I really didn't want to post again until after i had actually written another chapter, but what with my impending death and all i figured "What the hell." So without further stalling for time i give you 15 pages of 16 Days. (Don't worry it's not 15 pages of paragraphs, it's mostly double-spaced dialougue.)
Taco Bellevue Hospital, room 413
Today was going to be a hard day. Fry could tell. Leela was having one of her worse days, her breathing was labored and Fry always had a hard time on those days. Until her breathing returned to normal he couldn’t help but be extra scared for her.
He paced a bit, which he did occasionally to help keep his legs from going numb, and he fiddled with the little stress squeeze toy he had purchased for her before her accident. It was a little one-eyed figure he had seen in the store window of a small tourist shop. It had reminded him of Leela and had made him laugh, so he had bought it thinking Leela would get a kick out of it as well. It was the present he had mentioned to Leela early on in her coma, trying to entice her to wake up, but he had had Amy retrieve it from his locker a couple hours after Leela had had her life support pulled. He had felt she deserved a little something for showing the strength that she had. So he had opened it for her and kept it on her bedside table.
He continued to pace, pausing only to suspiciously watch as a nurse set up a new I.V. bag. The hospital staff had long ago grown accustomed to his presence and no longer tried to force him to leave. He had even had one of his post-surgery follow-up exams right there by Leela’s side. His utter devotion to Leela had made him a celebrity among the nursing staff who would routinely sneak him free snacks and coffee from their break room. Rumor had it that they were trying to find a spare cot to move in so that he wouldn’t have to sleep contorted in that hard plastic chair. He hoped they would be able to pull that off. His back was almost always sore and if he was going to stick around for the long haul, which he planned to, then new sleeping arrangements would definitely have to be made.
After the nurse left, (giving him a reassuring smile as she did so) Fry set down the squeeze toy and returned to his seat. Closing his eyes he massaged the back of his right shoulder. He had slept at a weird angle and the dull throbbing was driving him insane. With his eyes closed his attention was drawn back to the sound of Leela’s labored breathing. He had no idea how she was keeping herself alive on the small baby breaths she was taking. When he tried to match his breathing to hers, it didn’t take long before he made himself lightheaded.
He eventually opened his eyes and glanced up to check her coma score. He had gotten into the habit of checking it every couple hours. The display made no sound when her score changed so he had to remember to watch it himself. Currently she was at a 5. Fry didn’t react to the change at all. By now he was used to her traveling up and down between 6 and 4. The changes no longer alarmed him. They just depressed him. He watched as the display dropped to 4. Almost immediately there was a change in her breathing. It was still shallow, but it had suddenly become more irregular. This was concerning. Usually changes in her breathing were independent of changes in her coma score. Fry wasn’t sure what, if anything, this sudden correlation between the two meant, but it definitely made him nervous. As he tried to tell himself this was all just a big coincidence his concern turned to terror as the display readout dropped to 3.
“Leela no!…Listen to me, you don’t wanna’ lie in bed like a vegetable and do nothing the rest of your life! I’ve tried it, bedsores hurt!”
Her breathing worsened, to match her score. In desperation Fry leaped up and yelled at her. “Fight it! You can! The Leela I know doesn’t give up this easily!”
Her score dropped to 2. Feeling weak Fry sank back into his chair. This was it. She was dying. He could feel it. He was watching it happen and there was nothing he could do to stop it. It was time to say goodbye. Before he lost the chance. His hands shook as he grasped her hand. For once in his life, just once, he wished he had the perfect words to give her. Something poetic and magical. Something that could actually describe what she meant to him, and how much simply knowing her had changed him forever. But his mind just didn’t work that way. He didn’t have the perfect words. So he gave her the ones he did have.
“I don’t know if you can hear me Leela, but there’s something I want to tell you.”
He gazed solemnly into her face.
“I love you.”
This couldn’t happen. He couldn’t just sit and watch this happen. He wasn’t ready to give up on her. Even though what was happening was obvious, he just did not want to believe it.
“Just wake up Leela. Please, just wake up.”
The tears came suddenly. He hadn’t even felt them well up. Hanging together by a thread he let his hands drop listlessly into his lap, closed his eyes and began to sob brokenly.
“Just. Wake. Up. Please. Just wake up Leela.”
His grief was overwhelming and his heart was shattered. He felt empty and utterly alone.
“Fry, y-you’re alive.”
At the sound of that voice, her voice, his eyes sprang open and he leapt to his feet.
“Leela! You’re awake!”
He gaped at her, not really sure if he could trust his own eyes. It seemed impossible. Mere seconds ago she had been halfway through deaths door, yet there she was staring up at him looking almost as surprised to see him as he was to see her.
“Of course I’m awake. You wouldn’t stop waking me. ” She looked around in confusion. “Where am I?”
Desperately hoping this wasn’t a hallucination brought on by grief Fry responded: “In the hospital. The ambulance took you here right after the bee stung you.”
“But the bee stung you! It barely touched me!”
He yanked up his shirt to show off his bandages. Her jaw dropped at the sight.
“The stinger went right through me an’ you got all the poison. My new spleen came from a guy who liked to motorcycle.” He revved his hands like motorcycle handlebars. “Vrooooom vroooom!”
As Fry sat back down the door opened and the rest of the P.E. crew walked in. They had come with the intention of dragging Fry to work. Convincing him to leave hadn’t been working so they had decided to use force. Needless to say the last thing they expected was for two faces to turn attentively towards them instead of one.
“Sweet three toed sloth of ice planet Hoth, she’s awake!” Hermes gasped.
The rest of the crew shrieked in celebration.
“You were in the best coma I’ve ever seen!” Bender exclaimed.
Amy added: “The doctor said you’d never wake up.”
Leela looked surprised, and a tad alarmed. “Really? How long was I out?”
“Two weeks.” Amy answered. “Fry never left your side for a minute.”
Leela looked up at Fry for confirmation. He smiled gently at her. Joy and relief shone clearly in his eyes.
“And he talked nonstop! Like a parrot of the sea he was!” Zoidberg announced.
Leela looked back to Fry, who gazed at her somberly. “I thought maybe, if you heard a familiar voice it might help keep your mind together.” He shrugged, “But who knows if it really got through.”
Leela pushed herself upright and reached for him. He readily accepted her into his arms.
“It got through, Fry. It got through.”
Absolutely cherishing the feel of her in his arms he rubbed her back tenderly. It was almost too good to be true. One minute he was saying his final goodbye and the next he was holding her. It truly was a miracle.
“You could really use a shower.” Leela whispered softly.
Fry couldn’t help but smile. “You too.”
They continued to cling to each other. Each thanking god that the other was alive.
“I think this is the part where we give them some time alone.” Amy said in an exaggerated whisper. The rest of the crew nodded and headed for the lobby.
If either Fry or Leela noticed them leaving they gave no indication. They were absolutely engrossed with each other.
Fry easily could have held her like that for the rest of his life, but after a few minutes it occurred to him that maybe she was just being polite and was waiting for him to pull away first and he could possibly be making her uncomfortable. Very reluctantly he began to pull back. But to his pleasant surprise she responded by tightening her hold on him and burying her face in his shoulder. Happily he re-wrapped his arms around her and went back to enjoying her gentle warmth. Fry had begun to stroke her hair when he suddenly felt a warm drop of something hit the side of his neck. A tear? Leela’s shoulders hitched slightly. She was starting to cry. Fry pulled away, which she resisted, but he held her out at arms length so he could see her face.
“Leela, what’s wrong?” He asked, concerned.
“I’m sorry.” She whispered, unable to look him in the eye.
“For what?” He frowned in confusion.
“For all of it.” She moaned. “Everything…For making us go on that stupid mission, for bringing that damned bee onto the ship.” Her gaze fell to her lap, bitter tears forming in her eye. “I messed up. I messed up sooo bad.”
Fry squeezed her shoulders gently. “Hey, don’t cry, It’s okay.”
“No it’s not okay! I could have gotten you killed!”
“You came out of it a lot worse than I did.” Fry pointed out.
“That’s not the point! That was just luck!”
“That wasn’t luck!”
She buried her face in her hands. “I can’t believe I could mess up that bad.”
“It’s all in the past now Leela. So don’t worry about it. Think about something else.” Fry tried to sound comforting, he hated it when she cried.
“Like what?” She demanded.
Fry thought for a moment. “Liiike…um…like how happy your parents are gonna be when they see you’re okay?”
Leela froze. Her eye went wide. “Oh my god, my parents know what happened?”
“Of course they know. Amy told them the first day.”
Leela looked horrified. “Were they really upset?”
“Of course they were, they’re your parents.”
Tears once again welled up in her eye. “You have to call them! Right now! They need to know I’m okay!”
Fry pulled Amy’s cell phone out of his pocket, but then paused. “I can’t.”
“Why not?” Leela asked, alarmed.
“First off, I’m not really on speaking terms with them right now. An-”
“Let’s just say we had a ‘disagreement’ about your medical treatment. Besides,” He handed the phone to her. “You’re the one they wanna’ see right now, not me.”
Leela gave him a questioning look. She wanted to know what this ‘disagreement’ involved, but she decided to push it aside for now. She stared blankly down at the little phone.
“What do I even say to them? I must have put them through hell.”
Fry shrugged. “I’unno. They probably won’t care what you say, as long as it’s you.”
Taking a deep breath to calm herself Leela dialed the familiar number. It rang for several seconds.
“They’re not answering.” Leela stated worriedly.
“They probably think it’s me calling with bad news.”
Leela was silent for a moment. “I really wasn’t ever supposed to wake up, was I?” She asked softly.
“Not officially. But I always knew you would.”
The screen on the phone kicked on suddenly, revealing Munda’s haggard form. Leela couldn’t help but gasp at her mother’s appearance. She was very pale, and her hair, usually kept in a perfect bun was in curly tangles around her face. She had a blanket wrapped tight around herself and a blank stare that took a few seconds before recognition sank in.
“Oh my God.”
“It’s okay now, I-I’m gonna’ be fine so you don’t have to worry anymore.” Leela quickly reassured.
“Oh my God.”
“Mom? Are you okay?” She asked nervously.
“Oh my God.”
“Could you say something else please? You’re starting to scare me.”
“Oh my God…My baby.”
“Umm…I guess that’s a start.”
In the background Morris’ voice could be heard as he walked towards the video screen.
“Honey? What’s wro-” He stopped short when he saw who was on the screen. “Oh my God!”
Leela waved, somewhat nervously, unsure of whether his reaction would be as severe as her mothers. “Hi daddy.”
Morris looked shocked for a moment, but then his face lit up and he laughed joyfully. “Oh man kitten, you have no idea how wonderful it is to see you right now!”
Relieved, Leela grinned back at him.
“So, are you going to be okay now? What did your doctor say?” He asked.
“I don’t think he knows I’m awake yet.”
Munda snapped out of her trance like a switch had been flicked. “You called us without talking to your doctor first?”
“I wanted you to know I was alright. I didn’t want you to worry.” Leela explained.
“Are you out of your mind?!” Munda shrieked, surprising both Leela and Morris. “We could have waited! You need to be looked at by your doctor! You were poisoned Leela, just because you’re awake doesn’t mean other things aren’t happening to you, your organs could be liquefying as we speak!”
“If my organs were gonna liquefy, wouldn’t they have alrea-”
“Is Philip there? Put him on!”
Fry motioned wildly that he didn’t want to talk but Leela, eager to get out of trouble, forced the phone into his hands leaving him no choice but to try to deal with her rampaging mother.
“You let her call us without seeing her doctor?!”
“She didn’t want you to wor-”
“Yeah, whatever, you make sure she sees her doctor immediately, young man! And make sure he checks her for everything!…And make sure she does what he tells her to!”
Fry gave Munda a sarcastic salute before handing the phone back to Leela. Of course he planned on following Munda’s orders, he’d intended to do it anyway, but he was still feeling quite hostile towards her and was fairly annoyed that she would actually raise her voice to Leela this soon after her waking up.
“Call your doctor as soon as you hang up, alright?” Munda demanded firmly of her daughter.
“Alright, I promise.” Leela assured her seriously.
Munda nodded, satisfied. “You know we love you, right?”
Leela smiled softly. She never got tired of hearing her parents say that to her. It was something she had always dreamed of as a kid.
“I know. I love you too.”
“Call us back as soon as you know what’s going on.” Morris added.
Leela nodded. The family said their goodbyes and hung up.
“That was kinda intense.” Fry grumbled as Leela handed him Amy’s phone.
“She was just worried.” Leela reasoned. “The last thing they need after all I put them through is another nasty surprise.”
Fry growled but didn’t argue. He knew Leela would hear none of it anyway.
“Well, a promise is a promise.” Leela stated as she reached for the call button on her bedside table. But an object lying beside it surprised her and she froze. It was the one-eyed squeeze-toy Fry had bought for her.
Fry watched her with growing concern. “Leela, you okay?”
“Hm?...Oh, yeah, I’m fine.” She picked up the toy and examined it.
“What is this?” She asked after a long moment of silence.
“I got it for you before the accident. It was in my locker.”
“Swedish novelty shop?”
Fry jerked in surprise. “How did you know?”
Leela wasn’t sure how to explain. “You said it at some point… I think. While I was unconscious… Didn’t you?”
Fry looked stunned. “You actually heard that?”
“Yeah. I thought it was a dream.”
“Did you hear everything I said to you?”
“I don’t know. I don’t even know what was real and what was just in my head.”
For a moment Fry looked very uncomfortable. “You…didn’t happen to have any dreams…where you couldn’t breathe did you?”
Leela gave him a confused look. “No, why?”
“No reason.” Fry insisted quickly.
Leela opened her mouth to question further but he cut her off. “Shouldn’t you be calling your doctor?”
“Oh! Right…” She again reached for the call button, still keeping hold of the stress-toy in her other hand. She seemed to have forgotten, at least for the moment, about Fry’s previous question for which he was grateful. He knew she would find out about having her life-support pulled eventually, but she didn’t need to hear it quite yet. He didn’t want to freak her out this soon. She didn’t need to know exactly how close she had come to death until after she was assured that everything would be fine.
After she hit the call button she placed it back on the bedside table and turned her attention back to her stress-toy. She fiddled with it in silence for a few minutes.
“So, what day is it?”
“Uh…Thursday?” Fry answered hopefully.
She sighed. “No, Fry. What day of the month?”
“The twenty-sixth.” He answered.
Leela did the math in her head. “Wow, sixteen days.”
“Well actually, fourteen days, twenty-three hours and three minutes. If you wanna’ get technical.”
Leela’s eyebrow shot up.
Fry backpedaled, embarrassed. “Uh, not that I was keeping track or anything.”
“And you stayed by my side the whole time?” Leela asked, touched.
“Well, yeah, except for the part where I was in surgery, and when I called your family, bathroom breaks, and that one time where they kicked me out.”
“Why?” She asked softly.
“Why’d they kick me out?”
“No…” Leela thought for a moment, trying to sort through her thoughts. “Why did you throw yourself between me and that bee? And why did you stay with me this whole time?”
“Cause I love you.” Fry said truthfully, without hesitation. “I stayed with you ‘cause I was scared. They said you might die, and I didn’t want you to be alone. And I got in front’a you cause I didn’t wanna see you get hurt.”
“But Fry, you easily could have been killed.” She pointed out seriously.
Fry shrugged. “Better me than you.”
Leela recoiled, horrified. “I’m not worth that!”
Fry shook his head stubbornly. “Are too! At least to me you are. And I’d do it all again a thousand times over if I had to! Which hopefully I won’t, cause you and ‘possible death’ are two things I don’t like thinking about together. It makes my brain all creeped out.”
Leela regarded him solemnly. She wasn’t quite sure how to feel. Never before in her life had she had someone care enough about her to go to so much trouble. Not only was he still willing to lay down his life for her, even after all this, but he’d put everything on hold, for two whole weeks, just to make sure she wasn’t alone. It had never occurred to her that she could be worth it.
She wanted to discuss it further, but before she could fully decide what she even wanted to say to him the door opened and a cautious looking doctor entered. When he saw her there was no hiding the surprise on his face.
“Ms. Leela? I’m Dr. Marsters, I’ve been heading your case since your accident, how are you feeling this morning?”
“Wide awake.” She answered ironically.
Dr. Marsters chuckled. “So I noticed. Do you remember what happened to you?”
“Yeah. Screwed up, endangered my crew, and nearly got myself killed in the process, thanks for asking.” Was the somewhat bitter reply.
“We want her checked over for stuff.” Fry told him. “To make sure her insides aren’t melting or something.”
The doctor nodded. “I’m fairly certain we don’t need to worry about anything melting, but there are a few tests I’d like to perform, blood work, brain scan, that sort of thing.”
“Check for everything, even the unlikely stuff. I kind’a got an invested interest in keeping her around.”
Leela ducked her head, to hide the small smile that had crept onto her face.
“I assure you we’ll leave no stone unturned. The last thing we want are any nasty little surprises.”
“Have any of the other survivors of Space-Bee stings had any problems?” Leela asked nervously.
“There aren’t any.” Dr. Marsters stated. “You’re the first. Consider yourself a bona-fide medical miracle.”
Leela fidgeted nervously. Fry reached out and placed his hand on her shoulder hoping to be of some comfort. “So I could potentially still be in some serious trouble.”
“The possibility is there,” The doctor admitted after a moment’s consideration, “But the fact that you’re awake and aware of your surroundings is a very positive sign. However I would like to keep you here for a few more days for observation. Since we really don’t know what to expect at this point, it would be in your best interest.”
Leela didn’t look too thrilled at that prospect, but after a heavy sigh she nodded to show she understood.
“Alright then, I’ll go and get everything set up. We’ll begin within the next hour.”
“I hate hospitals,” Leela moaned after the doctor had left. “They smell like antiseptic and death.”
“You’ve already been here two weeks, what’s a few more days?” Fry pointed out.
Leela ignored him. “And why did they have to make this room so green? I like green as much as the next person, but this is just overdoing it.”
Fry looked around, actually noticing his surroundings for the first time. For the past two weeks his world had consisted of a chair, her bed, and the wall unit that gave out her score, he had never actually taken the time to notice the scenery.
“Wow, it is kinda green in here.”
“You can’t actually be noticing that just now.”
Fry shrugged. “Never paid attention. Had more important things to worry about.”
Leela looked touched. “Awww that’s so sweet Fry. But I couldn’t possibly have been all that interesting. Especially with your attention span.”
Fry frowned at her. “You try sitting through a loved one’s coma and possible death and see how much mind wandering you’re capable of.”
Leela held up her hands in surrender. “Alright, I’m sorry I take it back.”
Fry kept frowning and she could tell by the slight shift in his body language that she had upset him.
“Please don’t be mad Fry,” She said, chastened. “I didn’t mean that in a bad way.”
“I don’t think you really understand how bad you scared me.” He stated stiffly.
“No I do, I do and I’m sorr-”
He interrupted her: “No I really don’t think you do. You very nearly died Leela. And I had to watch it all happen an’ there was nothing I could do about it.”
Leela shook her head. “But you did do something. You saved my life. If you hadn’t done what you did I would have died. Poisoned, and impaled? I never would have survived the ambulance ride!”
“You didn’t.” Fry said darkly, his gaze turning inward as he relived the memory. “Well, kind of. Your heart stopped in the ambulance. They had to use the shocky-paddle thingies to bring you back.”
Leela was stunned. “…Really?”
“They had to use them three times. And they had to give you shots and stuff. It was real bad. Your skin was kinda blue and you were all bleedy. It was the most scared I had ever been.”
“I really am sorry I put you through all that.” Leela said earnestly as she pulled Fry’s jacket a little more securely around her shoulders. All this talk about her being dead was giving her goosebumps.
“And that wasn’t even the worst part.” Fry continued, so deep in the memories he didn’t realize he was still talking aloud.
“What was the worst part?” Leela asked nervously.
Fry jerked, realizing what he had almost given up and tried to cover. “Uh…the food. It sucks.”
Leela saw right through him and refused to let it go. “That wasn’t what you were about to say. If it’s about me I want to know.”
Fry squirmed uncomfortably.
“Come on. Out with it.”
Finally, he sighed. “You were on life-support for like a week. But then they decided to pull it. They were gonna let you die.”
Leela’s eye widened. “…Oh.”
“I didn’t want them to do it, but your parents gave the go ahead. I was with you when they did it. Everyone was. And I held you the whole time. I wanted you to know you weren’t alone. It turned out to be okay, you starting breathing on your own after a bit, but for a little while you didn’t. I thought I was losing you.” His voice hitched as he tried to keep from getting emotional. “It was the absolute worst moment of my life.”
Leela reached for him and gave him a comforting hug. “Thank you for being there.” She whispered to him. “It really means a lot.” They pulled apart, but Fry kept his arm draped loosely over her shoulders.
“So my parents are the ones that had to make that decision, huh?” She asked softly. “No wonder my mom reacted like she did. She never thought she was going to see me again…How could I have let this all happen?” Sudden realization dawned and she looked up at Fry. “That’s why you’re mad at my parents, isn’t it? Because they gave the okay to have my support pulled.”
Fry didn’t answer but the scowl on his face and the low growl he emitted confirmed it.
“You shouldn’t be mad at them. They made the best decision they could. I know it couldn’t have been easy.”
“You nearly died!”
“They made the right decision.”
Outraged Fry leapt to his feet. “How can you say that?!” He exploded. “If they had made their decision just a day earlier you might not have been strong enough to breathe on your own! You’d be dead right now!”
Leela reached for and grasped his hand and pulled until he sat back down on the edge of her bed. “Fry,” She said gently. “You have to look at the information they had at the time. They were told I would be in a coma forever, right?”
Fry nodded begrudgingly.
“Well I wouldn’t have wanted to be in a coma forever. And as much as I know it must have killed them to make that decision they knew what I would have wanted and they did it.”
“But you weren’t in a coma forever!” Fry pointed out in frustration.
“No one had any way of knowing that at the time.”
Leela shook her head. “No you didn’t. You hoped it, but you didn’t know it.”
Fry slumped unhappily. “You nearly died Leela. You nearly died.”
“If you didn’t like their decision why didn’t you just trump it? You’re the one listed as my next of kin. That means you had final say. Why even give the decision to them if you already knew what you wanted to do.”
“Amy and everyone thought giving the decision to your parents would be the right thing to do and I went along with it cause I thought they wouldn’t want to pull your support either. But then they did decide to pull your support, and everyone was saying it was the right thing to do. Even the doctor and all the nurses thought it was right and they have degrees in that kinda thing. I wanted to do the right thing. I just didn’t like what the ‘right thing’ turned out to be…And how did I even wind up being listed as your next of kin anyway? You get nervous when I take Nibbler out on walks and then you go and put your life in my hands? And then you didn’t even tell me!”
Leela looked uncomfortable with the turn the conversation had taken. When she had mentioned that he was her next of kin she really hadn’t intended to make that the main focus of the discussion.
“Well, my parents aren’t legal citizens so I couldn’t list them, the Professor is only interested in my organs, Hermes would make decisions based only on what the company health plan would cover, I wouldn’t trust Zoidberg with my coffee let alone my life, Bender couldn’t care less, Amy and I barely get along, and I don’t really have friends outside of Planet Express. So…”
“So that’s it then?” Fry asked looking crestfallen. “I’m just the bottom of the list?”
“No! No.” Leela said quickly. “You‘re the only one I trust. You’ve always been pretty good at being there when I really need you. These past two weeks have proven that.”
Fry brightened. “So I did something right finally?”
Leela smiled at him. “Yes. You did good.”
As always comments welcomed. An update from Layla, BERGY or Shiny would be even more welcome!