I promised, and so here i deliver. Now that i have the whole story complete the updates will be a lot faster.
Residence of Turanga Morris & Munda
Recovery: Day 10
Though she’d gone to bed feeling justifiably rebellious, Leela awoke just feeling mean.
The sight of Nibbler still asleep at the foot of the bed, on his back, his leg twitching as he dreamed peacefully was enough to make Leela want to kick him off the bed. How dare he be in such a good mood when she was in such a lousy one? Climbing out of bed she couldn’t help but feel a teensy bit satisfied when the shifting mattress startled Nibbler out of his dream world.
He trailed behind her as she stalked out into the hallway where she almost literally ran into her father.
“You look like you’re having a wonderful morning.”
Leela scowled and remained silent.
“Come on, I’ll walk you downstairs.” Morris said as he placed his hand on her shoulder and attempted to steer her down the hall. But she dug in her heels and remained rooted to the spot.
“I don’t need help.”
“I know you don’t sweetie,” He said with a sigh. “But you’re not the only one who will get yelled at if you don’t let me walk you.”
Leela grumbled crossly to herself but allowed herself to be led.
“Dining room’s gonna be Switzerland, okay?”
Leela blinked in confusion.
“Neutral ground,” Morris clarified. “I know you and your mom are in the middle of an argument but I need you to put it aside for now. I’ve already talked to Munda and we are just gonna have a nice peaceful family breakfast. You can yell at each other later.”
Leela nodded silently.
If the dining room was Switzerland, it was Switzerland in the winter. When the Turanga women came into the same space there was a definite temperature drop. Even the pets seemed to feel it. Rather then begging their prospective owners for scraps they opted to keep a safe distance, watching warily from the other side of their food dishes.
Conversation was awkward and stilted at best though both women were trying at diplomacy.
Munda passed a serving plate in her daughter’s direction. “Leela would you like some more sausage?”
Though she’d promised she would behave herself she couldn’t help but snarking:
“Ooh do you think I could handle all that by myself or would you like to cut it up first?”
“Switzerland…” Morris mumbled in a warning tone. Leela snapped her mouth shut and accepted the plate with no further comment.
At the end of the meal, when Munda began stacking dishes to take to the sink Leela felt a little twinge of sadness at not being allowed to help. Being mid-argument didn’t stop her from wanting her mother/daughter bonding time. But even without the argument, dish-washing was on Munda’s list of things too dangerous to do while seizure-prone and wouldn’t have allowed it.
For the millionth time in ten days Leela desperately wished things could just go back to the way they were before she’d gotten herself stung. Back when Fry didn’t cling to her like he was afraid she would disappear, and she and her mother had never raised their voices at each other. The longer this went on the harder it would be to sweep it all under the rug and pretend it never even happened like she normally tried to do when her life went wrong. Of all the mistakes in the world she could have made why did it have to be the one with consequences that lasted so damn long? Even the biggest of Fry and Bender’s mistakes could be completely solved in a day or two tops. All in all, she’d had enough. She’d learned her lesson; there was no need for the universe to continue rubbing her nose in it.
When Fry showed up a half hour later for his daily visit Leela was more than happy for the company.
“I am so glad you’re here.”
Fry brightened. “Really?”
She led him into the living room and glanced around to make sure the coast was clear before she answered.
“Yeah. My parents have been driving me nuts. Or at least mom has.” She corrected herself. “Although dad isn’t doing anything about it, so technically that makes him an accessory.”
“Uh oh, trouble in paradise?”
“Mom’s lost her mind. She doesn’t think I’m capable of the most basic things. We’ve been arguing since last night.”
“Actually arguing?” Fry asked, surprised. “Wow, I never thought you two would ever argue. What with the years of separation and all.”
Leela frowned guiltily. “We wouldn’t be if she would just back off.”
“She just wants to keep you from getting hurt again. You could have really hurt yourself bad when you fell down the stairs. Your face is still all purple and blue.” Fry said as he gestured towards her still very very visible bruise.
“You’re supposed to be on my side here!”
“I am on your side Leela, I’m always on your side.”
“No, you’re on their side.” She said grumpily. “I thought you didn’t like them anymore anyway.”
“That was back when they were working against me. But we’re on the same side now so I like them again.”
“Oh really, and what side is that?”
“The side that wants to keep you around as long as possible. The side that doesn’t want to ever hafta bury you.”
Leela’s expression softened.
“I really don’t want to fight with my mom, or you. I really don’t. I just don’t want you all to see me as less than what I was.”
“We don’t see you as less Leela, but jeeze, you’re not Superwoman; when you get hurt you gotta heal just like everyone else.”
“She thinks I’m weak.” Leela said sadly. “I let her see me be weak and now she thinks I am weak.”
“She does not!”
“She used to tell me how proud she was of me for making it on my own. She said I was the strongest person she’s ever known. Now she doesn’t even think I can wash a dish without mortal injury. She can’t possibly be proud of me anymore.” She bit her lip to hold back tears. She’d lost her mom’s respect she didn’t want to lose Fry’s.
Fry wrapped his arm around her shoulders. She didn’t look up to meet his gaze, though she leaned against him slightly.
“She’s just worried about the seizures. I’m sure she’ll treat you just the same as before once you’re all healed.”
“Other than the seizures I am healed. And I’m not even having them as often as I did at the beginning.”
“But you’re still having them. And it only takes one to…” He fell silent.
Leela finally made eye contact. “Hey, I’ll be fine. You know I always am.”
“It only takes once.” He repeated.
She squeezed his hand.
Despite what she’d said to Morris the night before Munda really was beginning to worry about the possibility of doing permanent damage to her relationship with Leela.
The pair had barely spoken all day. Even after holding Leela through two rather harsh seizures they’d been unable to talk to each other. Upon regaining consciousness Leela had pulled out of Munda’s arms and withdrawn into herself. That wasn’t the kind of relationship she wanted with her daughter.
She had no intention of dropping the safety issue. Leela’s health was paramount. But there had to be a way to reach out to her.
“So what did you and Philip talk about today?”
Leela glanced up in surprise. She had been reading the mutant newspaper over her father’s shoulder and hadn’t really paid attention to the fact that Munda was even in the room.
“Why do you want to know?” She asked suspiciously.
Munda shrugged. “Just making conversation.”
Leela looked to Morris who raised his eyebrow at her expectantly.
“Nothing important really. Just random stuff.”
It was a start. Thrilled that she’d managed to engage her daughter in conversation Munda continued with the topic.
“It’s so sweet how excited he is to see you everyday.”
“You know it’s so hard to find a man so devoted.”
“Is it?” Leela asked dryly.
“You two seem to get on so well together. Are you sure your relationship is purely platonic, or…”
Leela sighed and leaned her head back against the seat cushion. “Okay, why are you asking me all this? What’s the big fascination with Fry?”
“Well, he’s such a nice young man.”
“If he’s all that great, why don’t you date him?”
Morris stifled a chuckle.
“That way won’t give me grand-babies.”
Leela’s eye went wide. “Oh dear lord you’re the Wongs.”
Munda didn’t understand the reference so she ignored it. “I may have had to miss all your childhood milestones but that doesn’t have to mean I never get to experience them.”
“Planning on doing a little vicarious parenting there, mom?” She asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Well someone has to watch them while the two of you are at work. And there’s no better source of free childcare then a desperate grandmother with empty-nest syndrome.”
“But… with Fry? Do you have any idea how many times he’s dropped Nibbler on his head?”
“Do you have any idea how many times your father dropped you on your head?”
Leela whirled around, horrified. “Daddy!”
Morris held up his hands in surrender. “You were slippery!”
“Babies are resilient.” Munda continued. “And I’m sure Philip would make a fine father.”
Leela buried her face in her hands. “How the hell did I let myself get sucked into this conversation?”
“We’re your parents honey, awkward conversations are gonna be the norm.”
“Well there’s some fine print for ya.” Leela grumbled.
“All part of the joy of parenting.”
Residence of Turanga Morris & Munda
Recovery: Day 11
“You killed Fry! You killed Fry!”
The accusing faces of her friends glared down at her from the walls of her bedroom.
“You killed Fry!”
Leela leapt from the bed with barely suppressed hysteria. “Stop it! Stop it!”
She grabbed at the faces, ripping them right off the walls silencing the voices. All except one, directly underneath her.
“You killed Fry.” Bender stated matter-of-factly from under her feet.
The vacuum appeared out of nowhere but she didn’t question it. She grabbed it and silenced his voice too.
“Okay, I’m insane.” She said as she flung the vacuum away from her and sank down on her bed. “But I’m still sane enough to know it.”
With a shaky, panicked sigh she looked down at the picture of Fry that gazed cheerfully up at her from her bedside table.
“The only time I feel all right is in my dreams. With you.”
Slowly reaching for the jar of Space Honey she made her decision. “Three spoonfuls.” She said softly to herself. “Then I can dream forever.”
Before she could change her mind she ate the first two spoonfuls, counting down to herself. After the last one there would be no going back.
“Here goes. Goodbye waking world…”
She raised the spoon to her lips.
“Leela no!” The sound of his voice stopped her in her tracks as a random bee buzzed past.
“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!”
The weight of it all was just too much and Leela doubled over, tears filling her eye. “Then what am I supposed to do?!” She begged.
“You can! The Leela I know doesn’t give up this easily!”
He was right. She had never been one for weakness and she didn’t want him to see her that way.
“Okay,” She took a deep breath to steady herself as she dropped the spoon back into the jar. “I’ll try.”
The little random bee buzzed past her again threatening to re-shatter her grip on herself. “Go away!!”
She flung the jar as hard as she could hitting the bee dead on. But instead of squishing, which would have been immensely satisfying for the Cyclops, it shattered into a raging swarm that quickly began to descend upon her.
With a sharp gasp Leela awoke, startling Nibbler right off the bed. He peered up at her through the darkness.
“You may want to rethink the whole ‘sleeping at the very edge of the bed’ thing.” She told him as he leapt back up. Evidently he agreed with her choosing instead to sprawl himself across her midsection once she had lain back down. She stroked his back gently as her thoughts turned back to her dream.
“‘Goodbye waking world’? Damn my subconscious is melodramatic.” She muttered to herself.
Based on what Fry had told her, of what had happened in the hospital right before she had woken up, she had pieced together that if her ‘dream self’ had eaten the Space Bee honey the real her would have very likely died. The thought kind of wigged her out. Dying had not been on the agenda for her dream self. She had just wanted out of the nightmare she had unknowingly been trapped in. Dying was one way of doing that, she supposed, but not the way she had been going for at the time. Besides, she was more of a do-it-yourselfer. Had death been her intention, well, she owned a gun. Odds were, her dream self did as well so what reason would her subconscious have to try and trick her?
Perhaps it wasn’t a trick. Maybe it was just the bee venom messing with her brain. She didn’t know. There was probably no point in trying to figure any of it out anyway, but in the middle of the night with no distractions it was hard to control where her thoughts led her.
She wondered what Fry was doing. A quick glance at the clock revealed it was a little after one. He might be asleep, he might not, he kept a pretty random schedule so who knew? He could possibly be trapped inside his own dream world right now. Trying to rescue her from some faceless danger but being unable to. She hoped not. She knew all too well how that felt and he was too nice a guy to deserve it.
Thinking of Fry, which she was beginning to do more and more often, brought her back to her own dream. She had been so ready to eat that honey and permanently place herself in the dream-within-a-dream world he seemed to inhabit. But why? To relieve her guilt? After all, she couldn’t exactly feel guilty for killing him if he were standing by her side. Or was it simply to be in a world that didn’t make her feel like she was slowly going insane? Or was it something else? She knew what that ‘something else’ could be, but it seemed absurd. He was just her friend. Nothing more. Her best friend even. But that was it. The other option wasn’t even worth looking at. So she shoved it aside only to have it come right back. Not wanting to think about it just made her brain that much more determined to force it on her. There was no denying that she cared deeply for him. That was no secret. He just wasn’t dateable. Maybe if a casual fling was what she had been seeking she’d be more willing to give it a go. There would be nothing to lose. But with dreams of a family on her mind, a casual fling with no destination wasn’t for her. She wanted substance. She wanted commitment. And neither of those words described Fry. She’d seen what passed as ‘commitment’ for him. It typically ended with him running for the hills. And with her luck, the running wouldn’t happen until right after she had given him her heart. That kind of pain just wasn’t worth the risk. Not only would she ultimately lose him as a lover she would probably lose him as the closest thing to a best friend she had ever had.
It also didn’t help that he had an uncanny resemblance in personality to the one man she had chanced to give her heart to. That relationship had also ended with him running for the hills. Granted she was chasing him with a baseball bat, but that’s what happened when you dared cheat on Turanga Leela.
She could easily love a man like Fry. It just wasn’t practical. Keeping him at arms length was the safe thing. And whenever she began to forget that, he would do something idiotic to remind her again. So all in all, the system worked. Eventually he would see that and give up.
But on the other hand, despite his usual fickleness he had shown nothing but devotion towards her. If she remembered correctly, he hadn’t been on a date in over a year. Which in and of itself wasn’t much of a surprise, he wasn’t exactly a stud by any means; what was odd was that he didn’t even seem to care. He was content enough just to spend time with her. He didn’t even refer to her as a nag anymore as he had, often, during their first year of employment at Planet Express. It was almost as if she could do no wrong in his eyes. And speaking of eyes, other than his first initial reaction to seeing her for the first time, the whole Cyclops thing had never bothered him. Before Fry she could count the number of people who had accepted her outright on one hand. And he was probably the only man to ever tell her she was beautiful and actually mean it.
She chuckled softly to herself. A few months ago she had overheard Fry complain to Bender that she ‘never gave him a second thought.’ If he knew just how much time she actually spent contemplating him he would surely be quite flattered as well as even more frustrated to know that she focused more on weighing the pros and cons than actually looking at her own emotions. Had she been more the type to act on impulse alone he would have no doubt worn her resolve down. Especially now. A desperate two-week bedside vigil was incredibly hard to logic away. And of course he had the complete and total approval of both her parents, a situation she knew he would take full advantage of.
Idly she wondered what it was exactly that he saw in her. She didn’t really see herself as being much his type. Generally she didn’t see herself as being much anyone’s type. As far as she was aware most people saw her as bossy, opinionated, naggy, stand-offish, and dull. As well as not much to look at. It was enough that when a man did show an interest in her she couldn’t help but secretly wonder what was wrong with the guy that a person like her was the best he could get. But the little nagging voice in the back of her head (that sounded strangely like Warden Vogel from the Orphanarium), constantly reminding her of her unworthiness, never stopped her from flinging herself whole heartedly into any relationship she entered into. Those relationships all ended the same. And the little voice in her head got a little bit louder and a little more triumphant. Maybe she was trying too hard. Maybe she was too picky. Maybe she was unconsciously sabotaging herself. Or maybe love was something that was meant for others. Unfortunately those were questions she wouldn’t be able to answer until she either found her match or reached the end of her life alone. In any case it was still way too early to buy a condo and start filling it with cats. There would be plenty of time for that when she reached one hundred. In the meantime she had her family and her friends and for now that was enough.
Residence of Turanga Morris & Munda
Recovery: Day 11
Fry nodded. Her dream the night before had prompted Leela to ask Fry to tell her a little more about the dreams he had been having about her. He’d hesitated only a moment before launching into the story of the most recent one.
“They were like a bat, but they were people. And they made a noise like a cross between a t-rex, a pig, and a humpback whale. Kinda like “Sqqqeeeeriiiiissss!!!” And then it skittered up the wall, onto the ceiling, and pounced you. Then it bit open your stomach and began feasting on your life blood.”
“Makes sense.” Leela said with a half smile. “I am delicious. So let me guess, if it bites you, you become one of them right?”
Fry frowned in annoyance. There was nothing funny about bat people. “No Leela, That’s vampires. This is bat people. Completely different set of rules. Anyway, I ran over to save you but it sees me coming and starts to drag you away by your innards.”
“Good lord!” Leela exclaimed, eye wide. When Fry had nightmares, he had doozies.
“How do you think I felt?”
“Probably not as bad as my dream self felt.”
He paused for a moments thought. “Judging by all the screaming she was doing she didn’t seem to like it much.”
Leela sighed heavily. “And I was so hoping that once your subconscious ran out of plausible death scenarios for me the nightmares would stop. But no, we’ve moved on to bat people. What’s next? Devil Lemurs? Hitler kittens? Spider Nixon?”
“Who says bat people aren’t plausible?” Fry demanded looking affronted.
“The people behind ‘National Geographic’.”
“Who are they, some kind of experts?”
Leela raised her eyebrow and responded dryly. “Some kind.”
“Pfft. What do they know. What with their fancy degrees and book learning. I bet they wouldn’t know a bat person if it bit them on the ass,”
Residence of Turanga Morris & Munda
Recovery: Day 11
After taking a moment to re-sketch a line in his notebook Morris leaned back to examine his work. Just that afternoon he had been commissioned to design a diamond anniversary bracelet for a young couple. The mutants may have been forced to substitute colored glass shards for gemstones but there was no shortage of gold and diamonds in the sewers thanks to bitter divorcees who flushed their engagement and wedding rings. Morris had always loved these types of jobs the most. Working with materials that surfacers would be proud to wear made him feel like he was accomplishing something legitimate.
Deciding he wasn’t as pleased with that last line as he thought he was he erased it and was just about to redraw it when-
“You just don’t understand!”
Startled out of his concentration Morris’ arm jerked ruining the whole sketch.
“I would if you’d explain it!”
“What do you think I’ve been trying to do?!”
Morris sighed deeply. His women were in the middle of a screaming match. A pretty intense one if he could hear every word of it all the way upstairs. Both were stubborn and strong-willed, so if he wanted any peace to work he would have to once again play mediator.
“Leela you’re making a big deal out of nothing!”
Morris stepped onto the staircase just in time to see Leela throw up her hands in disgust and storm straight past her mother and out the front door, slamming it behind her.
The anger on Munda’s face instantly gave way to panic.
“Leela wait!” She took a step towards the door to follow, then stopped. Looking around helplessly she noticed her husband on the steps.
“Oh Morris do something! Get her back in the house! Don’t let her get on that ladder!”
Morris rushed past Munda, who had begun to wring her tentacles together in anxiety. She vividly remembered Fry’s explanation on what a hundred-plus foot fall would do to her daughter’s body. That’s why she couldn’t go after Leela herself. In an effort to avoid her mother, Leela might very well try to escape to the one place Munda couldn’t follow. The surface. And the only way out was up.
Luckily though Morris wasn’t forced to yank his daughter kicking and screaming off the ladder. She hadn’t gotten that far. Instead she was standing a dozen or so feet in front of the house staring at her reflection in the mutagenic lake. Which in Morris’ opinion wasn’t that much better than being on the ladder. He approached with caution.
“Leave me alone.” She said without turning around.
“Please come back inside.”
“I’d really rather not.”
“Kitten, that’s raw sewage; could you back up a few feet at least?”
There was a moment of hesitation before Leela finally took a few small backwards steps. By this point he was close enough to take her by the shoulder and gently turn her towards him. Though she was trying to hide it, there were tears in her eye.
“Leela,” he began softly, “Honey, what happened. What caused this?”
“She won’t let me do my own laundry.” She said sadly.
Morris was so surprised he let go of her shoulder and straightened up. “That’s it?” He asked incredulously.
With a wounded look Leela crossed her arms and turned back towards the lake.
“I shouldn’t expect you’d understand.”
Realizing he was on the verge of blowing it he retook her shoulder and turned her back around which she accepted begrudgingly.
“N-no, honey, I’m listening. Why is this such a big deal?”
Leela slumped her shoulders with a small sigh. “The only thing I’ve ever had, my whole life, that was truly mine that no one could take away, was my own self-sufficiency.”
“No one’s trying to take that from you.”
“She’s treating me like I’m completely incapable! All she does is fuss over me!”
“You never minded being fussed over before.”
“There’s a big difference between having your mom fuss over you because it makes her happy, and having your mom fuss over you because she thinks you need it.”
Slowly Morris was beginning to catch on.
“So… it’s not actually about the laundry, but about how you think we see you now?”
Now Morris took her by both shoulders and knelt down slightly so they were eye to eye.
“Leela. I see you the same way I’ve always seen you. You’re the strongest, bravest, most resourceful, capable person I’ve ever known. And I couldn’t be prouder to have you as my daughter.”
Leela’s face scrunched up as she lost the battle to control her tears. Morris swept her into his arms and held her tight.
“I wish mom still saw me that way.” She whimpered.
“Believe me baby, she does.”
“She can’t possibly.”
He held her out at arms length so he could see her face. “If you were to just explain some of this to your mom…”
“I tried! What do you think we were fighting about? She thinks I’m just being silly.”
“Then I’ll talk to her.”
“Yeah that’ll convince her I can handle things on my own.” Leela muttered sarcastically.
Hovering in the open doorway Munda watched the pair anxiously. They were talking too softly for her to hear what was being said, and the dim streetlamps made it hard to read their expressions though it seemed Leela might be crying. Finally Leela wiped at her face and Morris began to lead her back in the house. Munda stepped aside to let Leela pass, which she did without looking at her. She turned questioningly towards Morris who said softly, “I need to talk to you alone for a sec.”
He pulled her down the hall and into the laundry room, the only place he figured Leela wouldn’t be able to overhear.
“Well, what did she say?” Munda asked almost before he had closed the door all the way.
“She thinks you don’t respect her anymore.”
“What? That’s ridiculous! It’s not true!” Munda insisted, looking shocked.
“It’s what Leela believes. So it’s true to her.”
Munda shook her head as if it would help her make sense of it all.
“This is crazy. Only Leela would take not being allowed to do her own laundry and turn it into some sort of identity crisis.”
“You’re her mother. She wants you to see her as a capable adult.”
“I’m not worried about her ability to take care of herself.” She insisted. “I’m worried about the seizures. When she has them she stops breathing. She could essentially drop dead at any moment am I the only one that hasn’t lost sight of that? What am I supposed to do? Let her get herself killed?”
“Well… of course not.” Morris replied. “But you have been policing her rather hard. Isn’t there some kind of compromise you could reach? If it means that much to her let her do a few chores. Let her wash some dishes or-”
“Hand wash knives? Are you kidding me?”
“Okay, maybe not dishes, but her laundry at least. If she wants to walk around the house a bit, let her. Just make her promise to keep Nibbler with her. He’s usually pretty good at giving her two to three minutes warning time. That’s enough time for her to remove herself from a potentially dangerous situation.”
“Nibbler’s warning wasn’t enough to keep her from falling down the stairs.” Munda pointed out with a frown.
“Because he wasn’t with her at the time, remember? He was in the kitchen with us. But seeing her fall seems to have shaken him up as much as it did us, he hasn’t left her side since. He won’t even eat if she isn’t in the kitchen with him.”
With her arms crossed Munda leaned up against the dryer thoughtfully. She still didn’t look entirely convinced.
“As it stands now,” Morris started, deciding to try a different approach. “Leela’s all stressed out all the time. And stress is bad for the immune system. I saw that on TV.”
“I don’t know… If I eased up and then something happened… I would never be able to forgive myself.”
“But there’s got to be a better way to keep her safe than putting her on couch arrest. She’s stressed, you’re stressed, it’s affecting your relationship, you’re getting into screaming matches and then she just goes behind your back and does the things you didn’t want her to do anyway.”
“I know.” Munda said miserably. “I am so horrible at this mother thing aren’t I?”
“Honey, of course not.”
“I guess I could compromise a little. On some stuff. Slightly.”
“I’m sure Leela would really appreciate it.”
“But she’ll have to keep Nibbler with her at all times.”
“And some things will still be off limits until she’s seizure free.”
“And I reserve the right to change my mind at any moment for any reason or no reason at all.”
“That’s kinda pushing it.”
Munda frowned peevishly. “It’s the best offer you’re getting; take it or leave it.”
The sound of a throat clearing caused Leela to look up from her lap, which she’d been staring mindlessly at since her parents had gone to talk. Wondering what they were saying about her was making her crazy, though it looked now that she was about to find out.
“If you would like to do your laundry,” Munda said slowly. “You’re free to do so.”
Leela’s eye widened and she sat back in shock.
“You will leave the door open and keep Nibbler with you. Agreed?”
“Uh, yeah, yeah agreed.”
Munda nodded sharply and walked away. Morris stepped forward to take her spot.
“How did… what…How did you do that?!” Leela asked in amazement.
“I have amazing powers of persuasion.”
Leela looked impressed. “Evidently.”
“But Leela, this is a two way street. She’s giving a little for you and you’re gonna need to give a little for her.”
“We’re both adults. I’m sure we can manage this.”
Residence of Turanga Morris & Munda
Recovery: Day 12
The next day passed in relative harmony. Munda bit her tongue during situations where she would otherwise have stood firm and Leela forced herself to tolerate some moderate hovering. It didn’t relieve all of the stress, but at least the house was a bit quieter.
But there was one point of contention that neither would back down from. The staircase. It seemed to Munda that Leela had ascribed some sort of significance to the act of using the stairs unassisted. She had no idea what the symbology was; all she knew was that her daughter had nearly broken her skull on the stairs before and saw no need to risk recreating the event.
The difference in point of view on this subject led to a lot of glaring. And arguments that led to Munda lapsing into random alien languages when her temper ran hot enough. As Morris had explained to Leela after their first multilingual fight, exactly how angry Munda was could be discerned by what languages she yelled in. Cassian and Elvish were okay, but once she hit Aldarian it was time to end the argument or risk bodily injury.
Just one of the perks of having a linguist as a mom.
Since ‘family bonding time’ hadn’t gone quite as planned, the best part of Leela’s days turned out to be Fry’s daily visits. He was still so happy just to have her around he was willing to listen to her complain about whatever she wanted just to spend the extra time with her. Though his constant chipper attitude could get a little grating at times, he made for a welcome distraction.
“Mom yelled at me in eight different languages this morning.” Leela said after Fry had taken his usual seat by her side. “One of which may have been Klingon.”
“No. Not neat. Annoying.”
Suddenly looking hopeful Fry raised an eyebrow at her. “Ya know, if you’d like somewhere else to stay you’re always welcome to-“
He shrugged, not looking too deflated.
“I was just throwing it out there.”
“And I’m throwing it right back.”
“Yeah, I kinda figured you would. No harm in offering though- oh I almost forgot.”
Fry stood, suddenly yanking up his shirt exposing his stinger scar.
“What does this look like to you?”
“Uh, an aardvark?”
“I knew it! Bender keeps insisting it looks like half a circuit diagram for a class nine freighter ship’s navigational chip, but I so knew it was an aardvark!”
Leela looked pained. “Do you have any idea how lucky you are?”
“Do I ever! Look, when I flex the right way it looks like he’s digging!”
“No, not the aardvark. I meant how lucky you are that you came out of it in one piece. Well, mostly in one piece. The damage could have been a lot worse. Do you realize how small the odds are that we’re both even sitting here right now?”
Fry’s expression instantly sobered.
“Yeah. I know. It was all I could think about after they pulled your life support. Sometimes you were having so much trouble breathing it was like you wouldn’t make it another fifteen minutes let alone the rest of the night…”
Leela sighed. “So you understood the danger I was in, great, but what about the danger you put yourself in? What were you even thinking throwing yourself in front of me like that? You had to have known what would happen.”
“There’s knowing and there’s caring. I knew. I didn’t care.”
“How many times do I have to tell you I love you before you stop acting all surprised that I would do that kinda stuff?” He asked in annoyance.
“Do you even realize what it would have done to me if you’d died because of a stupid mistake I made?”
“Probably the same thing it would have done to me if I knew I could’ve saved you but stood back and did nothing.”
Completely unable to find a suitable response to that Leela decided to switch tactics.
“Well… fine. As your captain I order you not to do that anymore.”
“With all due respect Captain… tough cookies. I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do. So there.”
“Yeah, that’s real mature.”
“Like trying to pull rank was? What’s the big deal anyway? You save me all the time. How come I’m not allowed to save you?”
“Because you don’t know how to do it right.”
Thinking she was referencing how he’d been unable to prevent her from being stung Fry’s shoulders slumped and he looked ashamed.
“I did what I could. How was I gonna know it was gonna go right through me?”
“No, I meant when I go in to save someone I try to come up with a plan that will get everybody including myself out without injury. When you try to save someone you just jump in front of them and hope for the best.”
“I don’t do that with everyone. Just you.”
“The point is you do it period.”
“Well, …worked so far.”
“You can’t rely on blind luck forever.”
“I wasn’t asking for forever; I was asking just for that one moment.”
“Well one of these days Fry, those ‘one moments’ are gonna run out.”
“As long as your moments don’t run out first I’m okay with that.”
Leela began to respond but Fry held up a hand to interrupt her.
“We’ve had this argument before Leela, at the hospital. And I don’t care if we have it a bajillion more times it’s not gonna change my mind. I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do. Just don’t get into danger anymore and I won’t have to do it.”
“I just don’t understand why you think I’m worth all this.” Leela said softly.
“And I just don’t understand why you’re so sure that you aren’t. Look, even Nibbler agrees with me.” Fry pointed to Nibbler who was frantically pawing at the hem of Leela’s t-shirt.
“He’s not agreeing with you, he’s trying to get my attention.”
Fry’s expression suddenly became panicked. “You’re not about to have a seizure are you?”
“No. He’s just hungry. It’s time for his mid-afternoon snack. Come to think of it, I haven’t actually had a seizure all day. Maybe I’m finally getting better.”
Cheered by that thought Leela stood but almost immediately Nibbler’s frantic pawing increased and he began crying a very familiar cry.
“So you’re gonna…?”
“Yup. Yet further proof that the universe does in fact hate me.” She flopped back down on the couch in preparation. “You’re not going to freak this time are you?”
“No.” He lied, his face already two shades paler.
As her eye glazed and her limbs slackened Fry quickly sat down beside her and gently placed his hand on her shoulder to keep her from slumping over. After its customary five second lag her alarm went off, scaring the cat and making Nibbler whimper. But something wasn’t right. To Fry’s bewilderment Leela lay motionless. No shaking. No facial contractions making it look like she was in agony. With her limp form, glazed eye, and screaming alarm it almost appeared as if she had just dropped dead.
“Leela?” Fry asked knowing she couldn’t respond but unable to control the panic growing inside him. Even Nibbler was pawing at her arm frantically with an equally frightened expression. Abruptly she sat up just as Munda came lunging down the stairs. The older woman stopped short, panting, and stared at her daughter in confusion as the alarm turned off.
“Did the alarm malfunction?” Munda asked.
Leela shook her head. “No, I had one. How long was I out?”
“It couldn’t have been long. I was in the bedroom and I came running as soon as the alarm went off. It couldn’t have been more than twelve or so seconds. You’re not even out of breath!”
“But it was weird.” Fry stated. “She didn’t shake or twitch or anything. For a moment there I thought she’d just died!”
“I wonder if that means anything…” Munda muttered softly with a look of cautious optimism.
“If the only seizure I have all day is a twelve second microseizure, I’m not going to complain. The doctor said I should only be having them for about a week so it’s about time for things to start winding down.”
“All the same I want you to take it easy. There’s no need to tempt fate.”
Leela rolled her eye and sent Fry a look that clearly said ‘see what I have to put up with?’
“Leela? Did you hear me?” Munda asked pointedly.
“Yes. I heard you.” Leela said snippily.
Munda replied only with her best motherly withering glare before heading back up the stairs.
“So much for your family bonding time being ‘like a dream’.” Fry said after Munda was out of ear shot.
“Oh it’s like a dream.” Leela said sourly. “A bad dream. This is not how everything was supposed to turn out. It’s almost enough to make me wish I had stayed with you and Bender.”
“Yup. You missed out.” Fry agreed. “We could have stayed up all night in our pajamas sharing our deepest innermost secrets and gabbing about Saturnian Idol.”
“I take that back. I’m better off here.”
Well, that's all for tonight. You can expect more in a day or two. And if anyone cares, which i really doubt i have an account on fanfiction.net under the penname DancesWithCorpses. The few fics i have are not Futurama. I have 2 Animaniacs one and a Fairly Oddparents one. Yeah i know. Stop laughing. And since everything i write has a way of being episode continuations none of those fics will make sense unless you saw the corresponding episodes. Which is why i doubt anyone here will be interested.