Dib cried into his pillow for what seemed like hours. He hadn't bothered to take off his suit. When he finally looked up at his clock, it was past midnight.
It had been a terrible night. He should never have attended the stupid prom. If he hadn't of then Zim wouldn't have sprained his ankle. Guilt reeked through Dib and he felt light headed.
He stared at his bedside table, on which a packet of cigarettes lay. Dib hated them but they were the only thing that seemed to ease his stress lately.
He knew he was an idiot, but that didn't stop him from lighting one as gazed out of the window.
A distant tapping roused Dib from his slumber. He sat up and yawned, thinking he was just hearing things when it happened again.
Rubbing his eyes, Dib sat up. The tapping was coming from the window. He yawned, trying to shake the grogginess accumulated from crying.
Confused, Dib opened it and looked out, only to fall backwards in shock when Zim appeared before him, climbing into the room with his PAK legs.
"What the fuck do you want Zim," Dib muttered. "Get lost."
Zim ignored him, instead pushing him down onto his bed. Dib snarled in anger.
"Look Dib-shit. You drove off before giving Zim a chance to explain, so whether you like it or not, I am here now and you are GOING to listen to me whether you like it or not!"
"Fine. Hurry up and get it over with then maggot."
Zim glared at him. Dib looked to the side stubbornly.
"As I said, I don't know."
Dib let out a snort. "Fucking typical!"
"BECAUSE," – Dib eyed him again at that – "I'm an IRKEN, Dib. We aren't supposed to feel anything! Nothing! We are soldiers that are only created for the purpose of conquering other races. Other planets. Feelings just block our objectives. Prevent us from reaching our goals. They are a hindsight."
He had Dib's full attention now, despite the teenager was still glaring.
"Which is why I DON'T know. Because... I..." Zim's eyes narrowed and he looked away. Dib watched as he threw off his wig before peeling out his contacts and throwing them to the side.
"I FEEL something when you're around me meat-sack and I have for a while. I know it's wrong, but I can't stop it..." Zim closed his eyes. "It's confusing. I know my PAK is supposed to rebel this feeling because it's programmed to do so, but for some reason it doesn't."
Dib's stern expression softened. There could only be one reason.
"Because you're defective?" he asked softly and Zim's antennae perked up before slinking back. The alien looked away.
"Yes. For some reason Zim feels things other Irkens don't."
Zim's eyes widened at that. Dib sat up, suddenly no longer feeling tired. The alien didn't answer him, instead simply pulling out the rose again and handing it to him. Dib quivered slightly, that reeking guilt he'd felt before making his stomach plummet inside of him.
"Yes," he replied quietly and when he turned to face him, Dib saw the strange hue on his cheeks. Zim was blushing. "I was going to tell you tonight at the prom but... I just can't... Zim does not know how to..."
Dib noticed him look towards the rose.
They stared into each others eyes before Dib also looked down at the rose. He eventually reached up and gently ran a finger along one of Zim's antennae. The alien drew in a shrill gasp and Dib could see a shudder ripple down his smaller frame.
"Dib..." he voiced, but the other pulled the alien close, wrapping his arms around him.
"I'm s-sorry..." he murmured into him, tears streaming down his face as the guilt became too much to bear. Zim jerked a little as they burned his skin and Dib quickly wiped them away.
"I'm so sorry..."
Dib eyed the rose, now resting upon his alarm clock. Beside him, Zim lay snuggled underneath his covers. He'd fallen asleep shortly after Dib had apologised to him.
Gently, Dib reached over to stroke his fingers across the smooth green skin. He noticed a bruise on top of the alien's head, a grim reminder of the previous nights events.
He didn't want to be reminded of it, so he looked away. He felt like a monster for letting his anger out on Zim like that.
Dib had felt alone for a long time. Ever since he'd started hi skool, depression had reared it's ugly head and snaked it's way into his daily life. Nobody wanted a bar of him. Hell, he'd never even been invited to a party. Zim had been the only one to acknowledge him and it had been that way since grade school. The only time Dib could escape his torment was by letting fury out on his wrist. Gaz didn't care and his father would just dismiss him as mental. Dib had already spent enough of his time at the Crazy House for Boys.
He'd truly had no idea the extent of Zim's banishment. The Irken had never said a thing to him about it, but Dib had also turned a blind eye to Zim's attitude over the past few months to focus on his own depressive brooding. He hadn't noticed Zim's more passive nature; how their fights had become almost non-existent with the exception of the occasional name calling. Perhaps this had needed to happen, he came to realise. It was clear that Zim had difficultly expressing how he felt – he just needed somebody to listen and Dib had never suspected in the slightest that Zim might potentially have feelings for him.
And that was also why he'd been so angry too. Deep down he knew that Zim had been the only one to ever pay attention to him. He couldn't sort out his feelings and he'd longed for that same attention from others.
Now everything made sense.
The clock ticked over to four-thirty-five, yet Dib was wide awake. Dried tears stained his suit, but a smile was on his face. He turned over Zim's delicate hand, tracing his finger across his palm before trailing it up his two fingers to the fine talons gracing each tip.
"Why me...?" Dib asked quietly, more to himself than anything.
He was about to close his eyes when he heard a small voice answer him.
"Because Dib-thing respects Zim more than his own kind does."
And with those words, Dib looked into the glazed, half-lidded ruby orbs deeply as Zim clasped his hand around Dib's own. No more words were exchanged, instead Dib reached forward and a surge of happiness flooded through his being as soft lips met his in return.
As Zim finally settled back into sleep, Dib eyed the rose again. Sitting up, a wave of determination washed over him. As quietly as he could, the teenager crept across to his drawer, opening it up to pull out a pocket knife.
Dib stared at the knife for a long time, before looking at Zim.
Creeping downstairs, he snuck outside, heading around to the garbage bin and opening it up before tossing the knife in, glimpsing up at the stars briefly and smiling before going back inside.