This Galaxy Quest fan fiction was written for the Yuletide Treasure fic exchange in 2009.

Just Doing His Part for Morale

Cousin Shelley


 

"Can we come over later?" Fred was eating a chicken finger, sitting next to Laliari, and sitting across the cafeteria table from Alexander and Jason.

"Come over?" Alexander said, before frowning at his plate of pasta.

"Yeah."

Alexander tossed down his fork and picked up his roll. He squinted at it as he turned it around, then sniffed it and dropped it back onto his plate. "To my apartment?"

"Mm hmm."

"Might I ask why?"

"I want to watch television."

Alexander looked at him for a long moment.

"We don't have television anymore."

Alexander continued to stare. He watched Fred raise his eyebrows at Laliari, who looked about to say something, but then stopped.

"You want to know why, don't you?" Fred licked his fingers.

"Not really."

"Well, Laliari loves television. So it was best to get rid of it."

Alexander decided to stare at his plate while he worked that out. When he looked up, he said, "So there's trouble in paradise already? She spends too much time watching television and not enough time with you?" He looked at Laliari who only smiled and looked from him to Fred.

"No, no, everything's fine. It's wonderful. It's fantastic." Fred smiled and ate a French fry. When Alexander kept staring, Fred said, "Oh, yeah. TV. She loves TV."

"You said that."

"She especially loves Animal Planet. Shark Week, and the man who tries to survive . . . what was his name, honey?"

Alexander shook his head. "Fred . . . ."

"But she was flipping channels a few weeks ago, and it was Seafood Extravaganza day on the Food Network. After watching Alton Brown prepare his Squid Vicious recipe, she was beside herself for a few hours. She kept making this popping sound. I thought we were having electrical surges and unplugged everything in the house before I realized it was her."

Alexander actually felt for her. "Are you all right now?" he asked Laliari, who looked at Fred first, and then nodded. "Yes. I think so?"

"Oh sure, sure, she's fine. And my mother will recover."

"Your mother?"

"Have you met my mother? I don't think--"

"Would you please focus!" Alexander said. "What's wrong with your mother?"

"Mom? She's fine, a little forgetful--oh, oh, right. Well, she's lived with me since my dad's been gone, you know. And she'd baked a cake, while I was in the bedroom trying to convince Laliari that the people on TV didn't want to eat her. The cake was chocolate. My favorite. I still haven't gotten the stain out of the carpet, but it makes the room smell like a bakery, which is pretty cool."

"Your mother saw--?"

"When Laliari's upset, she gets all . . . appendagey. Which startled mom. A little. She's not really used to that."

Alexander rubbed his hand down his face.

"It brings on her episodes. Like the one she had when Laliari had just seen 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. Or the one she had when she walked into my room, thinking we'd already gone to work." Fred slowly chewed a fry. "Mom can move fast for her age. So--"

"No."

"No?"

"No, you cannot come over. My television is broken. And I am never, ever, getting it fixed." Alexander got up from the table and hurried away, shaking his head.    

"Okay, okay, thanks." Fred reached over and took the bread off Alexander's plate. "Hey, Jason."

"Fred."

"Hey, you want to come over and watch the game tonight?"

"Sure."

Laliari looked between them. "But you just told Alexander Dane that we did not have a television. I do not understand."

Jason answered as he popped open his bag of chips. "Alexander's been too quiet lately. That's always a bad sign."

Fred kissed the back of Laliari's hand. "Yeah, I just wanted to get him riled up about something." He and Jason tapped their plastic cups together in a sort of toast. "Keeps him happy."

"So we can watch television at home? It is still there?" Laliari asked.

"Yeah."

Jason chuckled. "The bit about your mother was a nice touch. Squid vicious! Is that a real recipe like tentacle soup or something, or did you make it--"

The loud popping noise made everyone in the cafeteria look up.

Jason looked at Fred, and his mouth fell open a little. "You mean--?"

"Yes, shhh, that all really happened. I just put parental locks on the TV instead of getting rid of it." He rubbed Laliari's shoulder. "I promised, honey, no more horror movies, and I meant it."

She smiled sweetly at him, and wrapped an appendage around his hand.