Character: Dana Scully
Fandom: The X-Files
Prompt Zim: It's over, Tak! The Earth is mine to devastate... and I already promised the moon to GIR. Vol 2. Week 23 scifi_muses
Setting: Before IWTB
AN: For lizfirestarter for my Scully birthday challenge on 1breath. Because you wanted Invader Zim.
The television was on.
Not that it was unusual for the television to be on at any particular time when Scully got home from the hospital. She would often come home of an evening to the soft glow CNN or a random sporting event humming in a low drone in the background while her partner lay sprawled on the couch, usually snoring just as quietly. Especially on the nights she had surgery she could often find him there, with the cable his only company in their secluded, darkened farmhouse.
The television being on wasn't what bothered her as much as what was on the television.
"Mulder," she murmured, setting her purse on the table by the front door, her keys rattling as they hit the oak. "What in the world are you watching?"
A low moan and cry emanated from the television set, followed by a manic scream.
"I don't know, something I just flipped on." Mulder barely poked his head over the top of the comfortable couch. It was not his old, leather one, but a long, soft comfortable one all the same. One hand curled around the cable remote, the other scratched idly at the beard he'd recently insisted on growing as part of his "disguise". Scully really believed that it was simply because he had nowhere to go and he was too lazy to bother shaving anymore. She looked forward to the day he'd get sick of it and shave it off.
Now there was crooning, and a fit of giggles before an outraged scream cut off the sound, bright colors flashing and catching Scully's attention and forcing it to the large, flat screen.
"It's a cartoon, Mulder." She frowned as she leaned against the back of the couch, frowning at her partner quizzically.
"A cartoon about an alien,' Mulder replied, barely tearing his eyes away from the screen.
"An alien?" At one time the words would have been wreathed in dry skepticism, or filled with better recrimination. Instead now they were filled with dubiousness, as she frowned at the hysterical figures on the screen. "Which one, the little guy with the red shirt, or the green guy with his tongue sticking out?"
"The one in the red shirt, the other one is a robot," he replied.
"Looks more like a dog…sort of."
"That's his disguise."
"How many dogs do you know of that are green?"
"Good point, but then this isn't exactly the world's smartest invader."
"Smartest what?" Now she was confused as she pulled herself on top of the couch, perching one hip on the back, a critical eye turned towards the television."
"An invader, that's the name of the cartoon, Invader Zim. He's from a race of aliens who invade other planets. Except he's an idiot, and they sent him randomly somewhere to get rid of him. Turns out he found the Earth."
"And so he's trying to invade it?" The premise struck her as painfully thin, even for a children's cartoon. "By himself…with a robot dog."
"Yeah, more or less."
"It doesn't strike me that this alien is particularly competent at it."
"No, not really." Mulder agreed, pushing himself off the couch slightly, enough so he could scoot into a sitting position and make room on the couch. "But then again the Earth of this cartoon is filled with equally idiotic, neurotic people who can't recognize Zim for what he is, even though he's right under their nose."
"Ahh, now I'm beginning to see why it is you are watching this cartoon." Scully smirked, swinging her short legs over the top of the couch and resting her feet on the spot where his legs had been. "And let me guess, there is one person who knows the truth?"
"Right on the money, Doctor Scully," Mulder grinned sideways at her, not looking away from the television. "Zim pretends to be a normal human child in elementary school, and one boy in his class happens to be a paranoid, paranormal hunter who recognizes who and what he is. But sadly no one listens to him, considers him crazy, and he is shunned by everyone."
"I see," Scully's mouth twitched ever so slightly, no need to ask him whom it was he sympathized with. "And does this Zim know about this kid?"
"Oh yes, Zim and Dib are mortal enemies. But everyone refuses to believe that Zim is anything other than a normal kid. The irony of this being that Zim is too stupid to actually be successful conquering the world."
"So they made a cartoon about your life, Mulder?"
Silence followed for long moments, as she bit back the teasing laughter just bubbling beneath the surface, smirking cheekily at his narrowed, disgruntled look.
"Ha, ha, Scully, quite the joke."
"Oh come on, Mulder, you have to admit it is rather eerily similar."
"Really?" His voice was deep, dark and dry from the depths of the couch cushions, green eyes glittering darkly at her as she began to wonder if she had made a mistake poking him at his most sensitive area, the life and world he had given up when he had gone into hiding with her years before.
"OK," she quantified somewhat apologetically. "You weren't chasing green aliens, they were gray. And perhaps there wasn't a neurotic, screaming robot dressed as a dog. Though the Lone Gunmen could have perhaps passed for that."
Not even a twitch of his whiskered mouth.
She had touched a sore spot, and she knew it. There were times when she could bring up his work, his long-deceased friends, and he would laugh and smile along with her at the good memories, but clearly this wasn't one of those times. Even after seventeen years together as work partners and life partners, despite the fact she could read the man she loved like an open book, this was one of those times when clearly she had skipped a paragraph or even had missed an entire page.
"I…was…just saying…" She cleared her throat, color rising to her face as she sucked in her bottom lip nervously, nibbling.
"Guess I'll go in and get changed." Anything to remove herself from the embarrassing situation and to let any hurt feelings, such as they were, to simmer down while she managed hide herself in the kitchen, or in the bath, or anywhere where she didn't feel like she had just managed to rub salt into a very, old wound.
Nervously Scully moved to slip off the end of the couch, reaching her feet to the hardwood floor, toes stretching but never reaching the cool surface. From behind she felt the sudden movement, the familiar long arm snagging around her waist, dragging her backwards onto the couch and against her partner. He grunted slightly as she landed on top of him, ignored her loud squeak of surprised protest.
"I think I got you this time," he murmured, husky and teasing behind her left ear, pinning her to his side with one arm as he shifted to allow her to settle on the couch beside him.
"You had nothing," she sniffed, echoing the long ago argument between the two of them, another day of so many when she had nearly lost him.
"Mmmm, I don't know, you looked pretty worried." His armed tightened ever so slightly, the prickle of his beard pressing against her ear as he pressed his mouth softly to her hair, before turning his attention back to the screen. Apparently the character of Dib, the believer in the paranormal, had clearly been foiled in something having to do with a giant water balloon.
"Outside of the animators sick fascination with meat and pigs, I think you'd be amused by it."
"Oh really," she curled slightly against his chest, watching the start of a new episode of the series with vague interest. "Somehow I don't see myself in this show, Mulder."
"Sure you are, Dib has a sister, Gaz, she's so you?"
"Gaz…what sort of name is that?"
"I'm going with it, Scully, I learn not to ask too many questions."
"So what makes this Gaz like me?"
"She thinks her brother is insane and wishes he would shut up so she can eat pizza and play video games."
"That does sound like me."
"See, I told you, she's the one keeping the crazy Dib in line."
"Well, when the alien isn't kicking his ass." She smiled as they watched the next episode in silence for several moments, eyes glued to the television.
"Gir is the name of the robot?"
"What in the hell is wrong with him?"
"I'm afraid to ask."
"Perhaps that's a sign that we should stop watching soon, huh?" Somehow Scully was beginning to feel that they were a tad too old to be watching something like this.
"I suppose." Mulder sighed with deep disappointment.
Well, at least one of them was too old not to watch this. She wasn't so sure the other one would ever grow up, not when there were green-skinned aliens on TV.