What can I say? I've been watching my old "Invader Zim"-tapes, and there was this idea for another "Zim needs nursing and Dib feels obligated to provide it"-story, growing, developing, promising too much fun to resist. :)
No ZaDR coming up. In fact, I don't think there'll be much genuine ZaDF :) Rated "T" for safety.
***Disclaimer: I do not own Zim, Dib, Gaz and/or any other characters of "Invader Zim". I do not make money with this.***
Chapter 1: The Flying Pinkness
There was no way Dib could (or would) hide his wide grin, as he approached the table in the canteen. As usual, Zim sat alone and just as usual he had hardly touched his food. He seemed to be running a scan on his cup, but he quickly pocketed the small device. Well, let him. His pockets will be the first thing to go through. Then his PAK. Then the...rest, the parts where it will get messy.
'This is Agent Thinpatience', Dib introduced the lean, dark clad figure walking beside him. 'He's taken over Network operations, whilst Agent Darkbooty is out of office, chasing Bigfoot on a camping site in Florida.'
Zim looked the human up and down. There was not much to see. Agent Thinpatience wore shades, his head was bald and his face hidden behind the collar of his coat.
'Everyone here seems to deem you a normal boy, Zim. Except Agent Mothman', Agent Thinpatience said. His voice was hoarse, very nearly toneless. 'I cannot have one of my agents running around chasing shadows. I want this matter to be settled.'
'You are going to brainwash the Dib?' Zim asked, hopefully.
'No. This time, "the Dib" is going to expose you for what you are,' said Dib, pointing at the cup on Zim's tray. 'Normal boys drink normal drinks.'
Zim flashed a quick glance at the cup. It contained apple juice and there was something about the smell that had encouraged the little alien to go ahead and have a try. His first scan seemed to back up the intuitive information of his antennae with scientific data.
But of course, being an experienced invader, Zim had meant to sip, then analyze, then sip again.
He had definitely not meant to knock back the drink, but - 'Needs must, if the Dib drives,' he told himself. Besides, the Earth-scum's face was just too hilarious to behold.
Dib gasped: This was not at all going according to plan!
Zim grinned widely, putting the empty cup on the table.
Two seconds later his smile froze. He choked. The cup dropped to the floor.
Two more seconds of flailing arms and gagging noises and Zim's head flopped onto the table.
'Er...', said Dib. 'Zim?'
Agent Thinpatience shoved him aside, stooping over the collapsed alien. 'Oh no! It's an allergic reaction!'
'No!' Dib shouted. 'It's not! It's just – '
Agent Thinpatience felt Zim's left wrist. 'No pulse! Hurry! We need to get him to a doctor!'
'No! We don't!' Dib screamed, wondering why this scene felt so terribly familiar. It's backfiring once again, that's why. 'Listen to me! It's the apple juice! He's got this organ he calls "squeedly spooch" and it's obvious that he just can't - '
But Agent Thinpatience had already lifted Zim off his seat and, carrying the unconscious alien in his arms, dashed towards the exit. The dark car was waiting outside, engine running.
'Wait!' Dib gasped, trying to keep up. 'Where are you taking him?'
'The Crazy House for Boyz. It's nearby and we'll find everything we need!'
'For treating his ... allergic reaction?'
'Yes. And for conducting the tests you proposed.'
'You are going to cut him open?' Dib felt the heat of triumph flush his cheeks. He had to remind himself to keep moving his legs, they suddenly felt so weak. 'Really? No joking?'
'If that's what it takes to convince you of the error of your theories.' Agent Thinpatience stuffed the senseless alien into the car and fastened the belt over Zim's slack body. 'And if you are right, fame everlasting and the praise of mankind will be yours.'
'Fame,' echoed Dib. 'Ever. Lasting.' His knees gave way and he sank to the ground. 'No kidding? You're really going to – is this really – the praise of mankind? Agent Thinpatience?'
Catching his breath, Dib looked up. He found himself alone on the curbstone.
The agent's car and Zim were gone.
Dusk turned into night and Dib was still up, basking in the glory of his victory.
The first light of morning found him at his computer, calling Agent Thinpatience.
The agent appeared on-screen, collar, shades and bald head. He had to be an early riser – or he, like Dib, had not slept at all.
'Agent Mothman? You're early. Eager to get started on your little friend, are you?'
'Zim ist not my friend', Dib pointed out. 'But I'm looking forward to see my theory proven and the alien exposed.'
Agent Thinpatience's voice suggested a smile.'Well, you'll have to be patient just a little bit longer. Even if we found out about an alien species it would take some time to construct the space-ships necessary for launching the invasion.'
'Space-ships? Invasion?' Dib blinked in confusion. 'What are you talking about?'
'Why, the same as you, I should think. As soon as we find out we're not alone, we'll get space-bound and blast the creeps out of the known universe.'
'You mean, we'll conquer their world?'
For a short moment Agent Thinpatience's fist showed on screen. 'Conquer their world, destroy their cities, turn them into our slaves, then move on to the next planet.'
Dib frowned. 'Er...why would we do that?'
'Because we can. Because they are there.'
He's mad, Dib thought.
'You could be an invader, Agent Mothman,' the face on the screen went on. 'Invader Mothman. Sent from earth to wreak havoc and doom on the world of the Inkling- '
'Irken. He's an Irken.'
' - doom on the world of Irken-scum.'
Oh no. He's mad. And he's in charge of the Network, Dib thought.
And I've turned Zim in to them! Agent Thinpatience may hold the very key to Irken technology in his hands, he thought. I don't care about Irk or whatever Zim's homeworld is called. But moving on to the next planet, and the next and the next? Invader Mothman?
Suddenly, Dib could see himself, living with a crazy robot in a small house at the end of a cul-de-sac on some backwater planet. Setting up lawn gnomes to fight off intruders. Reporting back to Agent Thinpatience that everything was under control, he was making progress, soon this dirty little world would be part of the... Network Empire.
Dib made up his mind.
'Agent Thinpatience? I – I wonder, if I might visit Zim and – and bring him - ' Dib looked about, desperate for an excuse. His eyes fell on a fluffy pink piggy on his bookshelf. 'Well, he just loves that stuffed pig. I know from skool camp. He claimed he couldn't sleep without his piggy.'
He took down the piggy and waved it in front of the camera.
Zim is going to kill me for that!
'How cute', said Agent Thinpatience. 'And what a nice little friend you are. Of course you can bring him his toy.'
'He's not my friend!'
'Meet me after skool at the Crazy House for Boyz.'
'Half past one, then', Dib said. 'We get the afternoon off. It's part of Miss Bitters' scheme to prepare us for real life. She says, having an afternoon off we'll experience the dreary state that comes from not having anything meaningful to do, as we dwindle towards inevitable Doom.'
'I guess the skoolyard will be teeming with kids who play happily in the sun.'
'Yes, but Miss Bitters says that's part of the tragical error of their ways. By the time they realize that the sun is Doomed to set sooner or later, it will be too late...'
'A remarkable woman. I should like to meet her some day. We need women of her realism if we're to succeed in our Great Scheme of Conquest', Agent Thinpatience mused, thereby convincing Dib once and for all that he was a madman, whose plans had to be thwarted at all costs.
The Crazy House for Boyz was a dreary place and being followed around by a floating screen didn't make it any better. Agent Thinpatience kept droning on about the various tests he planned to perform on Zim to furnish prove of Zim's being a perfectly normal boy - or not.
Dib remembered a book on European witch-trials he had once read. The medival times had their ways of putting their victims to the test, as well. The problem was that the tests were designed in a specific way that tended to end fatally, no matter the actual sentence. Listening to Agent Thinpatience's perverted fantasies, Dib realized that Zim might be facing a similar problem here.
'Here we are', the masked face on the screen stated, stopping in front of a white door. 'This is where we keep your little friend.'
'He's not my – oh, all right!' Dib rushed forward to look through the large glass window in the door.
The room looked exactly like the sterile, clean surgeries he had always dreamed of for the task of delivering the final cut to his green Irken nemesis. The walls and floor were tiled a flawless white. Shining instruments were stored in metal compartments with glassy fronts to expose the contents. The gloomy light seemed to come from all around and focused on the polished metal table in the center of the room.
On the table, with his back to the door, lay Zim. He appeared to be asleep, curled up in a fetal position.
Dib turned to the hovering screen: 'He's not restrained?'
'Um, no', said Agent Thinpatience. 'He was, actually. But there's no need now. He was terrbily worked up. So we gave him something to help him sleep.' Agent Thinpatience seemed to shrug, but with his shoulders off-screen Dib could not be certain. 'As you can see, he does not need his piggy. Do you still want to enter?'
Dib looked down at the rubber pig in his left hand. He clutched it with both hands. His next two words required all of his determination. Was he really going to do this?
But then he thought of Miss Bitters in a uniform, acting as a drill instructor for the first cohort of human invaders on alien worlds. And he thought of those worlds, home of little boys that gazed up into the stars, knowing that even if they saw something, their resistance would be a lonely one, for no one would ever believe them. Invader Mothman, he thought. Yes, maybe, one day. But not for your madness, Agent Thinpatience. Not just because those boys are *there* - and he heard himself say, 'Yes, please.'
Some mechanism clicked and the white door swung open a bit.
Dib smiled confidently, then opened his eyes wide and pointed his finger down the corridor. 'Hey! What was that over there?'
The hovering screen turned. 'I do not see -'
'Oh no! It's the – the Flying Pinkness!' Dib hit the screen with the rubber pig, smashing this amazing piece of modern technology straight into the wall. The screen went to pieces. An alarm went off.
Dib dashed into the lab and to Zim's side. Hectically, he looked the alien over. There was no visible injury. They had not even removed a single glove yet. Zim's wig was still on and when Dib tentatively drew up one of the green eyelids, he found that even the contacts were still in place.
'Zim!' He grabbed the little alien by the collar and started shaking. 'Zim! Wake up! We have to get out of here!'
'...out', Zim agreed in a voiceless whisper. His eyes remained tightly closed. Dib's heart sank. He didn't think Zim's reply had been a conscious one.
The alarm was wailing. Someone was sure to arrive soon.
Dib pulled Zim to a sitting position, then turned to give him a piggyback ride. With Zim's arms and feet dangling limply, the Irken was an alarmingly dead weight. His head leaned against Dib's neck, the boy could feel the hair of the wig brush against his skin.
Dib took some hesitating steps, then stopped again: 'Look, Zim, I know you're having a hard time and all, but – could you give me a hand here and put your arms around my neck? So you won't fall off backwards when I start running?'
Dib stomped his foot with helpless impatience. 'Come on, Zim! Even toddlers know how to do it! It's instinct, you know, holding on to their parents!'
'Monkey-smeets', the alien breathed in his ear and shivered. 'Talk and talk in their – bwrrr! – nasty words, so many words - '
'Let me sum it up for you, then: Hold! Fast!', Dib hissed and this time Zim slid his arms around his rescuer's neck. His hard, gloved fingers dug into Dib's skin, but the boy ignored the pain. This was probably what you got, when you told any creature, dazed and frightened and equipped with claws, to 'hold fast'.
Dib adjusted Zim's weight and ran.
It was not before he could see his house that he remembered he had lost his rubber pig.
*End of Chapter 1*
There it is, the work of one weekend. Not too much nursing so far. But I guess you can see, where it's headed. :)