It's been a long time since I've returned to the Zim fandom and never again would I have thought I'd find myself writing another Zim themed story. But alas, here I am. My writing style has changed quite a bit since my mature-themed fiction (Why Should We Suffer In Silence) so I wanted to test the waters with something new and fresh. After reading Rissy Nicole's 'A Parade of Indignities' I was hit with a huge wave of inspiration and admiration (both her and Dib07 are wonderful writers and I suggest you check out their work) and wanted to work my own, hopefully unique idea. I've never personally been so inspired by a fan-fiction before as I was hers. I've bounced around on this for a while, out of concerns with anxiety and such, but I think now that I have the plot fleshed out, I want to start publishing it. Aside from the above mentioned, this story was mostly inspired by music and also some artwork I saw recently that stuck with me in terms of how morbidly creepy it was. I hope you enjoy and please be sure to let me know what you think ^^
As for my other current Lilo and Stitch story Error #626 that is still very much in progress and will be completed in due time alongside this story.
There are no confirmed relationships in this story, however whether you interpret as ZADF or ZADR I will leave entirely up to you.
Warning: This story will contain character death, gore, violent themes and mild language. Please read with caution if you are sensitive to those subjects.
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Invader Zim. All characters © Jhonen Vasquez. This is purely fan-fiction for entertainment purposes and writing practice.
Ever since he was a child Dib had stared up to the night sky, a strong fixation with the unknown leading him to obsess over the belief there was something else out there in space, beckoning to him quietly from one of those millions of stars shining above. Not one night had passed where he didn't admire such a sight and he always made the time to, lying on the roof each night to gaze upwards into eternal nothingness.
Now almost eighteen, Dib had grown up captivated by the world. Curiosity often had him trail off into his own fantasies, his wonders and dreams enough to take him away from reality for days on end. When Dib was lost in his thoughts, he was gone. Nobody could reach him and that was how he preferred it.
During childhood Dib had spent his almost all of his free time studying aliens, chasing ghosts or indulging in the paranormal. Aliens however, were his favourite of all and he'd longed for the day he'd finally see one for himself; the mere sight of a blow-up alien doll enough to send young Dib into a small flying frenzy, fists raised as he attacked in full force with a battle cry of "I'll get you alien! You can't escape me!". Children cried and fled, angry parents scolding him for ruining their beloved birthday celebration, but Dib? Aliens made him utterly happy, even if the outside world couldn't understand that.
Aliens were an escape from the current reality he hated so much. Immersing himself in the unknown kept him sane as he'd grown older, a much welcome distraction from the hell known as Hi-Skool. Dib was no stranger to bullies, his obsessions making him an easy target. Adults didn't understand him and despite they'd tried, it was a hopeless cause often resulting with Dib being sent to the Crazy House for Boys. And that was why Dib hated them. He hated everybody.
The boy was fine. He didn't want to be understood by them and if anything, he just wanted to be left alone. Nobody ever believed him anyway.
Except for his mother.
Dib missed her terribly, for she had raised him to be open minded about the world they lived in. He had carried on her legacy through his belief in the paranormal because that was how he wanted to remember her best. She was alive in his mind, her encouraging words of wisdom amidst the taunts and jeering enough to get him by each passing day. Dib had nobody. No friends. But he had the memories of his mother.
And he had something else too. The biggest mystery about his life was a being that had opened his eyes even further to the world around him, having entered his reality six years ago. He'd established a place in Dib's mind and had never left, his permanent residency a cloud which dominated his thoughts day by day.
The very thing he'd dreamed of since he was a child. An alien. And that alien's name was Zim.
Having arrived on their planet when Dib was just eleven years old to conquer it, Zim was an Irken Invader, Dib learned from observation. He was there for one purpose only and that was to destroy their world. To annihilate the human race, preparing it for take over by the distant yet looming and ever present threat of the Irken Armada. After that moment, Dib had solely devoted his young life to stopping him.
Despite how many years had passed, Zim still had not conquered the Earth, He'd been close to it during the Florpus incident and had even screamed out his victory to prove so, a chilling moment which still haunted Dib.
The bitterness between the rivals was no different to how it had been since day one, but inevitably time had changed them both in many ways as time does. Dib now stood nearly six foot three, having grown considerably during puberty and reaching status of one of the tallest students in his class. A height envied among his peers but still not enough to warrant the acceptance or friendship he so desperately yearned for. Dib was as alone as he'd been since grade school.
Zim was relatively similar however he had not grown so much as an inch and the alien had no choice but to leer up not only at his taller nemesis whenever they crossed paths, but suffer the daily insults his peers hurdled his way as they also glared down at him. Zim had become an easy target due to his diminutive stature. He had been questioned on numerous occasions why he'd had a stunted development but always narrowed it down to a rare type of dwarfism and to the disdain of Dib, this excuse as pathetic as it was, had worked just as well as his even more pathetic disguise of a fake static wig and purple contacts.
Using those alone he'd managed to fool an entire city since he'd arrived and Dib could only conclude that humanity was getting dumber each passing day. Even if he tried to open their eyes to what was in front of them, they purposely chose not to see it and passed him off as insane because that was the easy way out. They wanted to be oblivious.
Whether Zim actually cared about the insults, torment and bullying he endured was just another mystery to Dib. But one thing he knew for sure was that even if not as active as he used to be, Zim was still very much dedicated to his mission and for as long as that was in motion, Dib would be there at every turn to stop him.
Their peers, having grown with the pair since grade school, had grown tired of their bickering long ago but repeated attempts to split the boys had always failed and they had no choice but to get used to the package of weirdness that the boys were. Dib believed had he toned it down he might have been accepted among his peers, especially those that had joined from other Skools, but his dedication to protecting the planet was as strong as it had ever been and nothing would change that. Not even his father's constant disapproval of him through his vigorous lamenting of how insane his son was.
Nobody else would defend the Earth from Zim so it was his responsibility. His calling.
After six years, Zim was still a mystery to him and Dib, with his insatiable drive and lust for knowledge of the unknown, had only heightened his obsession with the Invader. Their quarrelling and bickering had grown more heated and darker as the years went on and Dib had started to fear the worst the longer the Irken remained in his presence. He truly believed Zim was stalling. Or at least, something was holding him back, but he didn't know what it was and not knowing what it was had almost driven him to the brink of insanity, his mind only held together by a single, solitary thread of determination to protect his own kind. Determination he'd inherited from his mother.
He needed to be there to stop the evil Zim was planning, being the only one his planet could count on and even if they shunned him now, once they learned the truth he'd be viewed as a saviour. He looked forward to that day the most, for that alongside of his determination, was what kept him active.
As of now, he was stuck in the final year of Hi-Skool and once again Zim had ended up being in the same classes as him. As annoying as he was to deal with, Dib was somewhat glad he had a means of keeping tabs on his nemesis. The two of them sat as far apart as they could manage – Dib keeping to the furthest corner of the front row, while Zim practically mirrored his position from behind, opting for the furthest corner opposite on the last row. Once or twice they'd had to sit next to each but the teachers had soon tired of Dib's constant accusations and disrupting the other students by bending over them, as well as Zim's mind-numbing screaming, forcing them apart.
Often Dib wondered why Zim was taking so long though after some consideration he'd simply narrowed it down to being some sort of big plan. It kept him up at night sometimes as he gazed towards the stars. Dib had been happy that alien life had come to their world from out there, though he longed to know what was actually out in space itself. Stored in his garage was Tak's Spittle Runner, the Irken ship having crashed in his backyard after Zim fought the enraged female Irken years ago. Dib had removed his personality and restored it back to Tak's after that one annoying incident in which the ship thought it was 'the real Dib' although after the events of the Florpus hole Zim had created five years prior, it had remained stationary in the garage.
Dib didn't know if it would ever let him fly in it again, his recent attempts having been futile due to the ship still refusing to let his 'filthy butt' sit in it's cockpit. He would get it to allow him in again, he just had to figure out how.
Dib scowled at the thought as he sat with his head in his hand at his desk. It was a Friday afternoon at that point, drawing on three o'clock. Around him his peers chatted joyfully about the weekend and parties however Dib was already plotting out secret routes to Zim's base and forming plans. Glimpsing back briefly at his smaller nemesis, he watched the alien amuse himself by balancing a pencil on his mouth. As their eyes locked suddenly, a grimace adorned his features and he looked away.
Dib simply returned the expression, going back to his planning and absentmindedly doodling on the corner of his notebook after finding a free space, each page already being littered with countless doodles from over the year, a sign of his brooding obsessiveness – Dib practically lived and breathed the alien. He knew Zim almost back to front, despite a heavy veil still remained and covered the Irken's past, his race and where he'd come from. Dib yearned to see underneath this veil; while he had already obtained enough information to have a basic understanding of the species, he knew there was more. A wealth of knowledge to be discovered and it all started with Zim. The mystery.
His mother had taught him to pursue his dreams. To never give up and to hold on to hope. Dib wanted to follow in her footsteps and despite the strong opposition from his father, he just continued to pursue what made him happy. He was well aware that he was considered creepy although he'd learned long ago not to care. Once they learned the truth, he'd be viewed as a hero. For now he could endure the taunts and the bullying. Believing it would be worthwhile, Dib was strong enough to handle it.
Or so at least he thought he was. Some days it got to him.
The final bell rang, indicating home time. Dib passed a quick look back towards Zim. He found it harder to spot him now among his taller peers, the rush to get out of the classroom often masking the little alien from view. He eventually spotted him, lagging behind as per usual and trying to keep his smaller frame as far away from the other students as possible. Dib smirked at seeing this, confronting his nemesis as he passed through the doorway, books and bag in hand. He knew that Zim absolutely loathed being touched by humans in any manner.
"Gee, must be real hard for you to see over all these desks Zim."
Zim just glared at him, trying to get around his legs. Dib refused to budge. Anticipating what would come next, he started to grin cheekily, and sure enough it came.
"MOVE IT STINK-BOY!"
"Oh am I BLOCKING you Zim? Am I preventing you from getting somewhere with my TALL legs?"
The alien glared at him furiously. Dib knew just how to get under his skin.
"YES YOU ARE! GET OUT OF THE PATH OF ZIM!"
Dib began to laugh as his smaller nemesis waved his arms, trying to push past the taller one's legs. As he found an opening, the teenager whistled idly and stuck out a foot, tripping the Irken and causing him to land on the ground with a soft 'oof'.
Laughter resonated in the halls, their peers pointing and taunting the alien as he lay splayed on the ground, books beside him in a messy heap. Dib joined them, laughter blending in seamlessly with theirs. Zim just scowled, picking himself up and dusting himself off before picking his books up one at a time. As he reached for the last one, it was yanked up from the ground by Torque Smacky, the bully holding it above Zim's head and taunting him in a child-like manner which seemed to really piss the Irken off.
"Aw, is wittle Zimmy too small to reach his booky-wooky?"
"GIVE IT BACK YOU MISERABLE SMELLY BEAST OF MEAT AND HAIR!" Zim roared.
Torque just laughed as the alien jumped, his attempts of grabbing the book only proving fruitless as his smaller frame barley levelled his stomach. The bully took full advantage of this, taunting and mocking the disguised alien. Dib stood by idly, resting against the doorway to the classroom and a deep condescending smirk adorned his features as he watched the smaller student struggle.
Torque eventually grew tired of Zim's failed attempts, lobbing the book into him, causing him to fall backwards roughly. Laughing, the bully and his peers left Dib alone with his nemesis as the other students had already cleared out. For once Dib was glad they hadn't picked on him too, something he'd normally come to expect.
Zim was quiet as he stood up, once again picking up the books and dusting himself off. Dib followed him to his locker, which was of course on the bottom row with Zim still being so small. Dib simply reached into his, two above with a dented door that never made it shut correctly. As hard as he tried to be quiet, the image of what had previously occurred was just too funny and a laugh escaped his mouth as he packed his homework into his bag.
"Oof!" he taunted, repeating the stupid sounding noise and bending down to Zim's level, pushing his face near the Irken's to see his reaction.
Zim glared up at him angrily, slapping his face away with a small gloved hand, gritting his zipper-like teeth as lips curled back slightly to reveal a truly pissed off expression. This served to only make Dib laugh even harder, the teenager placing a hand on the side of his locker to steady himself.
"You think by now you'd have at least shot up a few centimetres or something space-midget."
Zim made no response, grabbing something out of his locker before slamming it shut hard. The bang echoed throughout the corridor, prompting the last remaining students and teachers to turn and look. Dib just crossed his arms at him and was surprised he hadn't broken the locker the door itself considering the dent on his was caused by him. As he watched Zim, a question piped on his mind. One that had been doing so for quite a while now.
"Why do you never fight back?"
Zim just glared at him again but provided no answer to the taller boy, instead turning and walking away as fast as his short legs would allow him, leaving the boy to stare after him and the word on the tip of his tongue never ended up being spoken.
Dib arrived home that afternoon to an almost empty house. He'd expected just as much with his father constantly working at his labs. While he'd made somewhat of an effort to be a better father than he used to be, his attitude never changed. Despite the distance between them and his constant condescension of Dib's obsessions, his father was still proud of him for who he was and his words from years back often resonated in the teenager's head.
Clembrane, created through one of Zim's idiotic attempts of imitating his own father from years ago, was in the kitchen and the familiar stench of badly made pudding wafted into his nose. If the entire house didn't stink of pudding, it stank of pizza thanks to Gaz, however both of these were counteracted with his father's recently upgraded creation Foodio 3000, the robot's meals now being somewhat decent.
A blazing glow lit up the living area, the sky outside turning shades of deep fuchsia and orange as the final hours of the afternoon sun started to set in. Dib greeted Clembrane, passing by the kitchen as his fake father turned, spilling pudding across his shirt and causing him to cringe.
"Hewwo son. Guess what we're having for desert tonight?"
Dib could only roll his eyes, but amused the alien with a simple answer of "Pudding!".
"Dat's right! It's going to be the BEST pudding I've ever made son. Are you proud of me? Like your best frwend Zim is?"
Dib scowled at the mention of Zim. They went through this same conversation at least once per day. "Even better than last night's pudding?"
"You know it! That's my good boy son! Now go do your homework stuffs and I'll come help yew brush your teef be four bed."
"No... that's ok," Dib responded, smiling weakly and putting up his hands at the weird alien before turning to head up to his room. After five years of living with Clembrane he'd grown used to the alien's bizarre and often stupid antics and even if created by his nemesis, it meant well. A sunlit corridor greeted him, a new recently installed window providing extra light among the once dark house. As he did every other day, Dib glimpsed at a picture of his mother on the wall before sighing and kicking off his boots. He felt something nudge against his back as he sat on his bed.
Dib grinned, eyes coming across the parcel he'd been looking forward to for the past two weeks. Not only did this parcel contain an updated X-Scope, it also contained some new spy-bugs and microphones, having been upgraded recently from previous designs much to the teenager's delight. Dib had jumped at the opportunity, planning on infiltrating and bugging Zim's house over the weekend. The alien had been quieter than usual, causing his curiosity to bubble over. He wanted to know why considering the alien never shut up half of the time – whether it be screaming about his latest plan in Dib's face or screaming about how 'normal' he was to the other students.
Picking the X-Scope up out of the stiff foam packaging surrounding it, Dib put it over his eyes and switched it on, walking to his bedroom window and peering out. Outside, his neighbours carried on with their daily lives, blissfully unaware of the fact that at that very moment Dib was literally peering inside of them. He was startled enough to drop the X-Scope when he saw what appeared to be a fork inside a elderly woman, taking the place of what should have been a kidney and a rush of a long buried memory forced him back from the window as he felt a wave of nausea pass over.
Just how many people fell victim to Zim's organ harvest that day?
He shuddered at the thought but it also served to remind him just how dangerous Zim could be when he put his mind to it. The whole reason he'd stolen organs from their classmates to begin with was so that he could pass as a human during a nurse visit, Dib recalling he'd been sent in there with head-pigeons. Dib hadn't been fortunate enough to escape an organ swapping fate that day but thankfully Zim had given the kids back their organs just before half of them died, including him. The alien was terrified of being suspected over the incident and thus drawing unwarranted attention.
Pulling the X-Scope from it's fallen position around his neck, Dib put it aside to focus on the other contents of his parcel. He picked the small spy-bugs up, inspecting them between his long fingers before also assessing the even smaller microphones. The size of pencil erasers, he would plant these in not only in the main area of Zim's house, but also the base. He was on a mission to find out where Zim actually slept this time, grinning like a madman at the very thought. He was always excited by any chance to gather new evidence on his nemesis, no matter how dangerous pursuing it was. Dib's eyes flickered towards his closet, where his brand new zero suit also lay. It bore a similar design to one he'd previously used when much younger to infiltrate Zim's base but having long grown out of it, he'd gotten a new one. Not only upgraded to deflect the lasers of Zim's creepy robot garden gnomes, this one had a built in cloaking device as well and he was going to use that device to it's full extent. Something he hadn't been able to successfully do in the past due to the suit failing him at the last second.
Dib knew there was more to the strange green house and narrow winding chutes it contained leading down into the depths of the Earth. Unfortunately for Dib, the majority of the time he had accessed Zim's base over the years he was scoped out by his computers security system and booted out swiftly onto the street. Zim had managed to upgrade the premise once or twice over the past year but lately he'd seemed lax about it and Dib took that as a cue that perhaps he possibly wanted him to keep trying. To keep playing their deadly and ongoing games as they had become the very staple of their lives. Without each other they knew they lost motivation, both having experienced it for themselves.
They were far more similar to each other than they thought, Dib had eventually realised growing up, but as long as Zim had intentions to harm him and their world, he would remain the enemy and he was more than up to that challenge. Being the defender of Earth Dib knew one day he would bring the megalomanical Irken to his knees – he just had to be patient. No matter how sinister Zim's plans were, Dib was not scared to risk his own life if he had to for knowing what he was up against only made his passion stronger. He loved the sheer thrill of seeking out the unknown and the dangers he faced by doing so. He had Zim to thank for making that possible. Just as he had Zim to thank for motivating him. The alien however, would never hear a word of Dib's debt towards him.
Sitting at his computer, Dib began organising his plans for the weekend, pencil in a tight grip between his long fingers while a crudely drawn picture of Zim without his disguise tacked to his wall above almost leered down at him from above, beckoning him and encouraging him just as persistently as Zim's voice in his head had for the past six years.
What do you think so far? Reviews/feedback appreciated!