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Chicken-shit

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Bender absently noted Fry's distraction as Leela walked past on her way to some repair of the ship. Ever since the strange human had arrived in their time period, he'd been smitten by the cyclops. His friend had become more pathetic than the average human over the last few months. Honestly (not that Bender really understood the idea), why didn't the two just have sex and resolve their issues. It's not like there was supposed to be some sort of emotional attachment to sex.

An evil idea suddenly occurred to Bender. If the two of them wouldn't take things into their own hands and just boink already, he would encourage them to do so. Maybe then he'd finally hear the end of Fry's incessant whining.

"Why don't you just ask her out already?" asked Bender, a bored tone to his voice.

"What?" replied a startled Fry.

"Ask her out. Get some loving. You know: do her already."

Fry looked horrified at the very idea. His mouth started opening and closing like a fish out of water. Bender barely managed to hold in his metallic laughter.

"What's the worst she can do? Laugh in your face and never talk to you again?"

"She'd kill me--grind me into small pieces under her boot and spit on me."

"But people do that to you anyway."

"She'd do it for real."

Bender shrugged. "I think you're chicken-shit. She's just a girl. A very butch, scary girl, but still just a girl."

"Of course, I'm afraid. I've been afraid all my life. Why should the 31st century be any different?"

"Go up to her and lay one on her. Take her somewhere semi-private and get what you need from her."

"I couldn't do that. I value my life. It may be small and insignificant, but it's still mine."

"Chicken-shit."

Fry imitated a fish for a few more minutes before storming off to sulk. Bender grinned his evil smile to himself. Now all he needed to do was find Leela.

***

Leela hummed softly to herself as she worked on the ship. There wasn't actually anything wrong with it, but it looked better if she was messing with it. The rest of the crew would believe even more that they were completely dependent upon her ability to keep them afloat. Without that assurance, she'd probably be out of a job.

Her humming stopped briefly as Fry stormed past headed, most likely, to his quarters. He was something of a mystery to her. She had felt the attraction to him since she laid eyes on him, but didn't know what to do with it. He was just as insecure as Leela herself was. She knew how to seduce confident men--you used their arrogance against them and let the rest follow. Fry's confidence lay only in his lack of confidence. It was what really intrigued her.

She shook herself and looked back to her work.

"You should just sleep with him," said Bender, his wiry frame right behind her.

Leela barely contained the automatic instinct to kick him and send him flying across the room. As much as she pretended to despise Bender, the crude robot had actually grown on her. She'd avoid injury as much as possible. And, if asked, she'd say it was because she didn't want to listen to him complain.

"What?" she asked, returning to the matter of his strange statement.

"It's annoying the way you pine after each other. You should just sleep with each other and get it over with."

"What're you talking about?"

Bender gave a long, gravely sigh. It was obviously false, but got his point across nonetheless. "Fry. You. Sleep with him."

Leela's face contorted into shock at Bender's ability to read her so well. "No! A girl's gotta have some standards."

"Then how do you explain--"

"I was drunk," said Leela, automatically cutting off mention of a certain military officer.

"So get drunk and do Fry." Bender paused for effect. "Unless you're chicken-shit."

"What's a chicken?"

Bender stopped for a moment. He had never gotten around to asking Fry what exactly "chicken-shit" meant; he just knew that it was bad. "Stop avoiding the subject. You don't have the guts to do it."

Leela scoffed. The idea was ridiculous. She could have whatever man she wanted...so long as she could get him drunk enough to forget that she was missing an eye. She just chose not to have Fry. Right? Right?!? Right.

"Go away, Bender. I have work to do."

Bender sauntered closer and leaned over her shoulder. "It's not like you actually do anything on this piece of junk anyway."

Leela stood up again to watch Bender's retreating form. Drat. The robot knew her secret.

***

Fry paced his quarters frantically. Of course he was chicken-shit. He always had been. So why was it suddenly bothering him so much. He'd always taken pride in his cowardice; this was no time to stop that. Damn Bender and his 20th century slang. Wait...Bender knew the Robot-Devil. It wouldn't be so good to damn him. Bless him, then! Yes, that was it. Bless, Bender for being so...so...Fry didn't have the words for how mad he was at Bender right now. Fry settled for making a long-suffering, frustrated sound instead. Grunts always seemed to work better than words anyway.

Outside Fry's quarters, Leela listened to the strange sounds coming from Fry. He seemed just as frustrated as she was. And a good cure to frustration was sex. And Bender did have a point: there was a lot of frustration between them. But surely just going into his quarters and giving him a sound sexing wasn't the best option. Besides, he wasn't drunk. She couldn't possibly sleep with him. And yet...

Above Leela's head, a lone camera transmitted her picture to Bender's waiting cerebral processors. He laughed to himself. It was so close to working.

***

Days passed and Bender watched the tension build. Fry and Leela were only human and there was only so far they could push themselves before they would break. He found himself laughing maniacally to himself on more than one occasion. He'd learned to mostly silence himself around Hermes and Zoidberg, as they both tended to become suspicious, but Fry and Leela were so distracted by each other that they didn't seem to notice.

To make matters worse, Bender kept nodding suggestively to his human toys when the other wasn't looking. Each would glare at him and then go back to badly pretending that they weren't horribly distracted by the other. It was times like these that Bender found himself laughing especially hard. Humans were so easy to manipulate.

Finally, after an entire week, the tension seemed to be too much. Bender was honestly surprised that they had managed to last that long, but they were amazingly good at avoiding each other and, since they hadn't had a delivery in a few days, they'd been able to avoid each other more.

Bender nodded to himself: they were at the right point now. He managed to distract the rest of the crew and give his favourite humans the time they would need. Then, he did the best thing he could think of: he could them both shit-faced drunk. After a Bender-beer each (strengthened with pure alcohol and a little bit of an aphrodisiac), both humans were eyeing each other like hungry dogs.

Taking his leave, Bender uttered one last word before he disappeared: "chicken-shit."

Both humans, of course, heard it and assumed that the other was in the dark.

Drunken conversation continued in spurts, but both were still more concerned with their rising libidos.

After an especially tense silence, Fry, deciding that death really wouldn't be so bad and it was a helluva way to go anyway, finally bit the bullet. He drunkenly pulled Leela against himself and they fell against the wall, barely keeping themselves from falling to the floor. After five fumbled attempts (and five increasing groans from Bender on the other side of the same camera), their lips finally met.

***

The next afternoon (both were too drunk to wake the next morning), three startled eyes found the other. A moment after meeting, the eyes flicked to first their own, personal state of undress, then to the other's and finally to the messy, damp sheets beneath them. Neither of them could remember getting to a bedroom, but that was the least of their concerns.

Words crashed together as both started and then stopped excuses or apologies or tirades.

Sincere eyes met a sincere eye and possibilities raced through the air.

***

Bender's dancing following that night soon turned to cursing. The humans had taken the chance to *talk.* Actually talk. It was frightening. And now! Now, they were a "couple."

They pranced around the office, holding hands and laughing to inside jokes and being affectionate and completely, totally *killing* Bender.

Humans were impossible.

Bender gleefully started planning their demise.

THE END