A/n: After reading this for the first time in years, I thought I might actually try continue it somehow. I've had this chapter sitting around for years, just was never motivated enough to continue it. I don't even remember where I planned to go with it, but let's see what happens.
A loud knocking on the cabin door startled Dib into consciousness early the next morning. He groaned, slamming his pillow over his head, unprepared for such a rude awakening.
"Time to get up kids! It's seven-thirty! You're to be at the lodge desk by nine!"
Dib scowled slightly, rubbing his eyes. He felt around for his glasses beside him, putting them on his nose and his hazy early morning vision cleared. He sat up, yawning for a brief moment, before looking across to Melvin's bed. Melvin appeared to be still asleep. Cautiously, Dib shuffled to the edge and looked down at the bunk below, only to find two deep blue eyes staring right back up at him. Dib jumped slightly, almost falling off the bed, but composed himself. He glared down at the Irken. Zim just glared back at him, arms behind his head on the pillow.
"How long have you been awake for?" Dib hissed down to him.
"Why is that of any concern to you, morning-smell?" he hissed back.
"You were probably up creating some kind of evil plan while we were sleeping!"
Zim just sighed and rolled his eyes. "Of course not! I was in bed you idiot!"
"I thought Irken's don't sleep!"
"We might not sleep, DIB-SMELL, but we need to rest!"
"That's the same as sleeping!"
"Is too! It's- "
"Dib could you keep it down? I want a bit more sleep." Came a tired and annoyed voice from across the room. Dib growled and Zim snorted, sticking his tongue out at Dib. Dib stared at it, before swinging himself down onto Zim's bunk and grabbing his tongue, pulling it out to look at it with the tip of his fingers. Zim screeched and tried to jerk away, clawing at Dib's hands but was unsuccessful with his suit getting in the way.
"What is this, Zim?! What kind of human has a ridged tongue?"
"I WILFF KEELP YOUF LEMPF GOOOAHFF!"
"LOOK MELVIN! LOOK!"
To Dib's delight, the boy sat up, but instead of looking at Zim's inhumane tongue, he threw his pillow at Dib, knocking him over.
"You know what, I'm moving to the other cabin! If it's going to be like this every single morning and every single night, I'm not going to put up with it! Thanks to you guys, I've missed out on a sleep in!"
The blonde jumped up from the bed, angrily grabbing some clothes from his luggage and going into the bathroom, slamming shut the door. Zim finally pried Dib's hand away from his mouth, running a finger along his tongue. When Dib had been knocked back by the pillow he hadn't let go, causing the poor alien to have his tongue almost ripped out of his mouth.
"Sppplfff… Eee what oove done now, pig-smepffleh?" he spat, trying to massage (and clean) his throbbing tongue.
"Hey, it's not my fault if I'm the only one around here that isn't stupid and blind and if I'm the one that has to keep a close eye on you! I'm surprised you didn't experiment on either of us while we slept… or did you?"
Zim stared at him.
Dib stared back, when horror dawned on him the possible ideas he just might have just put into the alien's head.
"No… I didffn't…" Zim said slowly, smirking up at him. "But if that pfflthy hyooman decides to pfleave, and we have the cabin to ourselpsff…"
"YOU'RE NOT GOING TO EXPERIMENT ON ME ZIM! WHO KNOWS WHAT KIND OF CREEPY ALIEN BUTT PROBE YOU'VE GOT IN THAT BAG?" Dib roared, disgusted at the idea. What if Zim did have some kind of alien butt probe? He was an alien and Dib knew from all science fiction movies and novels that aliens had a thing for butt-probing humans! Dib finished his yelling just as Melvin came back out of the bathroom. He froze.
"Yeah, that's it, I'm going." Melvin said, rolling his eyes and shaking his head. He grabbed his belongings and left the sleeping quarters. Shortly after, Zim and Dib heard cabin the door shut.
Dib stared out stupidly where Melvin had gone, before looking back to Zim.
"What's a butt probe?" Zim asked him.
Dib just sighed and jerked back from the bed, standing up. "I'm going to have a shower…"
And without another word, Dib grabbed his clothes and went into the bathroom, shutting the door. Zim stared after him for a moment or so, before sitting up on the bed. He took off his wig and contacts, setting them aside on the table beside the bed, before lying back down, hands once again behind his head. His antennae twitched actively as he could hear Dib in the bathroom. Wearing that stupid wig hindered his ability to hear correctly, but now that the Melvin-brat was gone, Zim was more so relaxed about exposing his true self. Dib already knew he was an alien, so there wasn't really a point keeping on the disguise at all times when he didn't have to. Besides, it was scratchy and uncomfortable.
It was another twenty or so minutes before Dib finally came out of the shower. He was using a towel to try to dry his scythe-like cow-lick, when he noticed Zim lying on the bed without his disguise. Dib instantly threw aside the towel and lunged for his duffel bag, startling the alien to sit up and watch him in interest. Dib turned to him a few minutes later, a wide grin spread across his face.
"SMILE!" he sneered, shoving his camera in the Irken's face.
Zim screeched, and knocked it out of his hands, throwing the bed covers over himself and holding them down tight.
Dib snatched up his camera, and leapt onto the bed, trying to pry the sheets out from Zim's grasp, but the green one was too strong. The most Dib succeeded in was prying down the covers a few inches and an antenna poked up. Dib held it between his fingers, quickly grabbing his camera and taking a picture of it as Zim started shrieking louder than before.
"Why, is this hurting you Zim?" Dib taunted, twisting the appendage about, seeing how far it would go.
"YES YOU HORRIBLE HYOOMAN, LET GO OF ME!"
Dib just ignored him and continued taunting the alien, twisting his antenna. He stopped suddenly when Zim let out a cry of pain. Dib felt a small chill flood throughout his body. It hadn't sounded like a typical Zim moan this time. It had sounded as though he was in real agony.
Dib paused for a moment, letting go. Zim was still underneath the covers. Too still for Dib's liking.
Hesitantly, Dib reached over and pulled back the covers, forgetting about the camera. Underneath, Zim was curled up, eyes squeezed tightly shut and his teeth gritted. Dib noticed what appeared to be… blood? He drew in a shocked gasp. The blood was coming from the base of the appendage. It wasn't a lot, enough relative to a minor cut, but Dib felt his gut pummel. He had only intended to tease Zim…
Dib reached out to gently touch it, but Zim's eyes shot open.
"DON'T TOUCH ME!" he roared and Dib backed off.
"Shut up. Miserable, pitiful hyooman." Zim responded. He gritted his teeth tightly as he pushed himself up from the bed and headed into the bathroom. Dib followed him slowly.
The alien stood in front of the mirror. He looked like he was staring straight ahead, but Dib knew he was looking upwards at his head. Cautiously, Dib followed him in, standing behind him as he peered into the mirror. He saw the light source on Zim's ruby eyes shift slightly. The Irken was looking at him.
"Zim… I-I'm sorry, really. It was an accident, I didn't mean to make you bleed…"
"Accident?" Zim spat. "First my tongue, and now this?"
Dib looked down. "Can, I do something to help?"
"It'll heal itself."
"Please…? I feel bad."
Zim laughed. "You, feel bad? You're the one that wants me cut open alive Dib-beast."
Dib let that pass. "I'll look for a bandage."
Without a word, Dib left the bathroom. There might be a first aid kit somewhere in the cupboard in the kitchen. Zim tilted his head forward and inspected the damage the stink-beast had caused him. He tried to lower his antennae, however only his right one went flat across his head, He couldn't even move the left one. This was going to be a problem.
Dib returned shortly after, having located a small first aid kit. He set it down and took out some gauze, pressing it to the top of Zim's head. Zim squirmed, but Dib tried to be gentle. He pushed the Irken down onto the bathroom stool. Zim was just in too much pain to resist and Dib could tell from his body language. Dib cleaned the area a little with some rubbing alcohol, and then wrapped bandage around the base of Zim's antenna. He could feel Zim's cold stare the entire time, but tried to block it out. He cut the bandage, and stuck it down, before standing back.
"It's not much, but I hope helps… a bit."
Zim scowled at him, causing Dib to frown.
"I said I was sorry Zim!"
"So you should be! How am I supposed to hide it now?"
"Fool! I can't go out there without my disguise!"
Zim looked ready to kill him.
"I-I mean… well, can't you just let it poke through?"
"Then the stink-demons will want to know why I have bandage in my hair!"
"No they won't! The wig will cover it. You had it like that on the bus!"
Dib gritted his teeth. "I. Am. Not. Lying."
Zim just glared at him. "I cannot put anything over it, Dib! It hurts too much! I can't even move it thanks to you! It's stuck like that until it heals."
"Well, how long until it heals?"
Zim shrugged. "A few hours?"
Dib slapped his palm to his head. "A few hours Zim? I thought you meant it would take days or weeks!"
"Idiot! I'm an Irken!"
Dib scoffed. "Well, what if you wear the wig, but cut a bit out to fit over your antenna?"
"Then it will show! They will see Zim is alien!"
"Then what else do you suggest?"
"Cut a hole in the wig and let it out?"
"That's what I just suggested stupid!"
Dib ran his hands through his hair in defeat. "I'll look for some scissors."
"So now you're going to CUT my antenna off?" Zim screeched.
"NO! I'm going to cut a hole into the wig!"
Dib rolled his eyes, shaking his head before leaving the bathroom again. He came back twenty minutes or so later.
"I couldn't find any."
"What about these?" Zim held up the scissors he'd used to cut the bandage.
"What the? You mean I spent twenty minutes looking out there for something I just ha- oh forget it." Dib grumbled, taking the scissors. Zim just looked at him oddly.
He picked up the wig and held it above the Irken's head, pinning with a finger directly where his antenna was. He set the wig down on the bathroom counter and cut a small portion of clumped hair away before handing it to Zim.
Zim snatched it from him, and lowered it over his head, careful not to hit his injured antenna.
Dib just watched him silently. Once Zim fixed it into place, he pushed past the human and back out to his bunk, sitting back down on his bed. Dib followed him out, rubbing his arm and tapping his foot awkwardly.
Zim glared at him. "What now hyooman?"
Dib was lost for words. Zim just shook his head and pulled up an Irken magazine from his duffel bag, starting to read it. Dib's eyes widened and he fumbled around, trying to locate his camera. It had fallen under Zim's bed.
"Ah-hah!" he cried, pulling it out and forcing it into the Irken's face again, only to have a PAK leg aimed directly between his eyes. The boy lowered his camera, backing away slightly.
Dib put up a hand. "Fine, fine," he mumbled, tossing aside the camera. "What are you reading? An article about enslaving humans? How a human zoo works? Oooh, I know, 'one hundred ways to enslave the earth?'"
"I'm reading snack reviews."
"Or maybe – wait, what?"
Zim just looked at him deadpan before shoving the magazine in his face. Dib snatched it, unable to make out anything in the magazine except for a few pictures. One showed what looked like a buffet of junk food and the two leaders he'd seen Zim talk to a few times in the past grinning behind it.
"The ALMIGHTY Tallest had a new supply yesterday," he shook his fist. "Oh, how I want it."
Dib just stared. "That's food?"
"Only some of the most finest delicacies in the galaxy!"
Dib snorted. "You've got to be kidding me."
Zim wasn't listening to him, rambling on about something to do with the magazine. Dib put a finger to his mouth in wonder.
"Almighty Tallest, huh?" he grinned. "Who are they, Zim? Well?"
Zim stopped rambling and looked at him. "NONE of your business, hyooman stink-beast."
"I'll find out eventually Zim! You might as well just tell me!"
Dib tried to go for his camera again, only to instantly be greeted with a PAK leg. He sighed as Zim used it to destroy the camera.
"ZIM! Damn it!"
"I WARNED you," the Irken sneered. "Don't push your luck!"
Dib just muttered something incomprehensible at him, sitting down on the opposite bed. He realised he'd be able to use it now, since their other dorm member had ditched them. Zim continued reading his magazine and Dib just stared at him, like it was the most fascinating thing he'd ever seen.
It was going to be a long wait until nine o'clock.