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A Smoldering Fate

Author: Quazie89
Website: MoonDay's Page

futurama point . fan fics . quazie89 . a smoldering fate

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Someone is responsible for that mess

There's a leak, and it's all his/her fault!

Tragedy strikes out

Synopsis: Shortly before getting a job at the cryogenics center, Lars returns to the smoldering ruins of Panucci’s Pizza, where he recalls one of Fry’s past memories.   

A Smoldering Fate

Business in Panucci’s Pizza was slow. Outside the pizzeria, large, January snowflakes fell onto the streets of Old New York. Ever industrious, the restless metropolis’ rushed citizens strolled on by the dilapidated place, unconcerned with its precarious appearance and eager to continue on with their meaningless, daily lives. 
“Yo, Fry, quit wastin’ my freakin’ time and haul that sorry bum of yours into high gear – NOW!” The dreary stillness in the pizzeria was shaken by the harsh, guttural tone of Mr. Panucci’s bellowing voice. “I’ve got a pizza here waitin’ for yous to deliver!”
“It’s a bit chilly out there, Mr. Panucci.” Shoulders hunched against the wind, Fry entered the pizzeria, shutting the door behind him. Shuddering, he lowered his hood from his head and ran his finger through his disheveled, ginger hair.
“Yer slackin’ off on me again, Fry.” Gripping the sides of a half-eaten pizza box, Panucci’s hands flexed in irritation. Pulsing, blue veins stood out along his hairy, bulky arms.  “And you’ve already given me plenty enough reasons to fire ya…don’t ya think?”
Fry shook his head. “No, sir. I mean, please don’t fire me, sir.”  He gulped. Shifting his feet anxiously, he frowned at them. “I really need this job, sir, and the money. If you could…” His sheepish stance faltered. He had caught sight of Panucci’s hand just as it started jerking violently.
His heart feeling with dread, Fry dashed behind the counter. At the moment he did, Panucci’s hand flew up; the pizza box went flying over the counter. Staggering, Panucci clutched at Fry’s jacket in order to prevent himself from falling onto the floor. Pulled down by the man’s weight, Fry supported himself by leaning slightly against his boss’ heaving shoulder. Trembling all over, Fry’s voice quivered. “Are you all right, Mr. Panucci?” 
Panucci issued a low, pained grunt in reply. Giving the old man time to recuperate, Fry listened to his labored breathing for the next half hour before anything else was said.
“These old bones are achin’.” Panucci grimaced. “Damn weather’s fault.” He groped at his spine. “An’ there’s a leak in the bathroom that needs a fixin’…can’t do it with my back…s’ you’ll have to…then there’s that mess I just made in the floor…guess that dog of yours could clean it… ”
Taking his coat off, Fry enfolded it about Panucci’s stricken form. “Don’t you worry about it, sir. Take it easy for awhile. I think you just had a minor heart attack –” 
 “Yer full of crap, Fry.”  Panucci snorted. “I always did say that about ya.” Sensing Fry’s body tense against him, his rough expression softened. “But sometimes yer not too bad.”
 “Thank you, sir.” 
Smoke was still wafting from the ruins of Panucci’s Pizza. A couple of days had passed since the pizzeria’s destruction. With Fry’s dim memories of the place still lurking in his mind, Lars stood amidst the building’s debris, tightening his grip on the handlebars of Mr. Panucci’s wheelchair.  
 “It’s all gone.” Panucci let out a low strangled cry of despair. Lars’ heart constricted painfully at the sound. “All my life’s work…gone up in smoke…just like that…”
 “Take it easy, Mr. Panucci.” Lars draped a comforting hand over the grieving man’s quaking shoulder. “I’ll do my test to take care of you.”
 Panucci barked a harsh laugh.  “I don’t need ya to take care of me.” Furrowing his wrinkled brow, he regarded Lars with his stern, ancient gaze. “Who do you think ya are, anyway? Something’s familiar about ya …”
Lars felt the strange bareness of his neck. “It’s Lars.”  He couldn’t tell him the whole truth. The complete truth would blow his mind. 
 Panucci’s crumpled expression turned into a disbelieving grimace. “Lars? What kind of name is that? I wouldn’t name my dog that.”
 “You don’t have a dog,” Lars said, without thinking.     
“Shows what you know. I used to have a dog, a damn good one, too…used to follow this stupid kid around. You probably would’ve liked him. The dog, I mean, not the kid. You actually remind me of the kid. That’s why I said you looked familiar…”
Clutching at his chest, Panucci doubled over, his body suddenly wracked by a violent coughing fit.  Kneeling down before him, Lars studied his slumped posture, taking in his grey, receding hair, noting the brown liver spots that were starting to appear along the sides of his head. Waiting for the coughing fit to subside, Lars squeezed his hand. 
Lars was concerned for his former boss’s health. Two years ago, Panucci had suffered another heart attack. Forced to retire, he was then sent to a nursing home. He ended up in a wheelchair shortly afterwards
Keeping these disheartening trains of thoughts rooted in his mind throughout the harrowing trans-Artic voyage he had undertaken in order to remain closer to Leelu the Narwhal, Lars had returned to the nursing home after escaping the explosive incident that had sealed the pizzeria’s smoldering fate. 
The blaze had completely transformed his appearance. Nobody seemed to c

Even Panucci hadn’t recognized him when he entered the nursing home.  His identity had changed.  No longer Fry the delivery boy, he was now Lars, the soon-to-be cryogenis who would win Turnaga Leela’s heart in the near future.
Trying not to let , Lars offered to take Panucci to the pizzeria, since the persistent kept on demanding people to take him there. Lars figured he had learned

However, now that he was finally witnessing the destruction of his pizzeria firsthand, Panucci was frailer than ever. Lars ses
“Are you going to be all right now, Mr. Panucci?”  Lars straightened a blanket across the weakening man’s lap. 
Panucci nodded, slowly. Slipping, into a final, protracted slumber, his head began to droop. Seconds later, his body stilled completely. Still clutching his hand, Lars buried his face into his lap and began to sob.   


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