The Other, part 23
By Rye Guy
“A girl?” asks a very perplexed Skyler as he watches the doctor carry the newborn to her exhausted mother. “She had a girl?” The words repeat in his head over and over as he tries desperately to comprehend what just happened.
Then, it hits him. His attention is immediately focused on the rest of the crew who are all standing at the door, they are just as confused as he. It is now that the young man remembers that they ALL heard what he said just moments ago. All save for Leela who is clueless to this matter.
She glances up to the Professor. “But your ultrasound showed it was a boy.”
He adjusts his glasses, “Well, it’s possible we could have looked at it wrong and maybe confused the umbilical cord for an extremity.”
She doesn’t really care about the gender. “I’m a mother! Oh God! I’m a mother!” she gleefully gushes as she kisses her daughter on the cheek. Her smile quickly diminishes as she sees some of the hospital’s security staff covering up the bodies of the two nurses while the doctor who helped with the delivery is aiding the first doctor in regaining consciousness. “But I have something else to worry about…Bereave’s back and there’s still no sign of the real Fry.” Sighing heavily, she gets lost in her baby’s smile, “I’m not sure what to do.”
Skyler is still frozen in place, his entire body trembling uncontrollably until finally he sprints out of the room and escapes out in the hallway. He walks aimlessly before stopping about fifteen feet away from the door.
“Damn it…DAMN IT!” he exclaims in a hailstorm of anger and confusion.
"Please tell me we didn't hear what I think we heard." begs Amy as she steps up beside him.
"You called Leela your mother!"
"She is! I mean she was!" he shouts in anger, "I don't know anymore!"
Amy tries to calm him down, "Just tell me what's going on."
He shrugs, chuckles in a final desperation as sweat drips from his brow, "That's just it. I thought I knew what was going on. But everything's changed now." he tries to walk away but she grabs him by the sleeve.
"Skyler...where are you going? You can’t just leave!"
He hesitates briefly, and then quickly turns to her. He gently takes hold of her hand, pulls her close and kisses her. Amy tries to pull herself away, but he proves too strong for her. When the kiss is over and he releases his grasp, she slaps him hard across the face.
As he rubs his now throbbing cheek with his fingertips, he tries to avoid seeing the tears welling up in her eyes. He sees the evening sunlight from the nearby window glimmer against the tear stains on her cheeks.
She cuts him off, "DON'T...SAY...ANYTHING!" and storms off.
Skyler, now again finding himself alone, has no idea where to go from here. His entire perception of reality is called into question. How can he be sure of anything anymore?
Amy rejoins her friends, almost running face first into the doctor as he exits the room to retrieve something.
Leela is holding her newborn daughter in her arms; she's taking this moment to really see her. A small patch of red hair, like her father. She has two eyes like him too. Her mother's nose and smile. Leela is relieved that her baby doesn't seem to have inherited any of her mutated genes. No extra anythings, no parts missing; a beautiful baby girl. Absolutely perfect in every way.
Bender and Kif are now at her bedside. Kif tickles the child with the tip of his finger, making her giggle. She grabs his finger and pulls it hard, stretching it several inches.
"Ow! She certainly has your grip." he proclaims.
Leela grins, "That's good. Means she'll be able to fend for herself..." her mind wanders momentarily, "...when the time comes.” She glances up to Amy, “Where did Skyler go?”
With an agitated appearance, she doesn’t answer.
“I’m still here, just needed some air.” Responds Skyler as he re-enters the room. “Leela, right now our main concern is to keep you safe. We can’t stay here.”
A hand suddenly grabs him from behind. It’s a security officer, a rather stocky man with a thick mustache and receeding hairline. "You're not going anywhere. I've still got some questions for you and the cops are on their way."
"You didn't see what happened?" he grunts.
"All I saw was you kicking the door open, firing your gun; then we come in and find two dead nurses and a flat-lining woman in delivery. As far as I'm concerned, that's all I need to see."
"He just saved my life!" shouts Leela in a very stern and powerful tone of voice, "You'll either let go of him or I'll get out of this bed and make you!"
"No can do ma'am. I ran a quick description of him to the police and according to them he was arrested earlier today for attempted murder but then attacked the cops, stole a gun and their cruiser then took off for here. I really don't care what you have to say about him. There's too much goi-URK!" he is cut off by a cold metal hand grabbing him by the throat.
Bender holds the man in the air until he lets go of Skyler. "Let him go." The security officer takes the hint and leaves.
Leela is quiet for a moment. Staring out the broken window, the loneliness and confusion now setting in. It's like she's reliving that fateful night all over again. Tears well up in her eye but she shuts it to keep them from escaping. 'Can't let anyone see me cry.' she tells herself quietly before returning her sight to Amy. "I'm scared."
Skyler walks towards the window and surveys the streets below. "No sign of him." he announces with a hint of both relief and fear in his voice.
The doctor returns with a wheelchair. "I think it's best if we moved you to another room." With some help, Leela is carefully seated and the doctor rolls her out of the room.
Skyler stands at the door with the others. "You all head back out to the car and wait for me. I'll make sure she's safe." He begins to walk off until Bender asks, "So you're just going to leave her here?"
The young man glances over his shoulder to the robot, "I said that I'll make sure she's SAFE." he reassures followed by a grin.
He then quickly trots down the hallway to catch up with Leela and the doctor. Neither of the two notices him behind them. She begins to protest staying at the hospital. "I can't stay here. I have to leave. He'll come find me. I have to keep my baby safe." she seems to be rambling, but given the circumstances...
"Now Leela; I can't, in all good conscience, let you go now. You've just gone through a very traumatic labor."
"You don't understand! If I stay here, he'll come back! He'll come for my baby!"
"Listen, just calm down. Here, let me give you this sedative so you can relax." as the doctor reaches into a pocket of his coat, Skyler taps him on the shoulder. As the doctor turns he is sucker punched and knocked out cold. Skyler grabs Leela's wheelchair and rolls the new mother and her daughter back up the hallway towards the exit.
"Where are we going?" she asks.
Moments later, they have reached the main doors where everyone else is waiting by the car. The others help Leela and her baby into the backseat while Skyler keeps his eyes peeled for any sign of Bereave. Once everyone is loaded inside, they're off and heading towards Planet Express. Skyler keeps his blaster in hand and his eyes towards the skies. After a few miles, they find themselves on the same block where Leela's apartment is.
"Amy? Mind if we stop real quick?"
"No prob." she parks in front of the apartment complex. Leela instructs Amy to go up to Apartment 1I to get something for her. Skyler is too distracted by his own paranoia to pay anyone in the car any attention at the moment.
A few minutes go by before Amy returns.
"Did you get it?" Leela asks of her.
Amy holds up a small bag, no one besides her and Leela know what’s inside.
Finally at Planet Express, everyone enters and Farnesworth activates the building's protective barrier (the same he uses as protection against Robot Santa). Skyler rolls Leela inside but once they're all in the lounge, he just walks off without a word to anybody, but Leela seems to be the only one to notice. While her friends are more concentrated on the baby and asking her about Bereave, all she can think about is her lost love.
Skyler, all alone in the conference room; surrounded by overturned chairs, the debris from the table, and his own thoughts.
"A daughter...Bereave...It makes no sense." he kneels down to examine the dried blood stains on the tile floor. He continues talking to himself, "How could everything have changed this much? She's still alive but now he's vanished. And Bereave's here in his place. Why...HOW a daughter? Has my being here affected everything?" He stands and steps over to one of the chairs that's lying on its back. The confusion, the anger, the frustration all builds up inside of him. His fists clinch, his muscles tighten. In a fit of rage, he kicks the chair sending it flying over the banister and heading right for the ship where it dings the nose of it before falling and breaking on the hard concrete below. "IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THIS!"
"Than just how is it supposed to be?"
He freezes and slowly turns to see Leela, sitting in her wheelchair, alone at the door. "How long have you been there?"
"Long enough to figure out that you know something about all this. Where are you from? Just who are you?"
With a heavy sigh, he responds, "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"Answer me this than; what were you doing with this?" she holds up the photograph of herself and the rest of the crew around Fry's sand castle at Monument Beach, the same photo that fell out of Skyler's jacket pocket.
His face now pale, his hands frantically search all of his pockets. "Where did you get that?"
"You dropped it at my place the last time you visited."
"I thought you had taken it from Fry's apartment because he has this same picture framed in his bedroom. When I went there though, the picture was still in his room."
Skyler says nothing.
"And another thing that bugs me is why yours is so much more worn and faded. Almost like it's ten years old or something."
"Closer to twenty." he mutters under his breathe.
"What was that?"
"I said....it's nothing. Forget it. I don't know what the point of it all is. When I first came here, I knew exactly what I had to do. But now, I don't even know who I AM anymore."
"Came here? From where?"
The two stare at each other in motionless silence. Only the faint muffled sounds of the rest conversing in the lounge. Thoughts of anger are racing through Leela's head as she tries desperately to make sense of this. 'Who is Skyler?' she asks herself. 'There's something in his eyes, something familiar'.
"I have to go...have to find some answers."
"Stop avoiding my questions for once and just give me a straight answer!" Leela rolls herself towards Skyler, but stops when he turns and descends the stairs to the landing bay. As he makes his way to the exit, Leela lets out a scream for him to return. Her cries make him pause in the open doorway briefly. She hopes that he'll stop, that he'll come back, that he'll answer her, that he'll at least just glance back towards her; but nothing. There was only silence, and then, nothing. The door shuts behind him and Leela, again, finds herself alone.
He storms down the street with his hands resting in his jacket pockets; his right hand holding on tightly to his concealed weapon. The streets seem unusually empty this evening. Maybe it was the cool autumn weather, "Or maybe it's something else." he mutters to himself.
Finally realizing that's he's just walking aimlessly, he stops just outside of Central Park and takes a seat on a nearby bench. He lets out a heavy breathe of despair, drops his head and ends up staring at his feet, until the sound of children playing in the distance catches his attention. He lifts his head and looks over his shoulder to see a group of kids (probably middle school age) playing Blernsball out in the field. One of the young boys is up to bat and with one swing, sends the ball tearing off the blerns cord; flying through the air, over the fence, and out into the street. He runs the bases while the outfielders scramble to jump the fence and throw the ball back. Skyler can't help but smile, even though sadly.
"I didn't have THIS growing up. I gave up everything to try and change that." he then scoffs at himself, "God was I stupid. I was trying to be the hero. I was gonna save the universe. But all I did was screw things up even more. Great job." he remarks sarcastically. "Why am I doing this?"
"End it." calls a whispering voice in the wind.
"End it. Do it. End it now." the strange voice sounds too faint to recognize.
Skyler stands, "Who's there?" he calls out. "Show yourself!"
"I'm right..." his eyes peer over and he finds that he is holding the gun up to his own head, "...HERE!" the voice screams. Skyler then (beyond his control) pulls the trigger. In that split second he is able to push his arm up with his left hand and drop his head as it fires sending the shot into the air. He hears the children screaming and quickly turns around. To his surprise, he's sitting on the bench again and the kids are merely celebrating that homerun hit. He then pulls the gun out of his pocket and inspects it; it's cold, it hasn't been fired. It's as if nothing happened.
"Exscuse me, sir." Skyler turns to see two police officers approaching him. "We're going to ask you to come with us for questioning."
One officer taps a button on his wrist computer and it shows a hologram image of Skyler taken from a security camera at the hospital.
Skyler stands in protest, "I know how it looks but-Er! Hey!" he's cut off by one of the officers grabbing his wrists and twisting them behind his back to handcuff him.
"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law." The officer manages to get the cuff around Skyler's left wrist before the young man turns and punches him, sending him to the ground, before making a run for it.
Skyler jumps over the bench and runs across the park and the Blernsball field, interrupting the game, and onto the lake where he dives head first and swims aross. The officers stop and call for backup before jumping in themselves, which gives Skyler a good head start. Once across, he doesn't stop to look back, he just keeps running until he hears sirens blaring in the distance and gradually get louder as they catch up to him. Glancing over his shoulder, he sees three cop cars driving up fast behind him.
“Give me a break!”
"You know, you could still name her after me." inserts Bender.
Leela chuckles, "Thanks, but I don't think 'Bender' is a good name for a girl. Might give her a complex."
"Do you have any names in mind?" inquires Kif.
"I was wanting to wait until Fry came back, but now...well...I always liked Abigail. Abigail J Fry." As her mind is stricken with the thought of her beloved still missing, an overwhelming feeling of dread takes hold of her. "Bereave's out there somewhere and there's no one to stop him now."
Before letting herself get too weighted down with these fears, she decides to try and relax with a nice cozy bath. But seeing as how a tub that’s both clean AND working in the Planet Express building is hard to come by, she remembers that there is one inside the ship. After retreating there for some privacy, the new mother and daughter duo make themselves a place in the tub. Leela is sitting up cradling Abigail in her lap.
“You’re so cute!”
Little Abigail giggles as she gets a series of raspberries blown on her belly.
“You know, you laugh just like your daddy.” Leela remarks jokingly while making some funny faces to keep the laughs coming.
She then sighs heavily, “Oh Abby, I hope you get to meet him someday.”
Closing her eye for a moment to fight back more tears, she suddenly feels the grip of a tiny hand on the end of her nose. Her frown turning back into a grin, she hugs her daughter, “Your hands may be tiny, but their holding my heart.”
After finally being able to elude the police, Skyler has been wandering the streets of New New York aimlessly for hours on end. His mind racing.
"How did she have a girl?" the puzzle buzzes in his skull. "I've got to find him. I know he's close. I can feel him."
Making his way past a crowded area near Madison Cube Garden, the young man pushes himself through throngs of people, bumping into many of them but paying them no mind.
But one man in particular catches his attention. Their elbows barely brush one another in passing, but that close contact sends a shiver down Skyler's spine. A familiar energy courses through him. He turns to see who it was but sees no one he recognizes.
Until he spots one couple who are practically running through the crowd. The woman has short brown hair, she is accompanied by a scruffy looking man with long red hair and a thick beard.
"Exscuse me!" he calls out to them as he tries to make his way past the crowd.
The woman sees Skyler coming after them, and pulls her partner behind her at a much faster pace.
Skyler gets intercepted by a thick mass of people which allows the woman enough time to flag down a taxi. The couple climb in and he watches helplessly as they escape.
"Who were they?" he wonders.
Inside the cab, the woman is trying to compose herself. Checking her hair and makeup in her compact mirror.
"Geez Michelle, what have you gotten yourself into this time?" she says to herself "Do you know that guy?" Michelle asks her partner. He makes no verbal response choosing to just stare out the window.
The darkened sky flashes brilliantly as lightning streaks across the clouds. As soon as the rain begins to fall, the immense herd of people almost immediately disperse, leaving a solitary Skyler. Pulling his jacket up over his head, he runs to a nearby alley which will provide him with adequate cover.
Once out of the rain, he commences patting himself dry only to be unexpectedly frozen. There is something behind him...or someone. Turning, he sees no one there, only a small metal storage unit. A compelling sensation comes over him, drawing him nearer to the unit. Something so hauntingly de ja vu about this setting.
The door is ajar, he enters, shutting the door behind him.
Now in complete darkness, he feels around and finds something before him. It's smooth, metallic, seems to have an almost curved shape to it. Skyler carefully sits on the edge of whatever this thing is, only to hear a loud creak before he finds himself face down on the ground. With an unexpectedly loud clang, his "seat" succumbs to gravity as well.
When it does, the force of the impact causes a series of headlights to activate, almost blinding him. After a moment, he's able to make out a small disc-like craft with a large glass dome on top. Before he can react, the pitter patter of tiny feet echoes from behind the vessel as a small shadowy figure steps in front of the lights.
“Who are you?” he asks.
The stranger steps towards him, “I believe the more pressing question is, who are YOU?”
That voice is familiar. While the figure's face is covered in cascading shadows from the bright lights behind it, the sillouhette of a small two legged, three eyed creature allows Skyler to immediately recognize him.
“Nibbler? Nibbler! Oh man! I've been looking for you! What the hell are you doing here though?”
“I’m sorry, have we met before?”
“Well, no. Not yet, I mean. We will.”
Undoubtedly confused, Nibbler comes closer and examines the young man’s face. “Tell me your name.”
All three of Nibbler’s eyes widen, the black fur on his face turns pale. Before Skyler can react, Nibbler has already hopped up onto his shoulder, his tiny hands holding onto his cheeks. His third eye glows purple, scanning Skyler's face up and down.
"Your energy signature...it can not be! Tell me, how did you get here?"
"Nibbler, you sent me...from the future"
The small alien turns away for a moment and says to himself under his breathe, “So…the prophecy has come to pass.”
“What did you say?”
Quickly, Nibbler grabs Skyler’s sleeve and begins trying to pull him towards the ship, "We haven't much time. Get in!" The two squeeze themselves into the miniscule craft. With a laser blast, the roof of the shed bursts open and they zoom out and high into the sky in a flash. Once safely out of Earth's atmosphere, Skyler begins his questioning.
"Wait, Beareave is back on Earth! So why are we leaving?"
"I'm taking you to my home, Planet Eternium. There we can keep you safe."
"Keep ME safe? What about my mother?"
"Leela is NOT your mother!"
"Yes she is!"
Nibbler turns and looks over his shoulder to him, "Listen carefully...everything you think you know...is wrong. You are not who you believe you are. That is why I must keep you away from Earth. Any more interferences from you will doom us all."
"If I'm not supposed to get involved, then why do you send me here?"
"You will learn in due time. But for now...sleep." his third eye flashes brightly and sends Skyler into a deep sleep."
The next morning at Planet Express...
The mess left in the conference room has been cleaned up. Hermes has ordered a new table, Farnesworth has received a few packages needing delivery and everything seems to be carrying on as if it were any other day.
Amy is sitting by herself in the upstairs laboratory, using the telescope to gaze randomly into the skies. During the course of just a few minutes she has managed to see Jupiter, Pluto, that cowboy planet near the Horse-Head nebula and her home planet of Mars. With a heavy sigh, she falls back into the chair. With a kick, she rolls herself across the room and right into an unsuspecting Kif, knocking him down just as he enters the doorway.
"Kiffy! I'm sorry. You okay?" she asks in a loving tone, helping him to his feet.
"Don't worry dear, my squishy body absorbs most impacts. What are you doing up here?"
"Nothing. Just looking through the telescope...I saw Mars."
"Yeah, wanna see?"
Kif takes a seat and lets Amy push him into position.
"It looks lovely." he states with a comforting smile.
"And check this out," she turns one of the adjustment knobs on the side, "If you do this, you can even make out a herd of Buggalo in those canyons."
Kif watches as the Buggalo stampede through the bottom of the canyon, "Oh wow! I can see them-OOF!" he gets the wind knock out of him by Amy dropping into his lap. "Amy? What are you-"
"Shhh. Just hold me." Wrapping her arms closely around his shoulders, she buries her face in the side of his neck.
"Honey bunches...what's wrong?"
"I feel so confused." she starts to cry. "I'm ecstatic about us being engaged and happy about the baby, but I'm scared as hell about what's going to happen next."
Kif's soft arms hold her firmly in a loving embrace, "Do you want to know what made me fall in love with you all those years ago?"
Sitting up and sniffling, Any wipes the tears from her face and nods.
"It was your smile. Will you smile again for me? Please?"
Blushing, a smile manages to force it's way through her tears. "I feel homesick."
After an eventless night, Leela has decided to go home to try and build her strength back up with plenty of rest. She sits on the couch and kicks off her slippers. Bender's head is setting on the coffee table in front of her.
"Thanks again for letting me use your body as a crib for little Abby."
"It's no big deal." In the corner of the living room, Bender's body is on all fours, the chest cavity is open and stuffed with a fluffy pillow. Abigail is fast asleep. "But if she makes me smell like baby poop, I'm outta here!"
"I really appreciate you spending the day here with us. Helps calm my nerves not being here alone again."
"Don't mention it. Guess we're both short a roomie today, huh?"
"You mean Skyler never came home last night?"
"Nope. I even waited up for him watching my 'All My Circuits' bootleg videos."
Sitting back in the sofa, she tries to think but that is cut short by baby Abigail stirring in her sleep before waking up and crying. Leels rushes over and holds her in her arms. "Don't worry sweety. Mommy's here. Everything's alright." She hums a lullaby tune until she is back asleep. After gently laying her back in the “crib”, she rejoins Bender.
"So, Leela...what if Fry never comes back?"
"Don't say that! He has to! He won't give up! I know he's still alive. I can just feel it in my heart."
Bender is left speechless for a minute, "Wow...you know, all the years he spent chasing after you, I used to laugh at him."
"I love him, Bender. I know I waited too long to tell him that. And if I ever see him again, I'll tell him a thousand times a day everyday to make up for lost time."
The sounds of a sniffling baby catch her attention. Glancing over at the crib, she sees the noise isn't coming from Abby, however, Bender's face is turned away from her for some reason.
"Are you crying?"
"NO!" *sniffle* "Of course not! Just have some coolant leaking from my eyes is all...I MISS HIM TOO!" he sobs.
A strong gust of wind pushes the patio door open, startling both of them. Not hesitating, Leela gets up to close it. As she stands there, the strangely cold air blows against her. She almost swears she hears a voice whispering to her in the wind for just a split second.
The portal is closing between them. Leela on one side, Fry on the other. Reaching their hands out to one another as Fry's only escape is quickly diminishing. Their fingertips merely inches away from each other. A gigantic, shapeless black mass with horrible red eyes lunges forward, grabbing Fry and pulling him away from her. She cries out as the man she loves is being taken from her. The portal is almost closed, Fry's last words echo..."I'll meet you there..."
Ever since that fateful night, those four words have replayed in her mind. What did he mean? Where will he meet her? When? What if he's somewhere waiting for her to save him?
"Leela?" again, she hears Fry's voice calling her name. "Leela....LEELA!" She is startled by Bender shouting at her.
"Sorry, Bender. Guess I let my mind wander for a second there. There's something I've been meaning to ask you...yesterday at the hospital, you all seemed like you were hiding something from me. Did something happen?"
"Besides you almost being killed during child birth by some centuries old super powered monster disguised as Fry who has a personal vendetta against you because of some prophecy about the destrction of the universe that only you and Fry can prevent?"
She rolls her eye, "Don't joke around with me! Please, I need to know the truth. Did Skyler say or do something I don't know about?"
"Well...uh...you see...the thing is..." as he continues to stammer and stall for time, her annoyance level grows. Fed up, she kicks the table and causes his head to tip over onto it's side. "Alright! Alright! Sheesh! We all promised we wouldn't say anything, it seemed like you had enough to worry about as it was. But when Skyler first showed up at the hospital, he made a comment, said something about you..."
Everything is hazy as Skyler awakens. Open eyes filling with the glow of the flourescent lights, their gentle humming the only sound in this quiet room. Then he smells it, the scent of her long black hair in his face. She is still asleep, her body pressed against his with his arm around her. Softly pressing his palm to her chest, he can feel her heartbeat. To him, this echoes louder than the hum of the lights. She begins to stir as he kisses her neck. Turning to face him, a smile grows upon her face as their eyes meet.
"Good morning." she whispers before giving him a kiss. "How'd you sleep?"
"Lousy. Nightmares all night. You?"
He can see the sadness hidden behind her smile, the same sadness that he too carries. Sitting up, he embraces her. In this world gone mad, the only time she feels even remotely safe is in his arms.
"I promise, I'll make the nightmares go away." he assures.
"It's been eighteen years since he died, Skyler. And everyday it never gets any easier."
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to...I mean, you are..." As she continues to struggle for words, he kisses her to help calm her nerves. "Skyler, you know I do love you and I don't want you to feel like I don't...appreciate...all that you've done." she struggles to make the words in her head come out right. Despite her best efforts, she feels as though she isn't making sense to him. "He was everything to me, Skyler. We were going to get married." wiping the tears from her eyes with the bedsheet, she begins to feel ashamed and turns away. "I'm sorry."
The bed shifts as he scoots closer, "There's no need to apologize."
"I just...I just feel like such a louse. You and I have been through hell together. If it wasn't for you, I'd be dead...but if it wasn't for me, you'd still have your leg."
"I told you that wasn't your fault. You were in danger, I acted." Skyler knocks on his robotic leg with his knuckles. The metallic clang reverberates off the walls. "And I would do it again in a heartbeat for you."
As she sits on the end of the bed; bare feet on the cold tile floor; she tries desperately to hold it in until she finally lets go and begins crying uncontrollably. It isn't until she feels the warm touch of his skin against hers as his arms wrap around her that she is able to calm down. They stand together, their bare bodies held together by their desperate need for one another. She sobs into his chest for a few minutes before calm settles in. As she returns his embrace, her hands reach the metal-paneled brace on his back.
Every inch of his scarred body is a grim reminder of all the pain and suffering he has endured in his short lifetime. At eighteen years old, he has been forced to grow up and try to be the savior for all life. Having taken it upon himself to save the universe. Against overwhelming odds, he has chosen to carry on where his father Fry left off.
Feeling her tears trickling on his chest, he strokes her hair and says softly, "Amy, I promise you that I won't give up. Somehow I'll find a way to kill Bereave and end this once and for all."
"And then," a hopeful tone in her voice, "we'll finally be able to live our life...together..."
Gasping for air, Skyler struggles to move but can't; opening his eyes to see only blackness surrounding him.
He feels as if he is hovering above the floor, his arms and legs bound by a familiar glowing blue energy. Before he can attempt to break himself free, the echoing of heavy footsteps approaching him causes him to stifle. They grow closer and closer, their sound belowing in the emptiness that surrounds him.
Then, just as suddenly as it began, it stops.
All is silent for a moment.
Silent, dark, still.
"Who's there?!" he shouts.
The response he receives is the one he feared the most, a familiar boisterous laughter that chills him to his very core. A sudden beam of light coming from overhead appears and reveals Bereave standing before him.
Skyler states simply yet harshly, "You."
"Yes, me. My my my, how you've grown! How long has it been since we were last together? Two…maybe three millennia?”
"Hey, slow down!" shouts Bender, "Where are we going anyways?"
He is following Leela, carrying Abigail in her arms, through the sewers.
"We're going to my parents' so they can watch Abigail."
"And why are we doing this again?"
"If what you said is true, then we need to find Skyler."
Shortly thereafter, they have arrived at the Turanga house, home of Munda and Morris.
"Oh my sweet heavens! She's gorgeous!" exclaims Munda as she holds her new granddaughter in her tentacles.
Morris gently strokes his fingertips through Abigail's small patch of hair. "You know Leela, she looks just like you when you were first born...well except for the two eyes and red hair...but other than that she's the spitting image of you."
She just grins, knowing her dad has never really been the deep man she used to envision as a child. But at least his heart is always in the right place.
"You're sure you two don't mind babysitting for a bit?"
"Of course not, sweetie." assures her mother, "It'll be a joy to have her around the house."
"Yeah, we'll take good care of her. Scout's honor."
"Dad, you were never a scout." as much as Leela wants to laugh, she simply can't even bring herself to smile. There is no telling what is going to happen. But she just wants to make sure her daughter is safe from harm. The warm touch of her mother's tentacle on her shoulder brings her mind back to the present.
"Don't worry. We know you have alot to deal with right now. So, go on. You go save the universe. We'll be right here waiting for you."
A miracle happens, a smile; though small; appears across Leela's face. "If you see any sign of trouble, you get the hell out of here. And call me so I'll know where you are. You got that?"
Morris tries to ease her, "We understand. We'll be careful. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will get to her."
With that, the two friends leave the house to begin their search.
"Where do we start looking?" Bender asks.
"Let's head back to your apartment. Maybe we'll find some clues there."
Leela heads back into the sewer drainage system but Bender points to the manhole above them.
"Hey, let's go out through here." he says but that idea is quickly rejected.
"We can't. Bereave might still be out there somewhere, looking for me. We'll just lie low for a bit. Travel through the sewers and then cut through Old New York until we get there."
"Aw man!" he exclaims in disgust as they continue on, "Just how I wanted to spend my day, crawling around through this nasty gunk!"
"What are you talking about?" Skyler asks while still trying to break free.
"I'm speaking of us! You...and I...We're both here, face to face, once again."
"I don't know where we are." the young man continues to survey his surroundings, only to still see the darkness, "Where did you take me?"
"So many questions. And yet, so few answers. I must extend kudos to you for the shock of a lifetime. Imagine my surprise seeing you when I arrived on Earth. But then again, you didn't expect to see me either. Looks like today's been full of unexpected things for you." Bereave shuts his eyes only for a moment before returning his gaze to Skyler. "She had a girl, didn't she?"
Skyler grimaces, "You seem to know everything. You tell me!"
He chuckles, "Yes, she had a daughter. Just as it was forseen."
"Yes. It was forseen that 'The Mighty One' and 'The Other'..." Bereave refers to their prophecied names with sarcasm in his voice, "...were to conceive a daughter."
His mind again clamoring to make sense, Skyler is once more faced with the burning question.
"Go on now, I know you're just dying to ask." coaxes the malevolent monster.
"Then who am I?" the words barely audible as they are weakly uttered from the adolescent's lips.
Pleased at hearing the question, Bereave kneals down close to Skyler's head, "Well, I'll start with the obvious. You're NOT their son. But before I explain, I have a question to ask of YOU...do you remember OUR true name?"
Skyler's eyes widen. "Ou...Our...?"
The determined mother and her robot companion have found their way into the Old New York ruins. The derelict structures creaking in the silence surrounding them. They halt at an intersection so she can get her bearings.
"Come on, Bender. This way."
She leads him down 42nd Street where there isn't much to see besides some broken benches and rusted parking meters. They move along until Leela spots something that stops her dead in her tracks.
"Oh my God, I remember this!" she exclaims as they come upon the old Towns Square ice rink which is now a dingy pond with some kind of muck mutant living in it's shallow waters. "This is where we..." she trails off upon seeing the very spot where her and Fry once sat years before.
She stands for a moment in silence before raising her hand up to where she can see her open palm. Using the reverse end of the Career Chip installation gun, she pries her own chip out of her hand and drops it to the dry, dusty ground.
"Why'd you do that for?" asks a confused Fry.
Sitting down beside him, she shrugs, "Because I've always wanted to. I just never realized it until..." she places his hand into his, "...until I met you."
Within the blink of an eye, Fry has vanishes, her day dream ends. "This is it..."
Bender steps up behind her, "Leela, we need to get moving."
Quickly, she turns and grabs hold of his cold shoulders, "Bender! This is it!" she laughs uncontrollably, hugging the bending unit and jumping up and down like a giddy school girl.
"What the hell are you talking about?" he inquires while pulling himself free.
"I'll meet you there...That's what Fry said...I don't know why it never occurred to me before now! THIS IS WHERE HE MEANT! The place we first became friends, where we first held hands, where our life together first began!"
"NO!!!!" screams Skyler. "It's not true! It can't be!"
Bereave laughs mockingly, "Yes! Everything you've been told, everything you've lived and worked for in your life has been a lie! All to serve a much higher purpose. An elaborate but necessary farce orchestrated by my masters."
The restraints release and Skyler falls to the floor. He attempts to regain his composure. Now, the last words he heard become clear. "Your...masters?"
The sound of footsteps catches Leela's attention. "Fry? FRY!" she and Bender both turn but they don't see Fry. Instead they see..."Nibbler?" she quickly sprints to her former pet and crouches down before him, "Where have you been all this time? Have you found Fry?"
But he doesn't respond.
"Nibbler? Answer me."
With but a glance upwards to her, Leela suddenly feels uneasy. Before she can react, Nibbler raises his right hand. She is lifted off the ground by an unseen force. As he swings his hand to the side, she is sent flying nearly twenty feet and lands onto the cold concrete of the street.
Having stirred up alot of dust in her landing, she coughs and comes out of her daze. "Nibbler!?! What are you doing!?!"
"Finishing what I began!" he takes one mighty leap and lands with a powerful thud next to her. "Now that we have the boy, we've no more need for you." Hands risen above his head; a bright orb of energy appears. But before he can use it, a sprinting Bender kicks him as hard as he can, sending the little alien flying into a nearby pile of rubble.
"We gotta get out of here!" he shouts while scooping her up in his Extendo-Matic arms to carry her away.
"Stop! Let me down!" he does as he's told, but having little choice in the matter as she continually kicks him until she is back on her feet.
"What are you doing? We need to go NOW!"
"Bender, you go get my family somewhere safe. Back to Planet Express. I'll keep Nibbler busy here."
"But what about F-"
Bender stands there for a moment. One part of him wanting ro run away, the other wanting to stay with her. But when he sees the look in her eye, he knows to trust her, so he runs back in the direction of the Turanga home.
Leela takes her stance near the old ice rink just as Nibbler is digging himself out of the stone rubble.
"Nibbler, wht are you doing this?"
"FOOL! You still haven't figured it out!"
"We used to be friends."
"We were never friends, mutant!"
"But you said..."
"I said many things to you, all lies to get you to do what was required to fulfill MY destiny."
She feels dejected, "So...it's true... you were just using me all along."
He grins, "Exactly."
"I take it there is no prophecy, than? Fry and I are NOT some warriors destined to destroy the evil?"
"Oh, quite the contrary. THAT was the truth. But, I promise you this, YOU WILL NEVER DESTROY ME!"
Nibbler's third eye stands straight up and begins to glow. As it does so, his other two eyes turn completely white. A bright beam of energy it shot at her. Bracing for impact, she clinches her eye shut, throws her arms in front of her face and tightens all her muscles.
But the impact never comes. Instead, she is left feeling a strong gust of wind caused by the sheer force of the energy being emitted. Slowly openening her eye, she is shocked to see the beam of light has somehow parted in two and is now flying past her on both sides.
This is when she sees someone.
A shadowy figure standing no more than a foot before her, holding what looks to be some kind of sword in his hands. This sword is what's splitting the energy beam in twain. Try as she might, she is unable to recognize her savior. Frozen in a combination of shock and fear, she simply watches as the mysterious stranger uses brute strength to force his sword ahead, aiming it straight forward and reflecting the attack right back at Nibbler. The shockwave produced knocks Nibbler back down, giving the man a brief second to make his move.
"Grab on!" he shouts to Leela.
A strong compulsion takes hold of her and she grabs his arm. And quick as a flash, they are gone, having vanished into thin air.
Now alone, Nibbler gets back up onto his feet. After dusting himself off, he looks upwards and remarks to himself, "So...HE has returned."
Skyler is still laying face down on the floor, unable to get up for he simply has no strength left within himself. Meawhile, Bereave just laughs at him, mocking him every moment.
"Now you know the truth. Now you know what you are truly destined for!”
“NO! NO! NO! I know why I’m here! I came here to-“
Bereave interrupts him. “Save the universe? Haven’t you figured it out by now? You weren’t sent back in time to save the universe…you were sent here to ensure its destruction.”
"I don’t believe you!”
"Belief has no meaning. It is what we are destined for. You have no choice in the matter."
Skyler punches the floor, cracking it severely, "There...is...ALWAYS...A...CHOICE!" without warning his body begins to emanate a brilliant white light so bright that even the powerful Bereave must shield his eyes. Then, a flash and the youth is gone. As the white-haired nightmare of a man is by himself, he grins.
"Hmm, so he has finally tapped into his true potential...Good."
Leela awakens from within her stress induced haze. Her eye opening, she sees the still blurry faces of Bender and the Professor as they are standing over her.
"Oh my, she's coming to. Leela, can you hear me?" asks the old man as her vision begins to clear.
"Pro...Professor? Bender? Where are we?"
"Back at Planet Express." states Bender as he helps her sit upright.
"Oh, that's good. WAIT! My parents! Abigail! I need to go get them!"
Her two friends gently hold her down to try and ease her concern, "Don't worry, calm down, it's all good. They're here too." the robot ensures.
"They are?" she breathes a deep sigh of relief. "Hold on, how did we all get here? Last thing I remember was...Nibbler attacking me in Old New York...and then...and then..." she trails off as her memory catches up with her. "And then someone saved me." Her wide open eye shoots over to the Professor.
He just smiles and says simply "Good news."
She is racing down the hallway as fast as she can until finally she reaches the lounge. Upon bolting into the door, she freezes. On the couch, she sees her parents sitting closely together. Hermes and Zoidberg are sitting at the table. And the mysterious man from before standing by the window.
Slowly, cautiously, she inches her way towards the figure. Each step feeling like miles. Then she hears her baby cooing in the man's arms. Leela is now just a foot away from him. Her arm extends towards him; her trembling hand tugs the sleeve of his coat.
As he turns to face her, she is met with a face covered in a thick, bushy red beard. His head full of shoulder-length red hair. Their eyes meet.
He smiles proudly, "Leela, she's gorgeous! Never in a thousand years did I ever dream that I could have a part in creating something so perfect, so amazing!"
Leela is silent. As he smiles at her, she can see the old familiar glimmer in his eyes, that same old goofy smile, that same little bump on that same little nose that she thinks is just so adorable on him.
"Leela, you have no idea how happy I am to see you again!"
She doesn't say anything, she can't. Her entire body is shaking as tears well up in her eye. Her lips quiver as a smile forms on her face. She even starts to hyperventilate as the tears stream down her cheeks.
Munda stands, "Here, let me take Abigail." She gently takes the cheerful baby in her tentacles.
His attention returns to Leela and his arms open. She immediately leaps to him, taking him in a loving hug as they kiss.
"Oh my God! It really is you!" she shouts in a muffled voice between passionate kisses.
His arms wrap around her, holding her tightly, “I’ve missed you.”
“I never stopped looking for you. None of us have.”
He smiles, “I know. I’ve seen it.”
Leela is perplexed, “You have?”
“Yeah. I was able to keep an eye on you. Brio taught me how.”
“Brio? So what Bereave told us was true.”
“He stole my memories. When he did, that’s when everything changed.” Fry takes a deep breathe and glances around the room to all his friends.
Concerned, his love asks, “What do you mean?”
Fry holds her hand firmly in his, “Bereave isn’t the evil we are meant to destroy…he's the key to saving us all...”