making up was part of the fun. He shuddered at the thought of Helen and Zim doing that, but the message wasn’t lost on him. Leela wouldn’t go to bed angry with him tonight. She’d know how he felt and why he stopped her.

Barging into her room, he said, “Leela, I stopped you because we’re drunk. It’s not because I don’t love you, which I do. It’s not because I don’t want you, because I do, very badly. I just don’t want you to regret it. I respect you too much to use you like that.”

When he was greeted by silence, he looked around her room. Leela was sprawled, in a very unladylike fashion, face down on her bed. Smiling sadly, Fry moved her as best he could without waking her and pulled her blankets up. Brushing her hair from her face, he kissed her cheek and started to walk out.

Stopping at her dresser, he saw it covered with pictures of the two of them and Bender, and two creatures he assumed to be her parents. There were two other pictures he didn’t recognize. One was an ultrasound of a baby he assumed was Grace. He tried not to cry as he traced the little peanut in the picture. His only child and he never knew her. Setting it down, he looked at the other one. It was of the two of them, and they were both smiling broadly. Leela was wearing an engagement ring that he thought looked familiar. Looking closer, he saw it was his grandmother’s ring. He didn’t remember giving it to Leela or taking that picture. Crying silently, he walked out of her room, closing the door as he did.

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